Sofia Ramos, GTE Financial Student Employee

From participating in our Honors Program to coordinating events for our commuter students, Sofia Ramos has taken advantage of the many opportunities to gain leadership skills and grow professionally throughout her nearly four years at SEU. In her junior year, she was selected to be part of the inaugural team at our on-campus GTE Student-Powered Financial Center. Check out our interview with Sofia below to learn about her experience in the student-powered program and how it has prepared her for her future career.Sofia-timeline

SEU: Describe your experience working as a student on SEU’s campus.

Sofia: I’ve had the privilege of the being one of the first students at Southeastern to participate in GTE Financial’s student-powered program on campus. I was hired in March of 2014 to help build awareness of GTE’s presence and raise the overall level of financial literacy among students. As a student relationship officer, my role included informing students about what we offer as a credit union, opening up checking and savings accounts and answering our members’ various financial questions. My favorite part of the program was being able to teach students basic life skills both in and out of the classroom. Each semester, our team partners with SEU’s Personal Financial Stewardship classes to teach students financial literacy concepts, including the basics of financial accounts, the importance of building credit and how to buy their first car.

After participating in the student-powered program for a year, I was given the opportunity to transition to a part-time role in the Products & Strategy Department at our headquarters. I now work with a small team on strategic projects for the credit union, building and updating deposit products and creating various proposals and presentations for the board of directors and the executive team.

SEU: What has been the greatest benefit of working on campus as a student?

Sofia: The greatest benefit is knowing that what I do is helping my peers learn necessary life skills both in and out of the classroom. Helping students my own age understandHelping students my own age understand the importance of building credit, budgeting and other important financial topics has given me the opportunity to make a difference in my community. the importance of building credit, budgeting and other important financial topics has given me the opportunity to make a difference in my community. I found that so many students did not understand these principles coming into college, and so the fact that our team gets to partner with professors to teach them these skills is very rewarding.

Another benefit of participating in GTE Financial’s student-powered program is having the everyday convenience of an on-campus job, while still gaining professional experience and occasional training at GTE’s headquarters in Tampa. I think it is an excellent job for any student looking to work in a professional career in the future.

SEU: You are pursuing degrees in marketing and graphic design. Why did you decide to accept a campus job that’s outside of your degree focus?

Sofia: As a marketing and graphic design major, I did not think that working in a credit union would give me as much practical experience as it did. I just saw it as a good opportunity to gain some professional experience, help my community and learn new skills. But in reality, the program gave me so many different opportunities to apply what I was learning in class — from developing a marketing strategy to promoting our program to students, designing promotional flyers and learning how to communicate effectively to our market. I’ve learned that in any job you get, especially this one, you can gain professional and practical experience that you can take with you in the future, regardless of what professional field you end up in.

SEU: What advice would you give to incoming students who are looking for a campus job?

Sofia: I would advise other students to be open to any opportunity, not just something specifically related to their field of study. I was not actively looking for a job when my professor recommended that I apply for this role at GTE Financial. But when I found out about GTE’s partnership with Southeastern to open a credit union entirely operated by students, I knew it would be a great opportunity to learn and grow. Because I was open to that opportunity, I’ve gained so many skills that I will take with me for the rest of my life.

To learn more about SEU’s partnership with GTE Financial, click here. You can also click here to find five practical tips on building your resume during college.