As I mentioned earlier, I was lucky enough to land a job as a Graduate Assistant… a Graduate Research Assistant at that. I work 20 hours a week (currently spread out over four days) at WVU’s National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium, a facility that serves under WVU’s National Research Center for Coal and Energy.
The NAFTC specializes on facilitating educational programs that focus on alternative-fueled vehicles. Electric vehicles are a major emphasis of the curriculum, but the Consortium also advocates the advancement of fuel cell, hydrogen, natural gas, and biofuel as well. As someone from an arts background, the knowledge I’ve gained during my short time there has been pretty powerful, as I’m gaining some scientific perspective that I may not have if I were working in a different department.
Now that I’ve talked up my place of employment, let me tell you a little bit about what I do. GA’s are asked to work 20 hours a week, and in return are paid a stipend and are given a tuition waiver every semester. I’m lucky enough to have a position that runs through the summer, but as a consequence, I’m required to work during the times that other GA’s have off (like Christmas break, Spring Break, etc.).
My daily duties are pretty straightforward. The NAFTC has an enews page that outlines the most recent and relevant stories in the alternative fuel industry. It is my responsibility to research these stories, write about them, and post them to the site. This means signing up for industry newsletters, press releases, and Google Alerts. I’m responsible for writing at least 10-12 industry stories per month, two of those being international stories. When I first started, one of my responsibilities was keeping up with the NAFTC’s Facebook and Twitter pages, but a new full-time staff member has recently taken over so that the pages could be updated daily (as I’m not at the office every day).
Are you lucky enough to have a GA position? I’m curious to hear about the responsibilities other GA’s have.