Solving the College Puzzle: One Employee's Story

educational advising

Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM) is known around the world for its dramatic buildings, such as New York's towering One World Trade Center. But the architectural design firm knows its success is really built on its employees' talents...and their ability to create.

"My team is tasked with providing services and benefits to these individuals so that they can deliver what they do - these incredible ideas and designs - without needing to worry so much about How am I going to take care of my children?'" said SOM's Chief Human Resource Officer Suzanne Pennasilico in a recent presentation.


Suzanne said she didn't appreciate the full power of that support until she saw an employee grappling with college admissions while overseas.

Ame Englehart was one of the firm's many people spread around the world. Already managing a demanding job while single parenting two teenaged boys, Ame was now tasked with helping her boys apply to U.S. colleges from their home on the other side of the planet. How, she wondered, could she help them?

Educational Advising:

"The advisor aspect of working with College Coach was really important," says Ame. "He really helped us look at options in terms of scholarships, in terms of opportunities to get other scholarships, [and] he explained very carefully to me the student loan process." This was especially important to Ame, who had lived across the globe for quite a few years and was unfamiliar with college admissions requirements.

A Great Experience:

"It's not just balancing your dreams for which great school to go to," says Ame. "It's making sure you can make those dreams come true." College Coach helps employees across the country, and around the world, work with their children to achieve those dreams.
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Written by: Ellen Oliver

March 15, 2021

About the Author

Ellen Oliver at Bright Horizons

As Director of B2B Marketing Programs, Ellen writes about talent management, employee engagement, and work/life balance trends. Ellen brings a wide perspective of human resource topics gained through working with industries from large engineering and construction firms, to government and academic organizations and nonprofits.