Work-Study Job Helps Pave Professional Path for Business Major Billy Crowley
By Ed Brennen
Crowley got his foot in the door at the computer networking company last summer as a data operations specialist intern — an opportunity that he credits to his work-study job as an assistant gift processor for UML’s Advancement office.
“It was way more than a work-study job. I worked with databases and customer relationship management systems, and that’s how I was able to land my internship,” says Crowley, who has worked for Advancement for three years, including remotely for the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Crowley was recently recognized for his outstanding work by being named UML’s Student Employee of the Year.
Each year, as part of National Student Employment Week, the offices of Student Employment and Financial Aid recognize UML students who work while in school, either through the Federal Work-Study Program or in departmental and off-campus positions.
Employment supervisors are invited to nominate students for the award, which makes them eligible for state, regional and national student employee of the year honors.
This year’s ceremony — like many of the jobs themselves during the pandemic — was held remotely, with 13 student employees and their nominating supervisors attending on Zoom. Every nominee received a certificate, and Crowley got a plaque for his win.
Manager of Student Employment Candice Garabedian praised the students and supervisors for adapting to challenging circumstances, whether working from home or on campus under safety protocols.
“You kept doing the work and held everything together, which is a testament to you and your dedication to UMass Lowell,” she said.
“You kept doing the work and held everything together, which is a testament to you and your dedication to UMass Lowell.” -Manager of Student Employment Candice Garabedian on award nominees
Junior radiological health physics major Cassia Fontes, who works as a radiation safety inspector for the Environmental and Emergency Management department, was first runner-up for the award. Senior plastics engineering major Greg Reimonn, a microplastics student researcher in the Francis College of Engineering, was second runner-up.
Crowley, who is from Medford, Massachusetts, started as a data entry clerk for Advancement. His work-study role evolved, he says, as he learned new database and coding skills in his business classes.
“As I went through school, I was able to become more involved and pick up bigger projects like the yearly endowment report,” says Crowley, whose biggest project involved cleaning up Advancement’s donor database with Microsoft Access, a database management system.
On the morning of the award ceremony, Crowley was busy processing online gifts and sending out tax receipts for Days of Giving, the university’s annual two-day donation drive.
“Billy goes above and beyond for any project we’ve assigned to him, and he’s helped us so much throughout the pandemic,” says Maria Panagakis, executive director of Advancement services.
“This year, in particular, Billy was a huge help with our endowment reports, updating our Access database and getting those reports out on time,” adds Cindy Puleo, director of endowment and gift operations.
The other student employees nominated this year were:
Prince Acquah (studio assistant, Art & Design Department); Natalie Battle (project assistant, Provost’s Office); Samuel Claflin (undergraduate researcher, Computer Science Department); John Connery (MakerSpace student leader, Engineering Dean’s Office); Kiran Darai (peer advisor team lead, Academic Services); Kathy Le (studio assistant, Art & Design); Meaghan O’Brien (office assistant, Business Dean’s Office); Emily Parsons (archival processor of the Kerouac Archive, English Department); Jessica Ross (grader, Chemistry Department); and Jacob Villeneueve (Welcome Desk staff, Student Affairs).
With the university planning for a full return to campus in the fall, Garabedian said opportunities for on-campus student employment will be available with appropriate accommodations for health and safety. Students can apply for jobs through the Student Employment Office at uml.edu/jobhawk.
“As more information regarding office and building capacity becomes available, we will be able to provide more specific information as to the number of on-campus jobs that will be available,” she says.
While he has missed working in the office 10 to 20 hours a week, Crowley is thankful that he could continue his work-study job remotely from his off-campus apartment.
“I know a lot of internships and co-ops were canceled. I was able to come back to school and keep working, help myself financially and get that experience,” he says. “I ended up in a good position when I’m graduating, and that’s all you can really ask for.”