The university’s Education and Development Grant for Employability program, better known as EDGE, provides highly-motivated first-year students the opportunity to develop professional and career skills while gaining important hands-on experience working within a university department. EDGE recently awarded its inaugural student-of-the-year honor to Aryana Carreras for her outstanding participation and dedication to the program.
Carreras was presented the Shivam EDGE Award at the program’s May 2 year-end celebration. She was selected from eight finalists who were evaluated using criteria including engagement, self-improvement, teamwork, initiative and kindness.
Carreras, a first-year student studying finance, was a member of the Housing Services Green Team. Eric Musselman, the Green Team’s professional staff leader, explains what differentiated Carreras from other students.
“In the five years I’ve led our team, Aryana’s sense of initiative is unmatched. She will work, improve, brainstorm and introduce projects without being asked,” Musselman says. “She is a natural manager, delegator and motivator with a ferocious commitment to self-improvement.”
The Shivam EDGE Award was named in honor of Shivam Chokshi, a 2015-16 program participant. Chokshi used his EDGE experience as a springboard to multiple on-campus leadership roles including orientation leader, Chicago Quarter mentor and the DePaul Activities Board. Chokshi was a finance major working an investment banking internship when he passed away last summer from a medical issue.
Chokshi and Carreras are examples of the transformative impact of EDGE on individual students, but the program’s collective outcomes demonstrate the value it adds to the university. EDGE students have first-year retention and four-year graduation rates significantly above the university as a whole (92% to 86% and 71% to 58%, respectively).