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Student Employee of the Year Award



Jake Paul

Jake Paul
Facilities Supervisor at University Recreation

The UA Department of Human Resources is proud to highlight the accomplishments of Student Assistants that contribute to the essential daily operations of The University of Alabama, including Jake Paul, who works as Facilities Supervisor at University Recreation.

Jake is majoring in Communication Studies and plans to graduate this December. He has impressed his supervisors with his positive attitude and outstanding work.

We asked Jake to share some of his insights and experiences as a University of Alabama Student Assistant.

Q: What was your first student job at UA? How did you get into the position you are in now?

I began working at University Recreation in November 2008 of my freshman year as a support staff, responsible for different areas of the recreation center which included the equipment, patron safety, and customer service. After working for a semester, I was promoted to facilities supervisor. This position gives me the opportunity to lead and manage a small group of support staff, as well as help oversee the operations of the Recreation Center.

Q: Why did you choose to work while in college?

I believe that work helps build character, relationships, ethics, teamwork, and as a student who studies communication it has helped me incorporate my academic life to my work life. Working in college has also helped build connections and contacts for down the road. Through working at University Recreation and my two internships, I have developed an array of connections that will help me in the future.

Q: What do you like best about being a Student Assistant?

Naturally the paycheck is nice, and the scheduling of hours is flexible, but all of that takes a backseat when I think about what I like best about my job. I work with roughly 60 other student employees and we are all different. That is what is so great about this job. I have been able to meet so many great people, whether as co-workers, patrons, supervisors, or other officials from the University.

Q: What was your biggest challenge as a student employee?

Working in a fitness and recreational atmosphere, safety is a big concern. I have had to help students with injuries ranging from scraped knees to broken legs. It is important to always be aware and on your toes for safety issues as a Rec Center employee.

The time that brought the biggest challenge, and in retrospect the greatest triumph, was the week of April 27, 2011. Our staff worked together during the storm and became a strong team for the rest of that week as the Rec Center became a relief shelter for students and staff displaced by the storm. I have never been prouder to be a part of something as I was to be a part of the relief work that University Recreation did during that tough time. During that time, we all came together with one solid purpose and worked together to make our department, the University, and our city a better place.

Q: What are your plans for after graduation/future?

I plan to attend graduate school and earn my Master's of Public Administration degree in Public Management and Planning. I would ultimately like to be a director of a city or county department.

Q: Any advice for other students that plan to work while in college?

Don't think that this is just an easy way to get money - it is much more rewarding than that. Working while in college can serve as an investment for your future. I have made some amazing contacts through my college job and can easily foresee the many things that I have learned here at UA will help me in the future.


The University of Alabama employs more than 4,000 student employees in any given academic year.  If you are interested in learning more about providing student employment opportunities or working as a Student Assistant, please contact Vaishali Patel at 348-4354 or