High School Students Spend Summer at HCL

SYEP Participants  
2007 Summer Youth Employment Program participants with their HCL supervisors: Front row: Theresa Cleary, Aaron Weinberger (HRS), Mohammed Washim, Amy Sprung (HRS), Anabel Cordero, Vincent Luong, Greg Louizor. Middle row: Oyinkansola Ayobiojo, Damita Salmon, Grace Wu (Harvard-Yenching), Nancy Quinn (Widener), Justina Wong, Nancy Hallock (HCL Technical Services), Julia Liao, Elizabeth Vernon (Judaica Division, Widener), Carie McGinnis (Conservation Services). Back row: Sandra Aponte, Chiun Kwan Chan (Harvard-Yenching), Abiyu Asefa, Lisa Carper (Tozzer), Andrew Wilson (Loeb Music), Lorraine DiSessa (Financial Services), Jean Gaunt (Financial Services).

August 6, 2007 – A dozen local students who have spent the summer at HCL will wrap up their library jobs next week as they prepare to head back to high school come September. The students, ranging in age from 14 to 18, all attend Cambridge and Boston schools and have spent the last several weeks in libraries and units throughout HCL, performing a wide array of tasks, including filing, labeling, answering phones, and staffing circulation desks.

It’s all part of the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), a program run by Harvard since 2001 that gives high school students an early opportunity to experience an office environment. For many of the teenagers, who work 25 to 35 hours a week, it’s their first job. The program supplements the real-life work experience with weekly lunch speakers who talk to students both about Harvard and careers.

Vincent Duong, who will be a junior at Boston Latin come this September, is serving as an assistant in the Judaica Division in Widener Library. There he’s helping with a variety of tasks, including labeling books—which, he notes, isn’t as simple as it seemed—and computer work, which he definitely favors. "It’s pretty good," he says. "A lot better than other jobs."

Second-year SYEP participant Oyinkansola Ayobiojo says she initially didn’t remember how to work the HCL phone system but otherwise, she says, "I felt like I never left." Ayobiojo, who will be a senior at Boston Latin next month, is splitting her second HCL summer between Human Resource Services and Financial Services. In addition to handling reception duties, filing, and labeling, she is helping HR create PowerPoint presentations and aiding Financial Services with database and invoice updates. She points to the Wednesday seminars held at the Center for Workplace Development as a program highlight.

This summer marks HCL’s fourth year of involvement with the Summer Youth Employment Program. A learning experience for the students, it also helps HCL units meet staffing needs when many employees are taking summer vacations. Units that take on a student worker for the summer receive special funding from the Librarian’s Office.

The 2007 SYEP program participants are: Anabel Cordero and Justina Wong (supervisors Kathy Rutter, Nancy Hallock), Damita Salmon (supervisor Nancy Quinn), Abiyu Asefa (supervisors Isabel Quintana, Lisa Carper), Theresa Cleary (Andrew Wilson), Vincent Duong and Julia Liao (supervisor Elizabeth Vernon), Gregory Louizor (supervisor Carie McGinnis), Sandra Aponte (supervisor James Lin), Mohammed Washim (supervisor Grace Wu), Oyinkansola Ayobiojo (supervisors Amy Sprung and Karen DeBerio).