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Two Memphian entrepreneurs have been working on bridging the gap between high school students, universities, and potential employers by giving students a voice through a new social media platform, University Recruit Me.
In May of 2014 Steven Mizell, a higher education professional, met, then high school junior, Ethan Fox through a connection made by a counselor at Fox’s high school Lausanne Collegiate School. The two began a discussion that is still going on two-years later.
Since the site’s official launch in September 2015, the two-person discussion has grown into an eight-person team with Mizell and Fox leading the troupe as co-founders, with Fox also working as lead developer.
“University Recruit Me is a free tool to help high school students market and brand themselves to potential universities, employers, and volunteer employees,” said co-founder Steven Mizell. “It was created on the sole principal that the high school population didn’t have an avenue present themselves. They don’t have a venue to show themselves.”
The site exists almost as a social media based resume, where your accomplishments, grades, extracurricular activities, and references serve as the profile for potential employers and schools.
Student users won’t have the opportunity to directly message each other, nor can their profiles be searched for. However, users will have the ability to send their profile to whomever it may concern in a strictly professional format.
“Were building a smarter social media for kids. They will only be able to upload one picture, they can send out their information only if they want to, and people can’t search for them,” said Mizell. “Students also won’t be able to communicate with each other, that’s what Facebook and Twitter are for. We want them to keep their eyes on the prize on this website. This is a one-way street from the student to a future school, employer, or organization.”
The site has gained over 2,900 users in the past seven months since launch. The organization has seen students using the site from all over the city. The website is also nationally accessible. Mizell and his team hope to see the site grow over the next few years.
“We want this to impact every high school student in America. They’ll be able to use this tool freshman through senior year,” said Mizell. “Students will have a tool to track their high school career, send their profiles to potential employers throughout school, and eventually send their profiles to universities. We want to have a portal open where they can interact with employers and colleges. We want them to be talking to each other.”
Though the main purpose of the site is for college recruitment, Mizell said that this could be a very useful tool for students looking to get jobs throughout and after high school. He noted it’s hard for students to put together traditional resumes without any professional experience.
Along with being able to send out the link to your profile, the site also compiles all of the student’s information into a printable PDF resume. Merging high school students into the local workforce not only provides students with real-world experience, but can also benefit local business owners looking for eager employees looking who can grow with the company.
“When a kid walks into a business to get a job he doesn’t have anything to show them, or at least a format to,” said Mizell. “We feel like we can not only impact universities and colleges, but also help small businesses in Memphis, and across the country, tap into some of this local talent in high school and get this generation a head start into their careers and education.”
With over 130,000 students currently enrolled in Shelby County Schools alone, organizations like University Recruit Me could impact generations high school students for years.
Mizell and his team are excited for what this project can bring to high school students across the country, and in turn what those students can bring to the employers and universities.
“We have an awesome team working off sweat equity with a passion for education, a passion for Memphis, and a passion for helping this generation of students,” said Mizell. “We have been really working towards something without a guaranteed payoff, but lot of high school students in this city and country are doing great things and their stories are being untold. They deserve to have a voice, so that’s what we’re giving them.”