Wardell, business systems analyst, sr, Lease Accounting, Seattle

Bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies

Getting his college degree is “100 percent the best thing I’ve ever done,” asserted Wardell, who is traveling to Arizona to receive his diploma this week. “Second best,” he amended quickly, “after marrying my wife!”

Wardell had been working in Accounting at the Starbucks Support Center for over a year when he discovered the SCAP benefit. He had always meant to finish college but had not had the opportunity. He landed at Starbucks eight years ago after discovering that he had an affinity for accounting, and enrolled at ASU through SCAP a couple years later to deepen his knowledge. He is getting a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with a focus in data analytics and technical communication. All along the way, his studies have contributed to his experience in the workplace.

“I feel more confident in myself when it comes to knowledge in the theory behind things whereas before I had the experience, but I didn't really understand what I was doing,” he said. “Oh, man, I’ve learned so [much]. I mean, there were times where I would read my book, and then the next day, a problem would come up and I could apply it, ... The biggest unlock was when I was working on project management [in school]. And I was working on a project at the same time. And so being able to utilize some of the theory and the skills and the tools, I just boom! copied and pasted and used it at work the next day. 

“That was when it really clicked, when I realized, oh, this is gonna be a huge difference maker.” 

Getting a degree while holding down a full-time job is not for the faint of heart. In Wardell’s case, it took seven years for him to complete his studies. But the journey has proved as rewarding as the destination. 

“I would tell anybody – like, I would shout from the rafters – join SCAP if you do not have a college degree.” 

thumbnail for ‘By us and for us:’ New Starbucks merch inspired by LGBTQ+ community 

‘By us and for us:’ New Starbucks merch inspired by LGBTQ+ community