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.