Student Success: Devin Reinert

As one of two first generation siblings attending college, Devin is working diligently to complete his degree and take advantage of all NKU has to offer.

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As one of two first generation siblings attending college, Devin Reinert is working diligently to complete his degree and take advantage of all Northern Kentucky University (NKU) has to offer. Devin’s ambition for success comes from personal obstacles he faced during his upbringing and his desire to overcome those challenges to provide an even better life for himself and his family. At the start of his collegiate career, Devin enrolled at the University of Cincinnati as an engineering student before realizing his true passion for finance and currency trading. This passion led Devin to transfer to the NKU Business Administration program to pursue an undergrad degree in finance.

Currently in his junior year at NKU, Devin joined Education at Work’s program in 2016. He is working in a customer support role with a large financial services client. In his part-time position, Devin has gained insight into personal finance best practices and general work skills. He has learned how to create an effective strategy for retirement savings, how to interact with a supervisor, and how to network effectively. Devin regularly networks with his supervisors and asks questions to help further develop his business acumen and communications skills.

EAW’s program is a place where Devin feels college students can thrive by gaining real-world job experience, building meaningful relationships, and utilizing the resources provided as an incubator for career development. In addition, Devin has successfully earned over $7,000 in tuition assistance through EAW to help pay for his education and reduce his student loan debt.

Last year, Devin had the opportunity of a lifetime to travel abroad and work in an internship with a global financial services company based in London. After his “semester” abroad, Devin has a new perspective on global financial markets and discovered his true passion for currency trading. As a result, he hopes to go back to London after graduation to work for a few years before returning to the U.S, ideally in Boston. Through his coursework and his own outside study, Devin is learning how to perfect the skill of global currency trading. The EAW team is proud of Devin’s ambitions and looks forward to watching him succeed within the financial services industry, both here in the U.S. and overseas.

Student Success: Danielle Russell

As a seeker of knowledge and adventure, Danielle is currently pursuing her degree in Middle Childhood Education at MSJ.

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As a seeker of knowledge and adventure, Danielle Russell is currently pursuing her degree in Middle Childhood Education at Mount St. Joseph University with a minor in photography. After graduation, she plans to become a math teacher for elementary school students in the 4th grade up through the high school level. Danielle always dreamed of becoming a math teacher because she enjoys challenges that encourage problem solving and critical thinking. In her free time, Danielle loves to travel to new places around the world and photograph nature. While in high school, Danielle worked at St. Jude School, a Catholic middle school in the Cincinnati, OH area, as an after-school care assistant. She enjoyed helping young students with their homework and cognitive development, and hopes to continue this pursuit during her career after graduation.

While working at Education at Work, Danielle has served as a counselor for our client in the student loan space, connecting graduates to services that enable them to create a pathway to loan repayment. As a result, Danielle has learned the fundamentals of how student loans operate and the impact of repayment post- graduation. The training also afforded Danielle the opportunity to make smarter financial decisions in regards to her own personal loans.

In addition, Danielle has developed other critical job skills in this position, such as developing a conversational style and being more aware of effective ways to converse via phone. She has realized that building a rapport with student borrowers allows her to better address and help resolve their financial situations to work towards repayment. Also, she has developed patience through managing a sometimes repetitive work flow without becoming frustrated, which will ultimately benefit her as she works with young adults in the classroom. Our Education at Work team is fortunate to have Danielle in our program for the next two academic years, and we’re excited to see the impact she has on furthering the education of America’s youth.

A Blueprint for Success: Student-Friendly Call Centers

How do you design student-friendly call center space?

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How do you design student-friendly call center space?

Is this something you’ve ever really sat down and thought about? Depending on your role and day-to-day work, it’s likely you’ve never needed to. However, for many of us on the Education at Work (EAW) team, this is a large priority and requires attention and energy.

The EAW model relies on the ability to successfully create dedicated call centers and office spaces on university and college campuses across the US, where college students can work in part-time positions on behalf of clients. Today, EAW operates on-campus call centers at three universities, and is completing the build out phase at the University of Utah, as well as a second space at ASU. Even though one of two on-campus locations was previously configured as a call center, it must be customized to create optimal work environments for our collegiate workforce.

To determine a “flow” which encourages student-employees to balance their time and manage their priorities at work, EAW’s Chief Operating Officer Renée Kuwahara says that it is necessary to have members of the EAW team visit the centers before any construction or infrastructure work begins. She explains, “By walking through a space where EAW student-employees will one day work, it becomes easier to ask, ‘What would I want if I worked here?’ and ‘How can this space add to a successful experience for both a student-employee and a client?’ From there, critical decisions can be made and my team can move forward optimizing the space.”

After this visit (and many thoughtful conversations) the construction begins!

One way in which this flow is constructed is in the placement and rules around student-employees’ belongings. Typically, call centers have very strict rules and regulations around the type of items agents can have, even when they are on breaks. For example, it’s not uncommon for agents to not be able to use their cell phones and other electronics when they are in break rooms. However, because the agents working at Education at Work are college students, they often need items like these on breaks – and not just for socializing, but for completing assignments, doing research, and studying for upcoming tests. This means EAW’s centers have break rooms and lockers which are outside of the secured production area, so that student-employees can focus on studying when they’re not hard at work for a client.EAW-contact-center-build-out

In addition to having a center which focuses on student success, EAW’s centers need to have every possible measure taken to ensure that a client sees its business needs met and goals accomplished. One of the best ways for EAW to do this is by maximizing the number of student-employees who can work comfortably in the space. Agents sit in shared desk spaces and close to one another, creating both efficiencies and promoting team building.

One of the most unique aspects of our design process is creating the branded culture elements of the center. EAW works with a client’s marketing and brand team to create graphics and other collateral to decorate centers. Visual items help student-employees connect with the brand they represent and experience the company’s culture. EAW’s Vice President of Client Partner Development Tim Moore summarizes it in this way: “While EAW employs standards developed over the past

five years, we work hard to partner with our clients to ensure our on-campus centers look, feel, and operate much like their in-house operations.  Our ultimate goal is to marry their culture with our unique student-powered model, leading to a consistent customer experience at each interaction.”

In 2012, our founder Dave Dougherty had the resourcefulness to pose that the business process outsourcing industry could be utilized to reduce student debt and increase job-readiness skills. Today, his


vision is being realized through the creation of these student-friendly call center spaces, built through using our proactive and strategic approach. We are proud that these spaces are maximizing both student-employee and client success, and are helping brands utilize the talents and future full-time potential of a collegiate workforce. We can’t wait for you to see them!