In Ainsley Wright’s Sustainable Management and Policy courses, she’s learning solutions to address climate change.
“The O’Neill School allows me to study the interactions between humans and our environment and to focus more on community engagement as a solution to climate change,” she says.
But when class is over, she starts learning new lessons—and she doesn’t have to go far to do it.
A quick walk down the hall and Ainsley begins her job as an O’Neill School Student Success Assistant and Peer Advisor. The Student Success team runs the front desk and works on projects with O’Neill staff. Peer advisors help their fellow O’Neill students chart out their courses and get connected to campus.
“I love interacting with everyone at O’Neill,” Ainsley says. “Whether that be my fellow student staff members, students who come in for advising, or any of the professional staff, they are all amazing people to get to know.”
Ainsley is one of nine students working in the O’Neill offices, providing guidance, opportunities, and support for their fellow students.
Peer Advisors Alexandria Coleman and Jessica Cantin—both Criminal Justice majors—and Stephanie Gustas, a Management major, say they’re able to help others now while helping themselves learn skills that translate into any career.
“It made sense to work in the O’Neill office to make connections and utilize resources that could help me with my future,” Alexandria explains.
Stephanie adds, “I love networking within the office. I’ve been able to grow stronger connections with advisors which has been so beneficial.”
In some cases, those experiences can even direct a career path.
“I wanted to work in the O’Neill office to further develop my professional skills,” Jessica admits. “I had never worked in an office and was excited to work with the advisors. Now, I am headed to graduate school to study higher education and become an advisor myself.”
By working for O’Neill, each student develops a more well-rounded resume, adding professional experience and skills that aren’t always taught in the classroom but are required in the working world.
Behind the scenes, two more students help support the O’Neill School and connect its students to new opportunities.
As the O’Neill Career Services intern, Payal Shah creates a weekly newsletter for O’Neill students with information on the latest course, job, and internship opportunities. But her primary focus was planning the 2022 Nonprofit Expo.
“I had experience working with nonprofit organizations and wanted to expand upon those experiences,” Payal says.
In doing so, she helped connect students across IUPUI to volunteer opportunities, internships, and jobs with nonprofit, government, and community organizations.
Those kind of events and experiences take funding. That’s where Bri Youn comes in. Bri is an honors student, a Management major, and is pursuing her MPA through O’Neill’s Accelerated Master’s Program. She began working for O’Neill IUPUI’s Development Office in 2019 as a graduate assistant.
“Accepting this position only made sense,” Bri explains. “O’Neill is my home away from home, my boss was my dream mentor, and this was a chance to apply what I was learning inside the classroom to what I was doing here in the office.”
Bri works across multiple departments on development plans for need-based student scholarships and fundraising campaigns that support high-impact giving strategies.
“I’ve been afforded the opportunity to meet some of the most incredible alumni, inspiring students, and passionate staff out there,” Bri says. “By working for O’Neill, I’ve been able to use my classroom skills to make a direct impact on O’Neill students, even if it’s not often face to face.”
In contrast, Preston Cloud, a Sustainable Management and Policy major, is often the first face people see when they walk into the O’Neill office. His goal as a student success assistant is to ease the stress his fellow students experience.
“It’s rewarding to help students make their academic careers as great as possible simply by answering their questions and connecting them to the right people,” he explains. “As an undergrad student, I know how hard it is to juggle school and personal life.”
It’s a tough balance O’Neill’s student employees also have to strike—but Public Safety Management major and Student Success Assistant Candace Smallwood says they’re able to do it thanks to O’Neill’s office staff.
“The flexibility and understanding we get from the O’Neill team make this a perfect job for a college student,” Candace says. “I appreciate the support I receive from O’Neill advisors and the relationships I’m building with them. They truly care about students, and it’s special to work alongside them.”