Why uAspire? Part 4
Along with the awesome Director of Virtual Student Support, Michelle Murphy, I help to manage a team of 6 advisors supporting high school seniors in 15 states across the US with applying to college and financial aid. The virtual advising team uses text messaging to ‘nudge’ students about important college tasks like submitting the FAFSA, sending in tax forms to colleges, and getting an application fee waiver from their school counselor to apply to college for free. We also work one-on-one with students over text message to guide them through these complicated processes, and answer any questions they have about the college process. The majority of our 30,000 students will be the first in their family to graduate from college, and we make sure they know there is a reliable, supportive adult always on their phone to guide them through the college admissions process, with a particular focus on financial aid. I directly manage 2 of our 6 advisors, and also work with Michelle to build systems for our team (like a response bank that defines terms and describes processes in student-friendly, inclusive, and developmentally appropriate language).
Most of all I love working with students over text message. The opportunity to connect with someone from a completely different place, and learn about their environment and unique perspective in a reflective, thoughtful medium is unparalleled. Using texting to reach people is innovative and cost-effective, and learning about the strengths and limitations of texting will be vital to building systems and social justice programs for coming generations of young people. I love that uAspire has a culture of innovation and experimentation, and that my coworkers and managers push me to ask tough questions about my work and my self. We have a culture that values learning, teaching, friendship, fun, and silliness — all values that are very important to me in the workplace.
The duration of my co-op has been devoted to supporting as many people, both internally and externally, as I can. I mainly support donor cultivation on the Massachusetts Development Team, such as with preparing for events, coordinating acknowledgement mailings, and soliciting in-kind donations. Additionally, I oversee the front desk and help those who are in need of assistance in person and over the phone. I also have the opportunity to take on projects for various departments when help is needed, the biggest of which is support in our current hiring blitz.
What I love most about uAspire are the people. This is truly an organization with dedicated people who care for others. They have gone out of their way to make me and everyone else who walk into the door feel welcome and at home. It is an organization without cliques and values everyone involved regardless of position. Everyone values the opinions of their coworkers and revels in the triumphs of others. I struggle to pick a favorite coworker because everyone is equally amazing, kind, and intelligent. Though my time here is coming to an end, I feel I have gained a family. There are very few organizations that have amount the passion, heart, and ability to inspire that uAspire does.
I support the delivery of uAspire’s Training and Technical Assistance model by developing and delivering college affordability trainings for practitioners across the country. I am also a part of the exciting new Online Learning Team which is working to bring our training content online so that we can support even more practitioners nationwide!
I love working at uAspire for so many reasons it’s hard to count them all! Of course, I love the mission, as it is one that is very near and dear to my heart. But the people who work here are what really make this place extra special because they are so bright and compassionate. And they’re funny too! I have laughed, (like, REALLY laughed), every single day that I have worked here. Throw in the fact that I get to travel all over the country and have amazing benefits…you’ve got it all!