Job Description
Undergraduate Lab Assistant


The USC Viterbi School of Engineering is seeking undergraduate student Maker Space Lab Assistants who enjoy hands-on engineering applications and helping other students with projects that make use of the hand tools, machining and advanced fabrication operations in the Baum Family Maker Space (BFMS). The BFMS is an undergraduate student facility supporting curricular and extracurricular student activities, providing a combination of high- and low-tech equipment and tools, including CNC and conventional machine shop equipment, 3-D printing and general workshop tools. After completing in-depth safety and equipment training individually or as a group, the Lab Assistant will work with individual students, student project/design teams, faculty and staff to train them in the use of approved equipment, assist them in the design and fabrication of student models and designs, answer questions and troubleshoot problems, and fabricate hardware for projects, equipment and prototypes in an educational environment. The work schedule for this position varies, as the facility is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 11:00 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm. Flexible work hours can accommodate Lab Assistants’ class schedules subject to adequate coverage across the hours the facility is open.  The Lab Assistants report, directly or via a senior Lab Assistant or PhD student, to the BFMS Lab Manager.   

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Provide mentoring/training/consulting for students working on projects and equipment. 
  • Provide student training and ensuring compliance with health and safety procedures for safe usage of all machinery, equipment and tools; monitoring and supervising student use of facility equipment.
  • Assist full time staff to fabricate hardware and assemblies from student designs, CAD models, prints, sketches and verbal/conceptual descriptions, using manual and CNC milling machines and manual lathes.  Depending on individual skills, the selected candidate will be expected to work independently on projects with little supervision.
  • Operate and perform basic maintenance of MakerBot, Stratasys and other 3D printers, and the ULS Laser Cutter/Etcher.
  • Under the guidance of the Maker Space staff, maintain shop machinery, tools and equipment, including ensuring the shop is kept in a safe and orderly condition.
  • Assist with keeping material inventory and the workshop clean and organized.
  • Other related duties, as assigned.
  • Depending on the student's experience, assignment(s) within the BFMS will vary. 

Minimum Education and Qualifications:

  • High school graduate and current enrollment in USC coursework and working toward an undergraduate degree program.
  • Some experience with one or more of the following:
    • General workshop hand tools
    • machining a variety of materials, such as metals, alloys and plastics, at a level that could lead to eventual sign-off as qualified to safely operate and train others on lathes and milling machines;
    • operating and maintaining a variety of 3D printers and other equipment;
    • design and manufacturing components/equipment based on student, design team CAD models, blueprints, sketches, oral descriptions and performance requirements.
  • Willingness and ability to learn, apply and teach to others appropriate environmental, health and safety procedures.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication, with strong, collegial interpersonal skills.

Preferred Education and Qualifications:

  • Majoring in a Viterbi undergraduate program.
  • Undergraduate experience working on a design team, personal projects or class assignments making use of the BFMS.
  • Experience working in an academic environment with students.
  • Ability to work within defined project schedules, manage multiple simultaneous projects, and multi-task effectively.
  • Strong computer skills and the ability to use standard software tools such as MS Word and Excel.
  • Experience with one or more of the following:
    • Prototyping and one-of-a-kind work
    • TIG and MIG Welding
    • CAD/CAM software such as MasterCAM, SolidWorks, Fusion 360.
  • Some knowledge and understanding of environmental, health and safety procedures.
  • Ability and willingness to serve students with a broad range of experience and expertise.

Published on December 9th, 2020

Last updated on May 26th, 2021