Reflections From a Former Student Teller

I still remember the day- April 8, 1993- when my future changed and the Panther Student Branch of Rogue (Federal) Credit Union opened at South Medford High School.  It was the very first credit union student branch to be opened in Oregon and was cause for a lot of attention.  The media was there interviewing Rogue’s CEO, Vern Arnold, while Medford’s Mayor, students, and teachers were all crowded in the halls to see what was going on.  The reason all of us were there was because high school student Jason Lukaszewicz had decided to partner with Rogue to open the branch for his senior project, and I had been selected as one of four student tellers to help run the branch. 

In my junior year of high school, I was taking my second year of Accounting when I was approached by my teacher to let me know of an opportunity she thought I might be interested in.  I was apprehensive at first, I already had a job and was not sure what it meant to be a Student Teller.  I did not even understand what a credit union was at the time.  However, I decided to pursue the opportunity.  I was told that I would need to have my résumé together and that an interview would be scheduled for me.  At 16 years old I was only about five months into my first job and had almost no experience being interviewed.  By the time I walked into the administration building on Stewart Avenue, my palms were sweating and I was questioning if I was making the right decision.  I was interviewed by Vicki Smith, Vice President of Operations, who did not hold back in her line of questioning.  By the time I left her office an hour later, I was certain I was not going to be selected.  Surprisingly, just a few days later I received the good news that they were offering me a position.  I spent a month training in the branch after school and the entire week of Spring Break learning how to process transactions, open memberships, and provide exceptional service. 

I wish I could say that I have worked for Rogue the past 23 years, but in 2004 I chose to leave the credit union to attend school out of state.  After graduating with my Bachelor’s degree in Education I moved back to Oregon and immediately came back to work for Rogue, feeling like I had finally come home.  Throughout my career at Rogue I have worked in the branch as a Teller, in our ATM/Visa Department, Human Resources, and have spent the last seven years in the Training Department.  I was just recently promoted to Training Manager. 

The Student Branch Program gave me the opportunity to pursue a career path I would have never thought about otherwise.  I have grown up at Rogue and working here has taught me more than just how to be an employee; I have learned how to be a better person.  I am much more passionate about volunteering in our community because of all the wonderful opportunities I have had over the years.  Rogue has taught me how doing the right thing is always the right decision.  I am proud to work for Rogue and am fortunate that they decided to partner with Jason to open the Panther Student Branch, because I cannot imagine working anywhere else.

Rogue currently has five student branches: Panther Branch at South Medford, Grizzly Branch at Ashland, Eagles Branch at Eagle Point, Tornado Branch at North Medford, and Bruin Branch at Brookings-Harbor High School.  Rogue employs 20 high school students who work in their Student Branch during lunches.  Students apply for, are interviewed, and are hired just like any other employee.  Besides serving students and teachers in their school branch, they have the opportunity to work in Rogue’s branches after school and on weekends.  As students graduate, some choose to apply for regular positions within the Credit Union.  Besides Melody, Rogue currently has 22 former student tellers on staff in a variety of positions and departments!