SIUE Grad student receives GA position from TREX

Applied Communication student Jessica Herman has received a graduate assistantship (GA) from St. Louis incubator for startup companies called Technology @ Railways Exchange (T-REX). The name itself was inspired by its original location for Technology at Railway Exchange before moving onto the thriving Washington Ave.

Herman, a first semester graduate student, is working for T-REX, as a public relations liaison, a connection she received through SIUE. Herman explains Applied Communications Studies graduate director, Dr. Min Liu, recommended her for the position. Herman’s work is project driven for event planning and press releases, but she also is a friendly face to greet guests. As such, she helps with public relations, meetings, giving tours of the building, and communication.

To explain what T-REX is and does, Herman says it is an incubator for startup technology companies. As such, it offers discounted office space for rent on a monthly basis. She says there are currently 185 companies operating within the building, including entrepreneur support organizations, such as: MO-SBDC (Missouri Small Business Development Center), ITEN-IT Entrepreneur Network,  SixThirty, Cultivation Capital, NFTE (Networking for Teaching Entrepreneurship), Prosper, Stadia Ventures Veteran Business Resources Center (VBRC), and many more. Once the companies are on their feet, they graduate from T-REX and expand into their own space. T-REX helps these companies to succeed by utilizing a “pay information back, in order to pay information forward,” mentoring  type of service says Herman.

Explaining the structure of the site, Herman says there are conference rooms on the 5th floor, which also includes an open kitchen and game room. The 5th floor is part of T-REX’s success, as people use it for networking with contacts while grabbing coffee, holding meetings for their companies, and attending events, such as One Million Cups every Wednesday morning. Additionally, there is a co-working area that can be used for a day pass as a “try before you buy” philosophy. Here, entrepreneurs work among each other in an open-concept setting, which includes a couch and TV for downtime in between the innovative idea-makings.

Established in 2011, T-REX is currently focused on application development and cyber security events. This focus helps pivot St. Louis as a viable contender in the tech world, while simultaneously boosting the regional economy. SIUE, in addition to other universities in the St. Louis area, sponsors T-REX. Herman explains that SIUE’s sponsorship of T-REX is surprisingly not a Southern Illinois University project as a whole, meaning SIUC does not also sponsor T-REX.

There are currently 50 slots available for university membership, which includes a work space, option to reserve conference rooms, and receiving the T-REX newsletter to stay apprised of upcoming events. To enroll, contact the T-REX front desk at 314-241-7500 or email kathleen@downtowntrex.org Also, on Wednesdays after 3 pm, potential members receive a tour of the eight-floor facility that is filled with plenty of natural light, colorful rooms, and, best of all, inviting people. Come see for yourself.t-rex_logo-stacked-e1465226769529

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