Rachael Duriez is a graduating senior at CSUN. She’ll be walking across the stage at Commencement this spring to receive her bachelor’s degree in finance from CSUN’s David Nazarian College of Business and Economics. She runs Division I track and cross country for the Matadors. She commutes from Palmdale. She loves the outdoors and scrapbooking. You may never have heard her name, but you may have heard her voice. As a student employee of the CSUN Call Center, Duriez calls hundreds of alumni during each evening shift to help raise scholarship funds for the university — and to hear about their Matador memories. When she started working in the call center in 2016, Duriez felt slightly embarrassed.
This was her first “real job,” and she felt greedy asking for money, she said. But as time passed — and she secured more pledges and donations from alumni — she opened up to talking more with the alumni about their lives. “My favorite experiences are talking to the people,” said Duriez, 22. “One of the first full, long conversations I had was with a lady who had a baby due that day, and she ended up giving. That made me realize that the job wasn’t as hard as I thought it was.” The call center helped Duriez in the short run as a way to make some extra money, but it also shaped her career path. After witnessing, and contributing to, the philanthropic work of the call center, Duriez said, she wants to use her finance degree to work at a nonprofit that helps foster children.
Her perspective on the job has changed immensely since those first call shifts, she added. “I want to connect with you, [the alumni],” she said. “The conversation doesn’t have to end with you giving money to the school, even though that would be nice. Everything comes back to the campus and helps people with their future careers — and if you’re successful, it’s because of CSUN. It was the starting point of your careers, and we should all feel grateful to the school in some way.”
By Alex Crooks