Fisher Students Take on Essential Jobs
Several School of Business students are doing much more than staying home and taking online classes. They are going to work in essential jobs every day, helping the community stay safely at home.
Before the pandemic hit, senior management major Mariah Doig was a social media and marketing intern at Daystar Kids and worked as an office assistant student employee in Fisher’s Office of Admissions. When she left campus, both her internship and campus positions ended.
When she got home, Doig immediately rolled up her sleeves to find a new job. Just over a week ago, she began working at Lowe’s in her hometown of Durhamville, New York. After recently completing online onboarding sessions and job shadowing with her mentor, Doig is working in the paint department mixing paint, stocking shelves, doing inventory checks, and helping customers find merchandise.
“I am learning the importance of workplace safety in the face of this pandemic. I learned the importance of sanitizing surfaces and wearing personal protection equipment (PPE) at work in order to protect other employees, customers, and myself,” she said.
Doig plans to work at Lowe’s for the remainder of the summer, until she returns to campus in the fall to enroll in Fisher’s MBA program.
Senior accounting major Lauren Witmer has worked at BJ’s Wholesale Club in Webster, New York for the past three months, and she will continue to work there through the pandemic. Witmer works at the member service desk, assisting customers, taking returns, fulfilling online orders, and assisting cashiers and the self-checkout lanes.
Lately, it seems that every day she goes to work there is a new policy in place in response to the coronavirus. BJ’s has suspended the use of paper coupons, limited returnable items, and heavily increased the sanitation throughout the store. Witmer says she receives hundreds of calls a day asking if BJ’s has toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer, or disinfecting wipes in stock, and unfortunately, the answer is usually no.
“I have learned that nothing is for certain and you cannot plan for everything. While all businesses need a solid strategy, there needs to be some flexibility that comes with it,” she said. “At the beginning of the semester, I had no idea this would be how my last semester was ending, but I, along with everyone else, am trying to make the most of it.”
Witmer has also learned how important it is that companies put their employees first. Without employees, businesses would not be able to function, which is why so many essential businesses have increased hourly wages.
She is gearing up to take the CPA exam and has accepted a position with The Bonadio Group in audit; her position begins in December.
Senior accounting major Peyton Christa is a pharmacy accounting intern at Wegmans. Christa’s role involves analyzing the profitability of reimbursements of insurance carriers, reconciling discrepancies with outstanding insurance payments, and analyzing copays that are paid by patients towards a claim. He works in the Wegmans corporate office, so the pandemic has made the building extremely quiet. The only people remaining are the project coordinators for pharmacy accounting and the director of pharmacy accounting. Therefore, Christa has to complete meetings and conversations virtually.
“I have adjusted by taking everything day by day, taking on new tasks and projects as they come up, and not getting too comfortable with a routine because the next day I could be doing something completely different,” he said.
Peyton recently accepted a summer internship at Paychex in SEC Reporting.
Junior marketing major and advanced selling minor Egan Sicker is also an essential employee of Wegmans, working in the produce department at the Penfield Wegmans, a job he has held for 18 months.
Sicker typically prepares fruit salads for customers and when he is not in the chop shop, as he fondly calls it, he stocks produce. His job role has changed since the pandemic, starting with requirements to wear a mask and distance from customers and coworkers by at least six feet, which can be tough to do in a customer service-oriented role that requires a lot of interaction. With the increased traffic in the store, Sicker is working in different departments to help keep shelves stocked, which has expanded his knowledge of store operations and other departments he had not worked in previously.
“I have learned many different business lessons in these past few weeks but I can really relate my experience to what I’ve studied about supply chain in my operations management class,” said Sicker, who hopes to pursue a career in sales. “It’s been interesting to learn how items in high demand but short supply, like hand sanitizer, are sourced from new suppliers.”