By the blueprint

Sophomore Emma Peck is already working in her career field as a student assistant on Mizzou’s Planning, Design and Construction team.

Sophomore architectural studies major Emma Peck stands in front of shelves filled with paper construction records in the Planning, Design and Construction Department.

April 12, 2022
Contact: Deidra Ashley,

At the University of Missouri, students are the heartbeat of campus. Whether shuffling from class to class, spending the afternoon on the Quad with friends or gathering to watch a football game — students are a large part of the energy that makes Mizzou special. But Tigers aren’t only learning in the classroom — they’re bringing that same energy and eagerness to learn to their on-campus jobs.

Emma Peck sifts through construction records in the archives.

Emma Peck sifts through construction records in the archives.

Sophomore Emma Peck is one of those students. The architectural design major works as a student assistant in the Planning, Design and Construction Department (PDC). She deals primarily with, construction documents and archives — giving her a peek into what the architecture field will be like. Her supervisor, Lesley Mueller, said she’s grateful for the excitement and fervor Peck brings to their office.

“Emma is very enthusiastic,” Mueller said. “It’s nice to have a student who is coming into the field and wants to progress in it. She brings a whole different view of things.”

Emma Peck stands with her supervisor, Lesley Mueller.

Peck (left) and Mueller (right). “Lesley isn’t just my boss,” Peck said. “She’s very much a mother figure — she can tell if I’m not myself.”

Peck, like many student employees, receives additional guidance in her academic endeavors from professionals who are currently working in her field of study.

“If I see something I want to learn more about, my employers will make it happen,” Peck said. “If I want to tour a building, they’ll show me, or if need advice on a school project, they will help me.”

Peck said this guidance is invaluable as she decides the next steps for her future.

“I’ve definitely learned a lot about being a real-world architect,” Peck said. “There are so many steps that I wouldn’t have even imagined necessary for a building to be built that I would not have learned without this job.”

Balancing act

Being a student and an employee at the same time can sometimes be difficult to balance. Luckily for Peck, employers on MU’s campus are familiar with the course load and are mindful of class requirements.

“My bosses are really respectful of my school schedule,” Peck said. “It can be very intimidating as a student when you’re trying to find a job and have to have that conversation about balancing schoolwork and work. I didn’t have to talk to my employers about that — they already knew.”

Another attribute Peck appreciates about her position as a student employee? Proximity to campus.

“It’s on campus, that is my main thing,” Peck said. “Not everyone has a car, and the 10-minute walk from my sorority house to work is very doable.”

The art of application

Student-employee positions on campus allow students to get a firsthand view of what their career might look like. Mueller said she recognizes how influential this can be for a student trying to decipher their career path.

“The Missouri Method is all about learning by doing,” Mueller said. “In these types of jobs, students learn by doing things in addition to what you get from lectures and textbooks.”

Mueller said students like Peck are an important part of her team, and she wants to see them succeed — both in the classroom and on the job.

“The people here are really open to our students asking questions,” Mueller said. “We are all in the education business, and students are the reason we are here. Many employers across campus take the opportunity to help our students learn more. We care about them.”

The energy and ideas student employees bring to the table are essential. Mueller said student employees serve as an important inspiration for her and her colleagues.

“We need students,” she said. “The university needs them because of their enthusiasm, their interest and their youth. It’s great to have student employees. We really appreciate our students. They bring a whole different view of things.”

Emma Peck looks at historic architectural blueprints.

The Campus Facilities Building and Infrastructure Archives provide many opportunities for Peck to learn from historic architectural blueprints.

Along with making connections, an easy-to-access location and experimental learning, Peck said her favorite part about her job is looking into the history of Mizzou through the blueprints of its most notable buildings.

“Yesterday, they sent me down to the archives, and I got to see architectural plans from Memorial Union and Ellis Library — all of these really old buildings,” Peck said. Seeing the scrolls for the first time was like seeing into a piece of history. Ellis was built in 1915, and seeing the original blueprints was inspiring because it showed me how far technology has come in the last 100 years. It makes me very excited for future technologies in the architecture industry.”

Hands holding an architectural print.

Peck takes every opportunity she can get to scan through Mizzou’s architectural design past.

Campus culture

Peck encourages all Mizzou students to find a job within their field that provides them with additional knowledge about their future career.

“I hope that everyone gets the opportunity to have a job like this,” she said. “It’s a way for me to dip my toe into this industry, and it’s such a creative environment that I’m able to thrive in. My on-campus job makes me so excited to be in the industry and is helping prepare me for life after college.”

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