Tomás Valladares – EAW Has Been a Vital Supplement to my College Education

I am finishing my degree in finance at the University of North Texas and will be graduating in the spring with a full-time job lined up as a commercial underwriter with a major insurance carrier.

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I have worked at EAW all 3 years of my college career. In one of my first business classes, the professor told our class that one of the most important steps a college student can take is getting a job in the industry they are studying. A few weeks after hearing this I saw a job post for a phone agent position at a well-known financial company via Education at Work.

Applying for this position ultimately propelled my career forward more than I could have imagined. The flexibility offered by EAW allowed me to fit extracurricular activities into my schedule while going to school full-time. Professional organizations were also quick to accept my applications after seeing that I had experience in the industry and had developed important soft skills.

EAW gave me recognition for the work I did and provided me with promotions along the way. After working in customer service roles for nearly a year and a half, I was able to transition to a project manager role, allowing me to develop a wide spectrum of work experience with a Fortune 500 company. During an internship interview, the manager interviewing me kept coming back to the fact that I had client-facing experience and project management skills.

I believe these two skills developed at EAW were critical in landing the internship, leading to a full-time offer after graduation. I view EAW as a vital supplement to my college education. The two worked in tandem to provide a holistic educational experience that pushed my career forward while providing financial support along the way.

Zach Stanich – Reflecting on My Time at EAW

I studied my first two years of college at Portland State University in Oregon. Shortly after moving down to Arizona, I learned about EAW through Arizona State University. Now that I am graduating from ASU, I am reminiscing about my time at EAW.

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I am sad it is coming to an end but I am also very grateful for my 2 years at EAW. EAW has given me the opportunity to graduate from ASU with zero student debt. The amazing staff and leadership at EAW always make your education the #1 priority. They are constantly working around your school schedule and make sure you have time off for your finals. The environment of EAW, their staff and employees are all so welcoming and engaged in a common goal; everyone wants YOU to succeed and grow while obtaining your education.

I started my journey as a cell miner. I then had the chance to move up into our first ever LVAR team. I was able to help support and create the team with my supervisor at the time. I was the top performer on the team and my supervisor asked me to help as a “peer coach”. This gave me many skills and opportunities to learn as I helped my peers grow as well.

Now that I am graduating, I have been given an opportunity through EAW’s partnership with one of our high profile financial clients. I have been offered a full-time job and will be able to get my foot in the door with leadership opportunities based on my pre-established relationships in the company. My last day with EAW is January 7th!

Overall, I cannot thank EAW enough for the amazing opportunity it has given me. It is an incredible place to work. Everything I have to say about EAW is positive and it gave me the opportunity to grow while attending ASU. The skills and abilities EAW helped me develop have empowered me to reach my professional goals.

I want to take the time to thank you EAW one last time for everything you have given me during my time here.

EAW’s Women in STEM: The 2022 CAEL Conference in Chicago

In choosing three adult learners from Education at Work to attend the CAEL Conference the criteria were simple; students over a certain age (26), who had taken a non-traditional path through education. In inquiring around the various locations we were able to find our students, and by chance, each of them was a woman, and also by chance, each was working towards an undergraduate degree in STEM.

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In November of 2022, Madeline Kaye, Sara Gonzales and Abigail Ortega packed their bags and flew to meet up in Chicago for the 2022 CAEL Conference.

Here the students told their unique stories, and how they each found a community of advocates at EAW that support their personal, professional and academic goals.

Sara Gonzales

Sara Gonzales is a Student Agent at EAW's Utah campus. She is a wife and a mother and is returning to school after taking years off to start her family. Sara is earning her degree in Network Management Technology at Weber State in Utah.

"From the flight reservation to booking the hotels, we were taken care of so well on our trip to the CAEL conference in Chicago. I had never been to Chicago and enjoyed seeing the tall buildings, eating delicious pizza, Italian food, extraordinary coffee and, of course, one of the most fascinating things, the trains that ran above us in Downtown Chicago! When we went to the Palmer House Hotel the architecture inside the building was amazing! I got to see the famed Tiffany & Co. bronze peacock door too!

To say that I was excited to be at the CAEL conference is an understatement. The feeling of being in front of a group of people and talking about my story with Education At Work has been a feeling that I'll never forget.

As we attended other events at the CAEL conference and met with other successful people, we got to hear how powerful their stories are and how they got to their positions today. I came back home with a different mindset that I too can achieve my goals and become as successful as those featured in the conference.

Overall I loved Chicago and having the opportunity to attend the CAEL conference. It has been an experience I will remember for the rest of my life!"

Abigail Ortega

Abigail is currently attending UTEP, studying electrical engineering. She took a break after graduating high school because she was burned out, and found she wasn't sure what to study. In her late 20s she decided to return to college and is now studying Electrical Engineering.

"My name is Abigail Ortega, most people call me Abbie.

I am currently an undergraduate at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). I'm pursuing my BS in Electrical Engineering. I am a student agent for Education at Work working for one of our high profile tech clients.

This year I had the privilege of being invited to the CAEL conference. Throughout my time there, I went to a variety of events where I got to connect with other adult learners who had also gone through the similar non-linear paths as myself. I was able to meet with different partners from all over the nation and made new connections within our organization.

Overall it was a very welcoming experience and eye opening to all the types of opportunity and support there is for adult learners.

I was also able to meet with other student agents in EAW. Getting to know other women in STEM was amazing - we connected through our personal experiences. Everyone's story and the life events that brought them to CAEL was overall helpful towards my own educational/career path.

I am very grateful for the experience and would gladly do it again!"

Madeline Kaye

Madeline has been with EAW since 2021, started as a student agent and now is a trainer. She is currently attending Weber State in Utah studying Management in Computer Systems.

"The CAEL conference was informative and inspiring even during the fun events, such as the ice cream social, or the knowledge exchange hub.

This was my first year in attendance. The reception was warm and everyone was very conversational. I walked away better informed and inspired to work with my new network towards the same shared goals.

One beautiful thing about this conference was how it brought together individuals who have walked a mile in the shoes of those they support.

Some of the notable organizations represented were Strada, CAEL, National University, Purdue University, IBM, AWS, CSU, College Board, CompTIA, and many other regional community colleges and universities. Hearing about the stories of their challenges and sweet success was inspirational.

Everyone was very understanding of adult learners' journey and through various round-table discussions, we each walked away with an additional thought and goal to support for our learners."

How EAW Is Helping Me Reach My Academic Goals

I am working on a degree in biological sciences at ASU and will be graduating in the spring. Currently, my main degree focus is in chronic illness/disease treatment and prevention, but I have taken opportunities through research fellowships in the honors college to broad my scope and participate in research studying the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on STEM education.

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I started with EAW in July of 2020 as a frontline advocate for one of our Fortune 500 clients. In October of 2021, I moved from frontline operations to training and was given the opportunity to train a solo class as a new student trainer right off the bat.

Since then, I have been involved in all training classes for my supported line of business, while also maintaining a connection and supporting role in operations.

One such project I undertook to support the operations team was a year-to-date audit of attendance occurrences and disputes for each frontline agent, which I presented to many accolades in a professional staff meeting.

Outside of EAW, I am working on a degree in biological sciences at ASU and will be graduating in the spring. My main degree focus is in chronic illness/disease treatment and prevention. I have also taken opportunities through research fellowships in the honors college to broaden my scope and participate in research studying the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on STEM education.

Post graduation, I will have one additional year at ASU to complete my master's degree before moving on to continue post graduate research and education. It is entirely because of EAW's tuition assistance that I have decided to pursue a graduate degree. So far I've earned over $7K in tuition assistance, and with the other scholarships and awards I've received, I'm graduating completely debt free.

Thanks Education at Work for providing such a strong professional foundation and helping me to reach my academic goals!

How EAW Helped Me Land My Dream Career

Landing my dream career before graduation is something I never thought possible. It’s something I couldn’t have done without the help of Education at Work.

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A strong belief of mine has always been that students deserve to have opportunities to gain real-world experiences while they attend college. EAW’s mission completely incapsulates this idea, and it’s what intrigued me about the company from the very beginning.

After spending a few years as a student recruiter for the company, I was promoted to marketing assistant at the start of 2020. The role expanded my knowledge in marketing and social media, equipping me with the skills I needed to land my dream career.

I have always been an avid user of TikTok, the social media platform where users can record video content up to 60 seconds about any topic which interests them.

During quarantine, I used the platform to make comedic clips in the hopes of going viral. But in November, I endured a new and troubling life circumstance which left me in a state of depression and anxiety — I needed an outlet to talk to my friends virtually as the pandemic ensued, and that’s where my favorite app came in to help me just when I needed it.

Cappuccino is an audio recording app which allows users to make short podcasts with friends — the perfect way to stay connected when people are so distanced.

I used it to stay connected with my friends, get their advice and hear the crazy stories they had to tell. I wanted to share this app with the world, considering everyone had been going through times of loneliness and isolation.

I decided to make a TikTok about the app. The skills I’ve gained through EAW are what ultimately led me to make the perfect viral video.

With the communication skills I’ve gained, I was able to talk about the app in a way which was intriguing and relatable. I started my video off with a clean hook, something which would relate to people my age. I went into detail about the app and how it works, so people understood what it was all about.

My communication skills helped me express something to the masses in a way which resonates with them. The video began to climb in views, and the moment I knew it was beginning to go viral, I took the personal confidence and motivation I gained from my experience with EAW to reach out to the founder of the app via Instagram.

I knew I had created something outstanding. The founder was shocked, immediately seeing the value in a potential partnership. After learning about my professional experience in social media and the soft skills I’ve already gained, he offered me a job as a full-time social media contractor.

The TikTok video now stands at almost four million views, and soon after getting hired, I was able to create another video which hit six million.

I’ve officially been on the Cappuccino team for eight weeks and I am immensely lucky to have a full-time job even before graduation. My skills from EAW have now transferred into my dream career.

Now, I experience the value of teamwork as I work in partnership with our engineers in France, our designer in New York and our head of communication in California. I fulfill my duties as a leader, coordinating all content for social media. I’ve transferred my organizational skills to this career by using a planner, creating a calendar and meeting deadlines. I execute my time management skills by completing work with the motivation to get content out on time.

Lastly, I contribute to the overall success of the company by believing in myself and in my abilities.

I still feel as though I haven’t grasped how crazy it all is.

Never in my life would I think making a TikTok could lead to the job opportunity of a lifetime. It’s crazy to say I am now a social media contractor for my favorite app. I am extremely grateful for EAW and their passion for students gaining real-world experiences before my graduation date.

Because of them, I am completely prepared for the opportunity of a lifetime.

Success Story: Stevan Rademann

A recent Information Systems graduate from the University of Cincinnati has found his way to his dream career through Education at Work.

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Stevan Rademann started with EAW in 2018, working for our Global Financial Services partner. He was contacted by EAW through the hiring platform, Handshake, and knew he wanted to apply for the position. During his time at EAW, Stevan earned over $6,000 in tuition assistance and gained a handful of skills along the way for his future career.

“I learned how to use a new company software, understood how the company does things culturally, and I realized how to manage work on your own,” says Stevan. “Having a 39-hour work week taught me how to be in a real office for a whole work week. At first it was demanding but then you get in the groove.”

Alongside his newfound understanding of company culture, Stevan says that he felt treated as an equal to his fellow associates. “They put a lot of trust in the team. We were able to do things on our own and that can help you grow as an employee and helps you strive to want to work full-time.”

With a degree in Information Systems, Stevan was on the hunt for his dream career and found it with that same Financial Services company. At first, Stevan planned to join a lead program with the company, but as the pandemic started, that opportunity was closed down. With a new panic of what to do next, Stevan suddenly found himself accepting an offer to work-full time with the company as a software engineer, starting in January.

“When I first started at EAW I didn’t think that first position would lead to my dream job. That’s what hard work with Education at Work can get you,” says Stevan.

Education at Work is honored to guide students along their career journey, from the very beginning, until they flourish in their full-time careers. Congrats Stevan, we are happy to have had you!

Senior Spotlight: Jacob Castle

From part-time to full-time, Jacob Castle has certainly gotten the full experience of everything Education at Work has to offer.

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“I’m the first in my family to go to a four-year college, my program was four and a half years,” Jacob says. “It just flew by. But once I finally graduated, it felt like a huge relief. Like all that hard work paying off.”

Jacob, who graduated in December 2020 from Northern Kentucky University, started working full-time with EAW shortly after the new year. Jacob currently has a position in Corporate Communications and works as EAW’s Graphic Designer.

Jacob earned his bachelor's of fine arts in visual communication design from NKU, working for EAW for the past two years as a part-time graphic designer. Jacob has contributed several designs for EAW’s internal flyers and announcements, presentations, social media posts, and more.

He says he’s earned more than $13,000 in tuition assistance during his time with EAW, in addition to hourly wages, which helped him complete his degree with almost no student debt.

“That’s one thing I love about EAW,” Jacob says. “How they work with me around my classes, then in the summer I can pick up more hours to help pay for school.”

Thanks to a referral from a friend, Jacob found a position at EAW as a sophomore in college, and was able to gain work experience for his field while also contributing to the organization.

With every job, responsibilities will shift once part-time status changes to full-time. That was Jacob’s experience, in which his responsibilities from graphic designer shifted to include corporate communications and other marketing responsibilities.

“As a full-time designer on staff, I have a lot more time, and I can take on more projects every week,” Jacob says. “My role has evolved into more of a leadership role where I can tackle projects I could not have before.”

Jacob also copy-edits material for corporate-level communications.

“At the time, I was just looking for more experience as a designer, I was looking for people with more experience to kind of guide me and teach me more about workflow. Plus, I think working with a larger team with a bunch of different departments helps me develop as a designer more. I’ve actually recommended a lot of friends here.”

Jacob says he’s, “happy to finally have a full-time design career where I get to contribute to a great mission, while having stability to get my adult life started.”

Jacob’s design portfolio is available at jacobcastle.com.

Success Story: Nicholas Acciardo

Newly graduated Nicholas Acciardo III has plans for his future – and he says he’s gained the skills he needs for his future thanks to his experience at Education at Work.

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“School and EAW worked hand-in-hand for me”

Newly graduated Nicholas Acciardo III has plans for his future – and he says he’s gained the skills he needs for his future thanks to his experience at Education at Work.

Nicholas, who earned his degree in May 2020 from Arizona State University, has worked for EAW for since July 2019. He credited EAW, in part, for his completion of his bachelor’s in Earth and Environmental Studies due to not having any student debt by the end of his senior year.

“My last semester, I didn’t owe anything,” Nicholas says. “I actually got a refund from ASU because my scholarships, along with EAW’s tuition assistance, actually covered semester costs, so I got a check back from ASU, which was really nice.”

While he didn’t work directly with studying climate change or earth systems under EAW’s programs, Nicholas says he still gained important experiences working part-time while attending school.

“They worked hand-in-hand because my major map and my school schedule were set, because my major is kind of small, so I had to take these specific classes at these specific times, and there’s no alternative,” Nicholas says. “So, being able to have the flexibility in my work schedule to meet my class schedule needs was imperative. I wasn’t sure what else I’d be able to do in a situation like that.”

But EAW didn’t just have an impact on Nicholas. In fact, Nicholas had an impact on EAW.

While working for a U.S.-based financial services company, Nicholas was responsible for account management, customer service interaction, maintaining an organized workflow throughout the day, and meeting high key performance indicator goals. This resulted in high productivity, and earned Nicholas recognition from his leadership team.

“Earning the experience of working for an organization like this,” Nicholas says, “it was crazy going into this big office with lots of people and a really defined structure, and learning to navigate that way. It gave me a good experience to see what an office job is like, the organization behind it, and how people work every day in that fit schedule.”

Nicholas says he earned a number of skills that he can carry with him into his career path – a path that is now an arm’s length away given his completion of his degree.

Organization skills, taking initiative, navigating an office environment and professional communication are only a few of the skills Nicholas can carry on with him.

“I learned how to navigate having specific meetings, how to work closer to supervisors, how to keep stats in line, and I think everything has been beneficial,” Nicholas says.

With the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality on his radar for future employment in his career path, Nicholas says his experience with EAW is part of the reason he can look forward to pursuing his career with less student debt once the pandemic subsides.

“I think EAW gave me a really good experience as to better manage my time and money, because going between school and work and home, I was always occupied,” Nicholas says. “It’s great experience in the future once you have a more stable career. Because once you learn how to manage it the first time, later in life it won’t be as difficult.”

Nicholas’ dream job is to work for the California Academy of Sciences.


Success Story: Yoselin Godinez

No one better exemplifies our BOLD values than Yoselin Godinez, an Arizona State University graduate.

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No one better exemplifies our BOLD values than Yoselin Godinez, an Arizona State University graduate. Yoselin obtained her bachelor’s degree in architectural studies. After graduation, she accepted a full-time position as a Collections Specialist with the same company she worked for as an EAW student employee! She will widen her skillset and use the knowledge she gained as a student employee to her full advantage in this new role. 

During her time with EAW, Yoselin was always a team player. As studenttransitioned to at-home-work in March, Yoselin stepped up to assist in virtual team chats to ensure the work transition was smooth for everyone. 

Yoselin began her career with Education at Work in December 2018. She started as a Cell Miner and then transitioned to the Collections team in October 2019. Her continued work ethic and passion for helping customers grew. During her time as a part of the Collections team, she found herself in the role of a subject matter expert. As a subject matter expertshe provided extra support to the team and created recorded huddles to make processes more efficient. 

Yoselin lives EAW’s values every day, and we’re so proud of how far she’s come! 

Student Success: Kaleb Keown

Kaleb Keown is a first-generation student who graduated debt-free from Arizona State University in May of 2019.

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Kaleb Keown is a first-generation student who graduated from Arizona State University in May of 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Kaleb worked at Education at Work (EAW) for more than a year and accepted a full-time position in April 2020 with the same financial service company he worked with while employed at Education at Work 

Kaleb quickly grew his skills at EAW, earning a promotion as a Senior Agent while he was an undergraduate student. Once he graduated with his bachelor’s degree, Kaleb was promoted to Student Supervisor role 

“My overall experience at Education at Work is nothing short of amazing,” says Kaleb. I had virtually no professional work experience going into EAW, and I walked out with a resume worth of amazing experience.”  

When he first joined the EAW team, he wasn’t sure what to expect. He says he was seeking professional experience but was also met with a fun and exciting crowd of people that supported him through his journey. 

“The people around you make the biggest difference, especially people with different educational backgrounds,” says Kaleb. You’re networking every single day you’re in there, let alone just making great friends and having a good time.” 

After making connections with his peers, Kaleb found that the most valuable skill he learned was how to be an effective leader for his team. Kaleb says his time at EAW prepared him to help lead people to help them succeed. 

After working for Education at Work for just under two years, Kaleb earned more than $5,600 in tuition assistance. He says that without the tuition assistance he earned he wouldn’t have been able to graduate debt free.