Tori Foster, Sports Editor
James Bragado has been the manager for Annual Giving for the Department of Advancement on the University of Missouri–St. Louis campus since April 2018.
He chose UMSL because it was affordable, convenient and all his credits from community college would transfer. While attending UMSL he majored in history and French. His passion for French came about while he was visiting Paris for a friend’s wedding; he loved how France was such a historic site. He was always interested in languages and decided to take up French so that he could keep up with French friends. Plus, the history was mind blowing.
Bragado has been in his role for a year and a half. His duties are a hybrid of alumni engagement and annual giving.
Bragado connected with Jennifer Jezek-Taussig, the associate vice chancellor for Alumni Engagement, at a U.S. Marshal luncheon. She thought he would be a good fit for the call center position and encouraged him to apply.
“I was really happy to work on campus again because I already knew the faculty and staff and certain students who were going here,” said Bragado.
He felt it was a very comfortable fit and he believed in UMSL’s mission to get alumni involved.
His favorite part about his job is that he gets the opportunity to teach and mentor students. He thinks of the call center as a mini-internship that teaches students real-life skills that will set them apart from their peers. Bragado encourages students daily not to give up and to finish strong. In addition to telling them to network as much as they can and sharpen their skills to land a job in their career field soon.
Mariah Lindsey, senior, communications, is UMSL telefund’s supervisor. She says her favorite part of working at the telefund is, “…leaving alumni with a great impression of me – and by extension, UMSL. I really care about the connections alums feel they have to the school even years after graduating.” She thinks of the telefund as unpredictable. “I’ve learned a ton about UMSL since working at the call center. There’s been a plethora of scholarships we’ve advocated for that I had no clue existed. Additionally, I’ve learned how much of a hidden gem UMSL is to St. Louis. There are some exceptional programs here and the large majority of UMSL alumni go on to service the St. Louis area. Sure, UMSL may not be the “typical” university, but I feel like UMSL students achieve quite a lot.”
Since she previously worked on campus at her last college, she wanted to do the same thing at UMSL. “I was especially attracted to this position because of its uniqueness, it seemed like more than just working the front desk in an office. Plus, the pay and scheduling flexibility are great for in a student worker job!”
In Lindsey eyes, the telefund is extremely lively because the student callers all have amazing personalities and unique background that boosts the atmosphere. Lindsey has been working at the telefund for about a year and one month. She remembers when an alumnus told her, “Set your sights higher than St. Louis, and to do things for you.”
Student callers believe the telefund has had a tremendous impact on their life.
Brandon Yn, sophomore, communications, has been working for the telefund for three months and explains, “I like that we all share the common goal of bettering the community.” He thinks of the telefund as a “community.” Yn loves the fact that the telefund helps him stay updated on what is going on around campus. Alumni have told him to always look out for mentor opportunities.
Maranda Morris, senior, criminology, who just started the telefund’s team four weeks ago, said her favorite part about her job is getting connected with the alumni and getting the advice they like to share. One alumnus advised her To look for a job now rather than after graduation. Morris thinks of the telefund’s environment as “positive”.
Bragado described the telefund environment as engaging, active, and fun but if he had to describe the telefund in one word it would be “inspirational.”
He loves his job, he wakes up every day, “Never complaining about going to work because it is my way of giving back and paying it forward.”
Besides dollar amounts, the weekly goal is to keep the students engaged in their jobs. The monthly goal, learning the necessary skills they need to succeed in their career. The annual goal, making sure telefund caller are reaching the goals needed to help students around them.
Bragado had a very successful reboot. It took a year to flip the program and last year the students were able to raise twice as much as the year before. The amount of pledges went up by 65 percent.
The call center is always looking for new students to join the team. The call center is located at Room 240 Woods Hall.
“I truly believe the work our call center’s students do here has an incredible impact on the campus,” said Bragado.