Frisco ISD students taking entrepreneurship classes were invited to the field at the Ford Center for a career exploration and guidance presentation led by UNT Frisco and High School Career Connect (HSCC).
UNT’s HSCC was established to support students with career exploration and post-secondary options through the use of peer mentors.
About two years ago, Frisco ISD’s director of community relations, Allison Miller, and UNT Frisco’s assistant director for career services, Roxy Verrelli, approached HSCC with a need: how to partner FISD students with local entrepreneurs to assist with workforce readiness. Fueled by a generous grant from Bank of America, the partnership of HSCC and Frisco ISD led to the creation of Future Ready in Frisco.
The students who attended the inaugural event were the first to attend thanks to the strong UNT/FISD partnership in the promotion of workforce development based on the needs of the community.
“We want to connect students with experts in the field,” HSCC Director Cris Buxton said. “We want the entrepreneurs and mentors to go over their ‘coulda, shoulda, woulda and glad I did’ to guide these students on the right path from the beginning.”
Students had seven 15-minute workshops to choose from on topics including resume tips, being interview ready, professionalism, social media etiquette, small business loans, personal branding and creating a quick pitch.
Joshua Mergerson, a junior at Heritage High School, has a budding music career and was thrilled with the opportunity to learn from Frisco area innovators.
“As a musician, I want to eventually have my own label,” Mergerson said. “But to do that, I need to have an entrepreneur mindset. This event is extremely beneficial to help me learn new ways to grow myself.”
The students also listened to and conversed with area notable innovators and business leaders, including:
Prince Nallamothula, a 4th grader at Curtsinger Elementary who has won national acclaim for his inventions
Rebecca and Ron Poynter, co-founders of OnPoynt Drone Solutions
Eric Fernandez, senior advisor of Bowlsby Sports Group
Thomas Satterwaite, co-founder of Pro Athletes Gold Association
Gouzia Sivarajah, senior at Heritage High School and founder and CEO of SIINNO Technology LLC, a company that helps blind and visually impaired individuals travel safely independent from a cane.
Thara Varansi, client services at Sophos Marketing
Michael Rondelli, associate vice president of Innovation and Commercialization at UNT
Roxanne Verrelli, assistant director with UNT Frisco Career Services
The students also met with a number of area employers who readily provided guidance and advice about starting a business.
Destiny Price, a career coach at the G. Brint Ryan College of Business at UNT, discussed professionalism in a small-group workshop. She covered everything from critiquing student handshakes to giving tips on how to talk to groups.
“I really enjoy getting out in the community to share these necessary skills,” Price said. “This next generation is extremely innovative, but through development, they can get polished up. The students in Frisco ISD are already diamonds. The District is doing a wonderful job.”
The event was made possible through a grant to the UNT Foundation by Bank of America. Thank you to the Dallas Cowboys who helped make this event happen at The Star, along with UNT and HSCC for a fantastic partnership.
To learn more about the UNT Frisco, HSCC and FISD partnership, click here.