Two Forest Hills students have returned home from the 2019 Student Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., where they had the opportunity to connect with nearly 300 peers from around the country and meet with members of Congress as part of the Bank of America Student Leaders program.
Graduating high school seniors Stacey Xue and Nicole Rozelman, both 18, are among a group of five local New York City students selected to participate in the program to build their workforce and leadership skills through paid summer internships at local nonprofit organizations. During the summit, the students cultivated advocacy and leadership skills, in addition to discussing civil rights, the value of cross-sector partnerships, and participating in a service learning project at the American Red Cross.
Since its inception 15 years ago, the Bank of America Student Leaders program has recognized 80 local New York City Student Leaders, helping them chart a path for success through work experience and workforce development opportunities.
“Bank of America Student Leaders is truly a unique program,” said Connie Verducci, market executive for Bank of America in New York City. “Combining a paid internship with skills-building and community service is a game-changer for the participating students. The program is just one of the ways we invest in connecting individuals to the training and experience necessary to help fuel social progress.”
Through their involvement in the program, nearly 3,500 young people from across the country have gained skills and workforce experience since 2004. The bank is supporting a total of 145 students in New York City this summer as part of the company’s broader commitment to youth workforce development.
Xue, a recent graduate of Stuyvesant High School and a University of Notre Dame rising freshman, is currently interning at the DREAM Charter School, a nonprofit organization in East Harlem that addresses greater needs in education, such as high school graduation rates and low literacy, through after-school and summer enrichment.
For Xue, the program has been extremely rewarding and transformative, she said.
“From my internship at DREAM where I’m a part of a team who helps disadvantaged children achieve long-term success, to the Leadership Summit in D.C. where I met other Student Leaders from across the nation and networked with leaders in business and government, this summer has helped prepare me for college, introduced me to better money habits and has given me the leadership skills and tools to make an impact in the community,” Xue said.
Xue’s experience has taught her the importance of enriching the minds of the future generation and creative, effective methods that can be used to bring improvements to the education system.
Rozelman, a recent graduate of Hunter College High School who is heading to Harvard University in the fall, wanted to remain active in her community lending a helping hand. She is currently interning at the YMCA of Greater New York.
“I hoped to learn as much as possible, both by spearheading my own initiatives based on my time as an intern and by sitting in on team planning and strategy meetings,” Rozelman said. “I have gotten to enhance my professional skills through personal branding and recruiting workshops run by Bank of America, and blended this training both with my practical work experience and the broader perspective on serving, inspiring, and changing that I developed in D.C.”
This summer, Bank of America is investing more than $4 million to support nearly 3,000 summer jobs for teens across the country through various initiatives, with a particular focus on young people from low-income families.
Together, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo have partnered to launch FinTech Focus, a new immersive program administered by Upperline Code, which is dedicated to empowering students from diverse and underserved backgrounds to obtain college degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Since 2017, Bank of America has worked in collaboration with Girls Who Code to support a summer immersion computer science initiative for high school-aged girls, with 20 New York City students currently enrolled in the program.
Additionally, in partnership with the New York City Department of Education, Bank of America funds the Career and Technical Education Summer Scholars program, which currently offers hands-on summer learning opportunities to 100 New York City high school juniors and seniors.
And through the Financial Center Internship Program, Bank of America offers low-income young adults opportunities to develop key professional skills and prepares them for a future in a financial center environment. The program presently features 20 local New York City students.
Lastly, Bank of America also provides information and tools to help young adults learn about careers and personal finance through Better Money Habits®, its financial wellness and education platform.