For the past 10 years, the Diversity Enrichment and Achievement Program (DEAP) at IUPUI has served as a resource to help underrepresented students be successful in college, and subsequently, be successful in their future careers. Through the renewal of a grant relationship with Geico, DEAP has been able to continue helping students.
Cory Clark, the current director of DEAP, explained that since the establishment of the partnership with Geico last year, they have worked to improve engagement with juniors and seniors through the Career ConNEXTions tier and other programs. With the renewal of the grant, Clark hopes to introduce DEAP freshmen and sophomores to Geico. “This year with our conversations, we want to be able to expose Geico to all of our students, so that by the time they get to the junior or senior year they are way more familiar with the Geico representatives, and also what Geico has to offer, such as internship programs, summer programs, and things of that nature,” Clark said.
One student already impacted by the partnership is Taheed Moore, who had the opportunity to present a pitch to a panel of judges from both Geico and DEAP. Moore won a scholarship for his personal business idea and expressed gratitude for the opportunity. He also explained the importance of the partnership for himself and other students. “In order to foster success, we need resources to propel ourselves forward as young college students and business leaders of the future,” Moore said. “We are going to be the ones making the changes in the future, we are the future. So, it’s imperative that businesses and organizations like Geico invest their resources into students.”
Eric Williams, senior executive director of the Educational Equity Programs (EEP) and previous director of DEAP, discussed the importance of the partnership with Geico. He expressed that the Geico partnership and others like it are essential to the success of DEAP and the students involved. “We provide students with opportunities to meet alumni, and also professionals from the Indianapolis area, people from potential careers that the students may be interested in pursuing,” Williams said. “Geico’s partnership with this event really helps with things such as having money for hospitality, so that the students, as well as the professional guests, have opportunities to have networking time.”
The Geico representatives who are working with DEAP have made a clear effort to create a close and collaborative relationship throughout the course of the partnership. One of these representatives is Nicoya Parker, a diversity recruiter at Geico. Parker discussed the importance of supporting diverse groups of students, explaining that Geico’s goal is to connect with these students and provide them with professional development opportunities so that they can succeed. “We take pride in partnering with diverse organizations such as DEAP,” Parker said. “We hope to lead by example by promoting diversity through our partnership and offering opportunities to underrepresented individuals at IUPUI and within the Indianapolis community.”
The grant relationship between Geico and DEAP was originally proposed by a Geico representative, who was an IUPUI and DEAP alum who served as a peer mentor through DEAP. Both Williams and Clark expressed their gratitude toward this alumni member for working to help future DEAP students.
“I’ve always believed that the best recruitment tool is a positive experience,” Clark said. “When you have a positive experience, you want to tell people about that and share it with the world. I’m just so thankful that a student felt that DEAP had impacted her in a way that she wanted to be able to expand this in another way and expose Geico to what we’re doing, which opens their eyes to what potentially we may be able to do together.”
With the support from Geico, DEAP has been able to implement new programs and opportunities for their students, such as the senior brunch and Career ConNEXTions. Geico has also helped DEAP present networking opportunities to their students, giving them an opportunity to work closely with and learn from Geico representatives.
“I’m really thankful to all the people that were involved in the process, and I just want to continue the great work,” Clark said. “All we want to do is positively impact our students as they try to achieve their goals. I’m really excited to see where it’s going; it has been a really positive experience thus far.”
The Career ConNEXTions networking night, sponsored by Geico and hosted by DEAP, took place on November 3, 6–8 p.m. Students had the opportunity to network with professionals and engage in conversation with their peers.