For the past few years the Opus College of Business has had the opportunity, and blessing, to participate in Cristo Rey Jesuit High School’s Hire4Ed program. Corporations and not-for-profit institutions underwrite up to half of students’ tuition costs in exchange for work-study.
In the third year of UST’s participation, Pam Phairas from OCB Graduate Records Management, Cathy Davis from the MS in Accountancy Program, and me, from Graduate Business Career Services served as mentors to two of Cristo Rey’s finest students. Allie Bell and Fatima Vite, both sophomores, assisted many administrative staff at the Minneapolis campus in tasks ranging from clerical support to research projects. A reception for these two remarkable young ladies was recently held in their honor, with representatives across UST as well as Cristo Rey in attendance.
In a question and answer forum, Allie and Fatima exchanged reflections with the staff whom they supported in the past year.
“This program means a lot for me because it has helped me develop new skills by sending me off to a corporate workplace," said Fatima Vite. "Personally I think it’s a great experience getting to work and be able to belong to a work community. Being able to meet people that normally students wouldn't be able to is very nice," she added. "Most of all, it gives me a chance to figure out what type of work I want to aim for once I am out of high school and choosing my classes wisely in college.”
For Allie Bell, “This experience has changed every way I think about what I would like to do with my future. Hire4Ed gets me to do things most teenagers my age don't get the opportunity to do. Hire4Ed has given me the chance to receive encouragement from others to pursue my long-term and short-term goals.”
Being placed at UST, both students have had the unique opportunity to appreciate the university culture in action. To support their desire to become college bound, Davis and I accompanied the students on a tour of the St. Paul campus. We met with a student admissions representative and a contact from the students' academic areas of interest.
Allie, who wants to pursue a career in the music industry, met with the program manager of Music Admissions and Public Relations regarding UST’s BA in Music Business degree. Fatima has an interest in both medicine and in aviation, and was able to meet with a ROTC representative. Both the students and the supervisors stated that this was one of the highlights of the year.
The mission of the University of St. Thomas is to educate students to be morally responsible leaders who think critically, act wisely and work skillfully to advance the common good. What an incredible opportunity to widen that mission to these very special Cristo Rey Jesuit High School students who have crossed our paths, even if just for a little while.
Additional information about the Hire4Ed Program was highlighted recently here in Opus Magnum. The Opus College of Business is confirmed to participate in the Hire4Ed Program during the 2013-2014 academic year. UST departments with interest in supporting or mentoring a student next year should contact Pam Phairas for details.