Textbook case for student employee excellence

Senior Andrew Musca of Ripon, California, is being honored as the 2015 Northern California Student Employee of the Year.

“Always take an opportunity when it’s given to you. Work your hardest. You’ll never know the opportunities that would have been presented to you if you don’t.”

UC Davis Stores employee — who has helped fellow students save almost $2 million through textbook rentals — is stacking our Aggie Pride sky high. Senior Andrew Musca of Ripon, California, is being honored as the 2015 Northern California Student Employee of the Year.

The award, presented by the Western Association of Student Employment Administrators, considers a nominee’s quality of work, unique contribution, initiative, reliability and other professionalism, as well as community and campus service.

“Without the contributions of exceptional student employees like you, our campuses would not be able to function,” wrote Shannon Cable, awards director for the 13-state regional association for professionals who employ students while in college.

The environmental science and management major, who earlier was named UC Davis Student Employee of the Year for  Principles of Community, was recognized at a campus reception on April 13.

During what is National Student Employment Week, UC Davis tips its hat to Musca and nearly 10,000 other UC Davis student employees — from Unitrans drivers to teaching assistants — who make UC Davis work.

First student manager

Musca, who started working at UC Davis Stores in fall 2012, is its first student manager. He supervises 12 other student employees, trains new student employees and markets a program that provides personal shopping assistance for textbook purchases to freshmen at the start of the fall quarter.

Most notably, he oversees the textbook rental program — the nation’s largest based on rentals per full-time student.

Kato Meley, associate director of the course materials department in which Musca works, says rental books have generated a gross revenue of $4.1 million and provided direct savings of $1.8 million to UC Davis students in the 20 months Musca has administered the program.

“I don’t think any other student on our campus could make the claim they made more of a financial impact,” Meley wrote in nominating Musca.

Saving students money on textbooks

“I try to think it’s always worth it if it’s going to save students money on textbooks,” Musca said.

Musca works just under 20 hours a week for the bookstore during school and full-time during school breaks.

“They give me tons of responsibilities and entrust me with a lot,” he said. “I try to do that with the other student employees — trust them and try to guide them along.”

Learned that business excites him

Musca said his experience at the bookstore lead him to take a minor in managerial economics. “The job taught me that business really excites me,” he said.

On track to graduate in June, Musca is currently interviewing for a career position with some software and publishing companies.

Work ethic started in high school

Musca attributes his work ethic in part to a high school job unloading shoeboxes from trucks at a warehouse “40 hours a week in the hot Modesto summer” and the discipline he gained from the sport of cross-country running.

His work experience also includes serving as a counselor and raising funds for Cal Aggie Camp, a summer camp for disadvantaged youth, and a summer internship helping a doctoral student compile data and write reports for research on Sacramento River salmon.

Musca offered this advice for fellow students: “Always take an opportunity when it’s given to you. Work your hardest. You’ll never know the opportunities that would have been presented to you if you don’t.”


Julia Ann Easley of Strategic Communications writes about student life, undergraduate and graduate education, and more.

Top photo: Andrew Musca oversees the textbook rental program — the nation’s largest based on rentals per full-time student. Karin Higgins/UC Davis photo