Successful Cohorts, Careers, and Corporate Partners at UNT Frisco With Roxanne Verrelli
Successful Cohorts, Careers, and Corporate Partners at UNT Frisco With Roxanne Verrelli
Roxanne Verrelli, Assistant Director of Career Services at UNT Frisco, joins us to talk about facilitating corporate sponsorships, and how she helps students.
If you’re a business in the Frisco area and interested in working with UNT, this episode is a must-listen.
SHOW NOTES:[01:22] Establishing career services for UNT Frisco
[03:40] Student case study
[06:30] How UNT partners with businesses
[11:39] Introduction to the Cohort Program
[15:38] Joining the Cohort Program
[19:09] Partner companies with UNT
[20:30] How your company can work with UNT
LINKS & RESOURCES:
- UNT Frisco
- University of North Texas
- Cohort Program Info:
Connect with Lifestyle Frisco on:
On this episode of UNT unplugged, we are talking with Roxanne Verrelli, the assistant director of career services for the Frisco campus. If you are interested in your company working with UNT, this episode is a must. Listen, we’re going to get into details on how you can partner with UNT for internships, for hiring and for all kinds of other interesting programs and things that UNT has going on. We’re going to talk about who some of the current partner companies are and we’re also going to talk about the very interesting cohort program that’s a student learning program that UNT has gotten started that gives students some very hands on practical knowledge and experience in developing solutions to problems that exist today. So it’s a very business focused and very practical, uh, educational program that is a part of their normal learning with a few things added on. So super interesting stuff. And again, if you are in a business here in Frisco or the area and you want to learn how to work with UNT, tune in, we’re going to talk to Roxanne starting now. Roxanne, welcome to the show. Thank you for joining us today. Thank you for having me. Okay, so you are the assistant director of career services for the Frisco campus? That is correct. Okay. So what exactly does that mean?
Oh my goodness. That means so much. Um, so when I first was out there, students were telling, um, our director or assistant vice president, that where’s career services? I need to find a job. I don’t have anybody to look over my resume. I need somebody to talk to about an internship. What are we doing with employers that are coming in through the front door saying, how can I get involved with UNT at Frisco? All of those things. It’s a big, huge umbrella. So when I was, when I was asked to go out there, one of the great things was this was all brand new, right? So it’s like you’re opening up a whole new career center. Even though I was still a part of the Denton career center. Um, this was me opening up like a whole career services office in this campus. So started meeting with students.
I think the first semester I was there, I think I met with 25. The second semester I was there, I met with 175. So, um, and this is just, it all entails, you know, how it, how does a resume look? How are they engaging with employers? Are we able to bring career fairs and workshops and employers into the classroom to talk to students about what they have to offer? Um, it also entails internships on a daily basis. I probably talked to at least three to four companies a day, um, about our students paid internships, unpaid internships, full time jobs, part time jobs, co-ops. It’s, it’s across the gamut, right, of everything that you think about when you think about a career. Okay. So you are ultimately, if I could summarize that you are the person responsible for helping students get connected with businesses, whether that’s internships or jobs of one sort or another.
That is correct. That’s gotta be kind of a fun position to be in though. You’re helping these, these students and these kids transition or bridge that gap from, you know, the academic world into what they’re going to be doing, you know, hopefully for a career, at least for awhile. It’s such a fun job. I just absolutely love it. Um, the kids skews me, the students, um, really like when they finally see something come to fruition. If I may, I would love to tell you about a student that I’ve been helping with for over a year. Um, he came into my office today, smiling ear to ear. Um, he had gotten an internship at internet of things America this past summer. And so he had started, uh, the start of the school year came in and said, okay, so what’s next? What do I do? Um, you know, how do I prepare my resume now after this internship asked him, are you going to the career fairs?
Let’s look at your resume. Let’s talk about interviewing because you’re graduating in may. Came into my office today and he, uh, from going to the career fair in Denton, I told him to talk to Texas instruments because he’s a supply chain logistics major. He talked to Texas instruments and they just recently offered him a full time co-op position at, at TEI to then turn into a full time position once he graduate. Wow. Congratulations to him. That’s exactly, that makes my day. I mean that’s what I’m there for is to make sure that they’re making the right connections. They’re getting out there, they’re networking, they’re doing the things that they need to do so that once they know that graduation is just right around the corner, they’re walking across that stage with a huge smile because they’ve gotten a job and we’ve helped them do it.
Yeah, that’s wonderful. And it’s, it’s great that they have someone like you, and I’m sure there are others as well that work with you, but someone like you to rely on for that because those of us that have been in the business world for let’s just say a while, uh, you kind of forget what it’s like when you didn’t ever do networking and you didn’t know how to go introduce yourself to people and all those things. You know, you’ve done it so long, you kind of just take for granted that that’s, that’s a natural part of doing business. And a lot of these students that are nearing graduation or graduating haven’t done as much of that and they do need some guidance. So I’m glad you’re there to provide that for them. Well, it’s even like our student demographics, Scott, what is so great is that our student demographic is across the board right from 20 year old to 65 year old.
So that business person that you’re talking about that’s been out in the business world and now is coming back to finish their degree that they didn’t have an opportunity to finish. They’re also learning. Wow. Things have changed in the last two decades on how to interview, how to, how to make that resume one page. Right? I know you’re, you’re a business person and you probably have lots experience, but you’ve got to make it down to one page. You know, behavioral interviewing and informational interviewing has changed from 20 years ago. So they’re even coming back and going, wow, career services is really important, especially as I go forth. What about that job that I’m going to get in my company after I get my degree? So it’s, it’s, it’s not only helping the 20 year olds, it’s also helping the 65 year olds, you know, really find their, find out what they want to do and what is their passion and why did they decide to come back to school to finish this degree.
Very good. So one of the things I wanted to talk to you about and get a better understanding of is how UNT partners with businesses to create learning experiences, internship opportunities, and even a transition into the hiring. When you know, when I first moved to Frisco in 2004 even back then, one of the things that we were, that was a concern about Frisco’s growth is that a lot of companies look for there to be a four year university in those towns because it becomes a great source of talent for them. Now we have UNT and first go, um, and that’s a huge win for us. But how do you go out then and partner with those businesses? Um, what does that look like? What kind of businesses are you looking for? Kind of give us the overview of that. Cause I think a lot of our audience are members of the business community and we’ll have an interest in working with UNT, but they may not even know where to begin themselves.
So, great question because we are partnering in so many different ways. Uh, for me, when I partner with companies, I’m just basically calling companies and saying, Hey, do you have some time to talk? I would love to speak with you about recruiting our UNT students. Um, do you know what’s, you know, do you know that what all the programs that we have to offer? Right? Um, and, but it’s not just only me, Scott, it’s also um, you know, Mr. Zane Ali who is running our cohort program that I’m going to talk to you about in a few minutes. He’s going out and partnering with businesses on how can we get these cohort students internships. We also have advancement that’s also helping us going out and talking to all of the Frisco companies that are in the area and what can they do and help us, you know, get more involved with what UNT is doing, especially with building the brand new campus.
The other thing that we’re doing is we’re constantly out in the community here at Frisco and that is the one thing that I would want to say that really excites me is that we are constantly doing things with the community here in Frisco that puts our face out there that says, okay, businesses come and talk to us cause we’re ready to talk to you. We’re ready to say, Hey, would you like to speak in a classroom over, you know, a certain topic or would you like to speak in a classroom about your company and how students can get internships or jobs there? Would you like to come out and learn about our project based learning in the classroom? Knowing that students are now being able to actually work on a project and do it right there and Oh by the way come in and see what they’re actually doing.
They’re actually working on a real world project. Um, the other thing that we do is, um, in our data analytics program, right, we, we’re constantly bringing in employers to talk to our graduate students about data analytics because that is one of the biggest degrees out there that is, is, you know, when we talk about hot market data, analytics is hot market. Yes, yes. So, um, you know, it’s, it’s great to see in an American Airlines walk through the door, it’s great to see, um, Toyota work, you know, come through the door. It’s great to see, you know, all of the companies that are actually here in Frisco. But also our surrounding counties coming into Frisco and actually talking with our students, being, you know, being prepared, listening to what they have to say. And then we’re also listening to what they have to say is, okay, so we’re looking for this type of student.
We are, you know, wanting to get inside the classroom to talk more about our company and what we can do. They’re coming to us, they’re talking to the Dean, you know, how can we get involved? How can we bring more and more programs to UNT Frisco, you know, and making sure that we are meeting the needs of those employers. Right? Those corporate partners. Um, it’s again, it’s a team thing. All of us are always out there. You know, how can we get enrollment at what we can get enrollment up by going and talking to let’s say Cinemark right? So we went and talked to Cinemark. Oh by the way, there’s people there that haven’t finished their degree. Can we offer them our bachelor of applied arts and sciences program online. So we partnered with Cinemark and now all of the employees there are able to take classes online to go ahead and finish their degree, you know, and we’re taking credits.
So we’re taking, you know, military credits or certifications that can now be transferred into credit hours and now they’re able to finish possibly their degree in a semester or two semesters or three semesters. So they’re not having to go through the whole back through the whole thing of coming back to college and okay now I have to take history and English and all that over again. No, we can take those credits, turn them into credit hours and then that way they’re able to finish their degree. So we all have that program, which we need corporate partners. So we go out and we talk to different companies about how can we help them within their businesses to help their employees with tuition reimbursement come back to school and finish their degree and get, that’s a very interesting aspect of what you do. I didn’t realize that in addition to working with the corporate partners too for internships and [inaudible] and new career hires and things like that, but it’s actually going in and working with their existing employees on the education side of it. So you’re kind of taking it from both angles. Right. That’s very good.
So you mentioned that the cohort program, let’s talk a little bit about that because I think most of us don’t really know what that is. And we’re going to have a guest who was one of the cohort students on the next episode of this podcast. So let’s, uh, give us an intro into what that really is. So the cohort program came about in a discussion that we were having at a meeting one day on how can we, uh, how can we bring project based learning into the classroom? Okay. It’s being done. Um, there’s an Institute, um, in Boston WPI Institute that is the leader of project based learning. We went there over the summer, we learned about it, um, and now how can we, you know, bring it into UNT at Frisco and start this program. So we went out and said, okay, we’re going to get, go out to all the high schools in the area and talk to seniors about, um, coming to school with us. So it was, they came, they learned about the program, they came with their parents. They learned that it was a bachelor of science and integrative studies. Um, project design and analysis is what their concentration is.
So we said we’re going to do projects in the classroom, but what does that mean? Right? Cause you say project based learning. So Roxy, what does that mean? Well, what it means is that we partnered with the city of Frisco in there, our first client for this, for this full year. And we are talking about transportation, right? So we had the driverless car there for awhile. Right here in Frisco. So how, how has transportation, how, what is it gone from way back when to what it is now? Right? So we have a now a history class that’s being taught about transportation, right? So we went from walking by foot to car to, you know, to now we’re, you know, we’re having, what is it, Uber? Um, yeah, the, the flying cars, the flying cars right? Left or no, I forget what it’s called. The, yeah. Uber escalate.
Escalate, elevate, elevate. Right. So, um, so they’re learning all about that in history, right? They’re also learning psychology, the psychology of what it means when we have cars, right? How is that, why do we have to use psychology when we’re thinking about a flying car, right? Well, a person’s driving this car, how does that affect our stress level? How does that affect our lives? How does that affect, you know, if we’re having, you know, some type of breakdown in a car, right? How, what’s the psychology behind that? We also have, you know, an English there and they’re writing papers and you know, learning about ethos and pathos and you know, all of those things. So, and they’re, Oh, by the way, there are 23 students going through this program altogether. So they came in as, as freshmen and they’re taking these classes altogether, right? As they go through this.
So, um, it’ll go for this as their freshman year. So they’ll do an internship in the summer and then they’ll start their sophomore year. The great thing about this program is that it finishes in three years. Okay, very good. So, but we’re going to have a partner every year when we just talked about corporate partners every year, bringing in a project that the students will be able to work on. So they’re getting real hands on world experience before they even step foot into a company. Are they taking all of the same classes that other students would take in addition to the project? Yes. Okay. So they’re taking, they’re able to take an elective, right? So they get to pick whatever that elective is. So most of the classes that they have at the Frisco campus, they’re taking together and then there’s other classes that they can take separately, you know, back on the Denton campus or at the Frisco campus and you know, kind of do some things that they like besides just the project design and analysis.
They have all the same required classes as well. Still the history and all those basic things. Correct. So if someone’s interested in the cohort program, it sounds like a fantastic program, but it’s a fairly limited class size. How do they apply or how do they get into that program? Well, they can always go to our Frisco website, right. Um, uh, firstname.lastname@example.org so, and find out about the program there. We also are visiting all the high schools in the area and Mr. Michael Cassius is our first freshmen admissions who is dedicated to the cohort program. He’s out visiting all the high schools, telling them about this wonderful cohort program. The other thing that we’re doing is we’re also getting out into the community and talking about this wonderful program. So you may see us at the mall talking about this program. You may see us at, you know, um, anything, uh, we know community wise that you’re having that we’re going to go set up a table and we’re going to talk to parents about this cohort program, but we’re also going to talk them to talk to them about all the other things that Frisco has to offer as well.
How hard is it for someone to get into that program? They, there’s requirements that they have to follow, right? So they have to do an interview, um, they have to have a certain GPA. Um, there are requirements that, you know, uh, how would you do? Because it is, is this, it’s a very, um, stringent structured right program. So how we look at how the student feels, right? Are they going to be able to be able to be that stringent in, you know, we’re looking at their stress level, right? Making sure that they’re going to be able to handle that. This is a project based learning and we’re going to have to follow certain rules and guidelines as we go along. So are they ready? Are they mature? Right? And that’s where dr hope Garcia comes in as our, um, assistant vice president of a regional student campuses.
She comes in and that’s where she does, she talks to them, what are we doing? How are you doing? How can I help? What do you need from us? And so those requirements are come from both academic and then student service side. So Zane talks to them about the academics where hope talks to him about the student services and how do we feel and will you be ready for this program? Um, but again, it’s, we look at their GPA, we look at, you know, their test scores both from the sat and act. Um, we make sure that their Texas, you know, compliant as far as, you know, taking all the right courses and so on and so forth. We’re even looking at dual credit. So are they taking dual credit classes? All right, very good. So if someone’s interested in the program, where do they go for information?
So again, they can go to UNT at Frisco. Dot unt.edu. Um, and look up, um, the cohort program. It’s right there on the front page. It’s center. Everything’s great. Um, they can also give us a call at the campus. They can ask for dr hope Garcia. Um, she’s, she’s one of the leads for the cohort program there, so she would love to talk to people about how they can get involved. Um, also on the website is Mr. Michael [inaudible] who is the freshman freshman admissions counselor for this UNT cohort program. He would be able to answer lots of questions and they can always call us at nine, seven, two, six, six, eight 7,100 and ask for Michael or hope, um, to get more information on how they get involved with this program. All right, very good. We’ll make sure that the, all that information is linked up in the show notes for this episode as well.
Okay. People can just click in and get in touch with you guys. Let’s go back a little bit to the corporate side. You mentioned, uh, American airlines and Toyota. Are there some other Frisco and Frisco area companies that you guys are currently working with? Uh, let’s see. AmerisourceBergen, so right there in hall park, so we’re working with them. We’re also working with internet of things America who are happening just to be right here in the inspire park building. Um, so we’re working with them. Um, we’re also working, uh, with um, uh, Wipro technologies an it company. So we’ve got some, some things going with them. The list is endless. Um, so, uh, let’s see, who else are we working with? Um, we’re working with Southwest airlines, right? So coming in they, I see them quite often out at, um, our Frisco campus. Um, we’re working with, um, Fiserv, which is right here in Frisco.
We’re working, um, with, uh, well just again, back to inspire park, right? We’re working with visual visual learning solutions. Who happens just to be right downstairs, right. We’re working that they have taken so far up to five interns, so in the last year. Wonderful. So, um, we’re working with voodoo robotics, right? So I’m helping them get some interns. Um, I know at Lifestyle Frisco we’re working with, you have style Frisco interns as well. And that kinda leads me to my next question. What are the, the types or the criteria that you have for the companies that you’re looking to work with? Because it sounds like they’re everything from startup phase to well-established, huge corporations, but is there a certain set of criteria or anything in particular that you guys are looking for? Nope, just anything and everything. So when I, when I pick up the phone to call a company, it could be Chick-fil-A, right?
And in a franchise and they’re looking for somebody to come in and they need part-timers, right? But they’re also want somebody to come in and learn their management side of things. So a student who is going into hospitality and wants to know the restaurant business, well, that would be a great opportunity for them to go and see what is a franchise all about. It also is a great opportunity for our entrepreneurship students, right? How do I start a Chick-fil-A franchise? So, you know, so we could start there. It’s also about going out and talking to the hotels because again, we have a hospitality program, right? So what are they looking for in interns? What are they looking for for students who are getting ready to graduate? How can they partner with us and see some of the things that we’re doing? Um, you know, in talking with Dean Randall and talking with other, uh, business people there at the campus, how can they get involved?
So it’s, it’s across the board there. There is no criteria. I will talk to anybody that wants to listen to me about UNT at first go. Um, seriously. I mean they say I can talk to all the wall and the wall, we’ll talk back. Um, but exactly that. I mean it’s, it’s everybody in anybody. It’s that entrepreneur who’s just started that business who’s looking for, you know, some help from a student who’s learning the same exact thing. Right? I just want to be able to give them experience. It’s not about, you know, sometimes it’s about the academic credit. So the student needs academic credit. They have to do an an internship in journalism or PR, right? It’s not about them getting paid, it’s about them getting the experience. They’re taking the class at UNT. So now I need the experience and I need to get the credit hours. So again, it’s across the board. There is no criteria. We talk to anybody and everybody about coming into UNT at Frisco and partnering with us and how they, how we can help them and they can help us.
Well that’s good to know. So my, my kind of closing question then is for companies or people and companies that are listening to this podcast and would like to talk to you about hiring students, internships and all those kinds of things, what do they need to know? What do they need to do? Where do they need to go to find out how to get engaged with you guys?
So the first thing I would tell them is come to the campus, right? We already have a campus and we get that question a lot. So I hear you’re building a campus. Well, we actually already have a campus. It’s a 28, 11 internet Boulevard. Um, I would love for them to come to the campus so I can give them a tour and then talk to them about how they can get engaged. What kind of students do you need? Um, you know, what other types of, would you like to get into the classroom and talk to our students? You know, would you like to be able to sit down with the Dean and see how our curriculum can change over what program they’re doing? Right. So, um, love to give them, just to kinda have them come out. If they can’t make it out to the campus then they can just email me or they can give me a call. Um, I’ll give you my email address and my phone number and then they can reach me that way.
Um, and literally, I mean just reach out, just reach out to me and let me get them connected. All right, sounds good. We’ll make sure that we get your phone number, your email. Again, all that stuff linked up in the show notes. Roxanne, thank you so much for joining us today. This has been very informative and really looking forward to the conversation in the next episode with the cohort student to learn a little more about that program, but keep up the good work and let us know if we can do anything to help. Great. Thank you for having me today. This was really enjoyable indeed. Have a great day. And for all of you that are listening, please be sure to head over and visit the show notes for this episode. We’ve got links in there so that you can subscribe to the UNT Frisco podcast and learn everything and more than you probably want or need to know about UNT in Frisco. Again, super excited to have those guys here, so please subscribe and we’ll talk to you on the next episode.