When O’Neill students need help, their first point of contact may well be Ariel Mason, Kelsey Weaver, and Adison Stone. These three women are not only O’Neill students, they’re also O’Neill employees.
In their work, the trio helps O’Neill staff and their fellow students by scheduling student appointments with academic advisors and providing peer advising, answering questions about schedules and classes, helping during new student orientation, and connecting students to resources.
“The most rewarding thing is when I’m able to help resolve a student’s question or problem,” Ariel says. “We’re students too so we understand where these questions come from and how important they are.”
Kelsey is a Management major. Adison is studying Criminal Justice. And Ariel is earning her undergrad degree in Sustainable Management and Policy while also working toward her Master of Public Affairs in Public Management through O’Neill’s Accelerated Master’s Program.
All three students represent different academic areas within O’Neill, bringing in much-needed and much-desired student input.
“I think it’s important to have student employees because it gives the other staff members a student perspective, which is the most important thing when everything we do is for and about O’Neill students,” Ariel explains.
Kelsey equates their staff roles to being a front line for O’Neill staff members filling a critical role as unofficial student sounding boards.
“We are the first students to be asked questions about student life—how students feel about a certain professor, whether a new course topic is something students would be interested in, what’s going on around campus, and how are people feeling,” she explains. “That can all influence what’s happening in the behind-the-scenes of O’Neill decision making.”
They know that working for O’Neill provides them unique access, insight, and opportunity.
“The work I do not only helps students, but it also helps me gain a better understanding of the O’Neill School and IUPUI,” Adison explains. “It has opened up so much to me both in an academic and a professional setting. Anyone who asks me if it is worth it, I will always respond and tell them absolutely! O’Neill is, in fact, worth it.”
That’s why they hope other students will join their team. Adison says she heard about the opportunity from previous student employees during Summer Bridge. Kelsey and Ariel heard about it through their classes. They say they would encourage other students to seize the opportunity to work in a positive and encouraging environment.
“It is truly an amazing experience because I am developing stronger professional relationships with the faculty and staff by being a part of the office in addition to a student in the school,” Adison says. “Everyone treats each other with respect and kindness, and I could not have asked for a better opportunity to be a part of that kind of environment.”
The supportive relationship development component isn’t unique to Adison. All three women stressed the importance of that element when talking about why they work for O’Neill.
“The pandemic has shown us how much the staff really cares about us because they make time to have conversations with us,” Kelsey adds. “Whether it’s about our lives, our classes, how we’re adjusting to COVID-19 or returning to campus, they’re checking in to make sure we’re okay.”
For Ariel, these connections are deepened due to sharing a common goal and mindset that truly making a difference matters.
“It is great working with the O’Neill staff and faculty because we’re all focused on helping others and creating a better society,” she says. “If you want to work in an environment that encourages growth and is full of connections, then this would be a great opportunity for you!”
If you’re interested in learning more about the student employee team, contact Terry O’Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org.