Partnership Celebration at Arizona State University: The Highlights

On May 16, Education at Work, ASU, PayPal and USA Funds celebrated the establishment of their partnership.

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On Monday, May 16, Education at Work, Arizona State University, PayPal and USA Funds celebrated the establishment of their partnership with a ribbon cutting celebration at Arizona State University’s Tempe campus.

Members of each partnering team attended the event. Leaders from each partner also spoke, including President Michael M. Crow of Arizona State University; Steve Rolls, Chief Financial Officer of Education at Work; Karen Marshall, VP of Global Operations of PayPal, North America, Latin America, Chandler, AZ; and Bill Hansen, President and CEO of USA Funds. Sharon Maestas, VP of Customer Care at Education at Work’s ASU location, served as emcee.

The University’s mascot himself, Sparky, kicked off the celebration, taking photos with attendees and creating mischievous fun around the room. Guests were encouraged to use #forkthedebt during the celebration to share their experience on social media. The hashtag, which is used for all things Education at Work at the University, represents the bold intention to tackle student debt at ASU.


ASU President Michael M. Crow was the first to speak. “(ASU) is an institution which prides itself on being successful by being inclusive, then by measuring the success of our graduates,” he said.

He described how 76% of the 60,000 undergraduates who attend Arizona State University’s physical campus receive some kind of financial aid to support their education.

“This alliance between ASU, Education at Work, PayPal and USA Funds, is a group of people launching ways in which we can enhance the chance for all students to finish a world-class college education,” he said

Steve Rolls, Education at Work’s Chief Financial Officer, followed President Crow’s speech with sincere thanks to every partner who made the dream of this on-campus center a reality. He recognized USA Funds’ President and CEO Bill Hansen, along with his team, for their support of Education at Work’s vision.

“Our 2025 vision is to employ 100,000 students and to be reducing over $1 billion of student debt annually. This goal is a bold one… But, I can’t think of a better university partner to move us toward that goal than Arizona State University,” he said on behalf of Dave Dougherty, Education at Work’s founder and CEO.

This vision coupled with PayPal’s passion for investing in future leaders is what Rolls described as a “win for all” and a truly extraordinary three way partnership.


Karen Marshall, PayPal’s VP of Global Operations, echoed the excitement expressed by Rolls and President Crow in her remarks.

“What an honor it is for PayPal to be in this win-win-win partnership,” she said. “We’re eagerly looking forward to the benefits PayPal will receive as a result. We expect that the customer satisfaction scores (at the ASU contact center) will be higher than we’ve seen at other centers.”

Addressing the new student hires in the audience she said, “As a growing company, we hope to build a talented pipeline of individuals who would aspire to come work at PayPal.”

It’s this path to possible employment which Bill Hansen, USA Funds’ President and CEO, identified as one of the core reasons Education at Work’s mission drew him in from day one. In his remarks that followed Marshall, he said, “One area we focus on as an organization is trying to fix the disconnect between the 5.8 million unfilled jobs in our economy and college graduates that are coming out and are unable to find jobs.”


Hansen made the observation that employers and universities seem disconnected in what skills they feel graduates should have to succeed. To that point he reiterated how special it is to partner with a non-profit organization and a university, both like-minded with USA Funds, to address this issue.

In conclusion he added how well Education at Work’s mission follows USA Funds’ corporate mantra “Completion with a Purpose.” This mantra encourages students in this country to complete their higher education degree in a purposeful manner and lead purposeful lives. He said, “Education at Work really helps provide opportunities for young men and women to grow, thrive, and find purpose in their lives.”

Following Hansen’s final words, all four leaders were joined by Education at Work’s five student ambassadors to cut the celebratory grand opening ribbon. This exciting moment was met with cheers and applause from all guests.

President Michael M. Crow, Steve Rolls, Shannon Maestas, Karen Marshall, and Bill Hansen are joined by EAW Student Ambassadors Jean-Luc Couste and Sanya Virani for the ceremonial ribbon cutting. Photo courtesy of Deanna Dent, Arizona State University

For the remainder of the celebration, guests were invited to mingle, enjoy refreshments, and eat some of the delicious partnership cake. The success of the day was due in large part to the help of Education at Work student ambassadors Jean-Luc Couste, Akshay Nalla, Lily Sedigh Sarvestani, Michelle Lim, and Sanya Virani. The ambassadors greeted attendees at the door before the event, shared their individual stories with guests, and were powerful representations of how and why this partnership came to be.

AW Student Ambassadors Michelle Lim (top left), Jean-Luc Couste (top right), Akshay Nalla (bottom left), and Lily Sedigh Sarvestani (bottom right) greet guests at the beginning of the ceremony.

This celebration not only marked the beginning of a strong partnership between ASU, PayPal, and Education at Work, but sparked a new world of opportunities for students at Arizona State University.

Click here to check out some awesome photos of the event.


About Laura Forero

Laura Forero has been the Marketing Intern for Education at Work since August of 2015. She is currently a senior at Xavier University studying Public Relations and Advertising with a minor in Digital Media. She enjoys reading, writing, and following a good PR crisis unfold in modern day media. Connect with her on LinkedIn.


Are You Job Ready? De’Voe’s Student Voice

Finding a job that’s right for you can take some time and effort.

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Finding a job that's right for you can take some time and effort. If it is your first time looking for a job, or if you are looking to change jobs you may want to examine your goals and skills. The job search will require you to make many decisions about what kind of work you want to do, what you are able to do and what kind of education or training you need for that new job, what kind of work benefits you are looking for, and what kind of work is available.

Preparation is key

Before submitting a job application, it would help to learn in detail about each employer’s operational structure, performance expectations, staff retention rates and history. If you are unable to locate all the information about the employer, don’t give up. Most information is not online, sometimes you just need to pick up the phone and call. Know that, once you click that submit button to apply, you are confirming that you are job ready. If you’re applying to a number of jobs at the same time, be sure to do all of your research well in advance of applying.


Gain experience to develop a skillset

Becoming prepared to enter the world of work is a process, and nothing promotes that process more than gaining real work experiences. Sadly, many people lack opportunities for work experiences. While employers understand that many people lack technical skills, training or previous work experience, they do expect you to have a particular skillset that you don’t need technical training for. These “soft skills” include being able to solve problems, communicate effectively with others and assume personal responsibility for learning and attendance.


List of skills you should have

  • Communication Skills: read with understanding; convey Ideas in writing speak so others can understand; listen actively; and observe critically.
  • Interpersonal Skills: guide others; resolve conflict and negotiate; advocate and influence; and cooperate with others.
  • Decision Making Skills: use math to solve problems and communicate; solve problems and make decisions; and plan.
  • Lifelong Learning Skills: take responsibility for learning; reflect and evaluate; learn through research; and use information and communications technology.

There is nothing wrong with making a career change if you are willing and able to develop the skills and knowledge to help you move into the career you want. But it may take time, so have patience. Also, be aware of personal challenges that can hinder your ability to secure and sustain meaningful employment. Having the skills to effectively manage those challenges is what will help you find the job you love.

About this Author:

De'Voe Sherman

De’Voe Sherman is from Cincinnati, Ohio, and a graduate of Woodward High School. He is currently studying Political Science & Liberal Arts at the University of Cincinnati. He will be a senior in college this upcoming fall. He has lived in Cincinnati his whole life and after graduating wants to work with the City to construct a plan for city growth and harmony.

USA Funds’ Life Skills Courses: One Million Times Worth It.

The absence of financial literacy programs in higher ed creates a learning gap that ultimately becomes a weakness for today’s students.

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The absence of financial literacy programs in higher education creates a learning gap that ultimately becomes a weakness for today’s college students.

Seven years ago, USA Funds identified this problem and addressed it through a web-based financial financial literacy, USA Funds, financesliteracy and student success program. What the program does is introduce college students to money and time management skills that better prepare them for their life after graduation. These topics are introduced through an array of online courses that each student can take at their own pace. The program as a whole incorporates the best in digital learning by utilizing audio, video, and interactive activities offered through a digital interface.

USA Funds is a non-profit organization committed to preparation and success in postsecondary education.  As of March 14, 2016, 1 million USA Funds’ Life Skills courses have been completed. Nearly 300,000 students from more than 250 institutions make up this incredible number.

Education at Work became an affiliate of USA Funds in 2014 and since has introduced the USA Funds’ Life Skills Courses to their college student workforce.
University of Cincinnati student speaks to value of USA Funds Life Skills

This program has become an integral part of Education at Work’s on boarding process. Thanks to these courses, the organization’s student employees not only graduate with less debt, but with the tools necessary to take control of their financial future.

A recent survey conducted by Citizens bank, found that college graduates aged 35 and under now expect to pay off student loans into their 40’s. Of the graduates surveyed, 36% graduating with loans said they would not have gone to college if they had known how much it was going to cost them. Statistics such as these reveal how important programs like USA Funds’ Life Skills Courses are to today’s college students. Being financially literate well before college graduation can help reduce the financial stress and anxiety that has become associated with graduating from college.



About Laura Forero

Xavier University Student

Laura Forero is currently a junior at Xavier University studying Public Relations and Advertising. She enjoys reading, writing, and following a good PR crisis unfold in modern day media. Connect with her on LinkedIn.