Campus & Community

Area teens and Harvard ready to get to work

3 min read

University-wide program brings students on campus to gain professional experience

Summer may still be a few months away, but plans are well underway for Harvard’s 2017 Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). The program provides work experiences for high school youth from Boston and Cambridge, while contributing to the University’s summer staffing needs.

With University departments already making requests and student applications arriving, Harvard Human Resources is in the process of making matches.

“SYEP helps local young people develop positive work habits, gain professional experience, and encourages them to pursue their education and career options,” said Paul Andrew, vice president of Harvard Public Affairs and Communications.

The student employees can take on a variety of assignments and projects, such as handling general administrative tasks, providing computer support, performing data entry, and answering phones. Additionally, for some developing managers, the presence of teens during the summer months gives them their first experience in a supervisory role.

For many of the student employees, the job provides a much-needed paycheck. Often, it can serve as their first professional workplace experience.

“Every experience was a learning process,” said former SYEP employee Justin Gonzales, who worked at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. “I was like a sponge … and I gained a lot of experience.”

“The Summer Youth Employment Program has been an enjoyable and rewarding experience,” said Ketevan Ninua, a hiring manager at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. “[Our student] had such an excellent work ethic and positive demeanor … [She] learned valuable skills and has been a useful contributor to our team.”

“It’s not too late to secure a student employee for your department this summer. We are committed to ensuring that SYEP remains successful and we hope that you will seriously consider the summer program,” said Marilyn Hausammann, Harvard’s vice president for human resources. “It is an excellent way to help prepare a high school student for the world of work and the SYEP provides you with additional assistance during the summer months.”

HR will provide support in identifying successful placements and setting up interviews, as well as orientation sessions for both students and new supervisors.

The program will run from July 10 through Aug. 18. The cost of a full-time student for the six-week term is less than $2,500 and the hours and dates may be adjusted to fit each department’s specific needs.

Click here to learn how to request a high school student for the summer, or contact Judy Vance, operations manager in Recruitment Services, at or call 617-496-7298.