Three students from the Northeast were selected for paid summer internships through Bank of America’s Student Leaders Program and the Philadelphia Youth Network.
Daiana Espindola, a recent graduate of Nueva Esperanza Academy, Jing Lin, a rising senior at Northeast High School, and Jayla Turner, a rising senior at Tacony Academy Charter High School, were picked due to their outstanding academic achievements and dedication to improving their community and schools.
“Their resumes speak to the kind of rising juniors and seniors in high school,” Jim Dever, president of the greater Philadelphia Bank of America, said. “They are very civic-minded, have certainly excelled academically, and have shown an awful lot of leadership.”
The program started in 2004 and recognizes 300 juniors and seniors across the U.S. each year. It’s an eight-week, collaborative program where students will gain real-world experience to help them prepare for the workforce.
Their roles vary. Espindola is working on career development for youth. She writes biographies for speakers who come to talk to youth about career choices. Turner is working on the learning and development team on a project studying the GED process to improve the GED program. Lin is working on inputting and analyzing data in the development program.
The students selected have demonstrated their dedication to giving back to their communities in different ways. Espindola was a part of the National Honor Society and Casa Del Carmen, an organization that addresses food insecurity. Turner volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club, helping with homework, lunches and various other activities. Lin is a member of Asian Americans United and volunteers for holidays in her Chinese culture, and was president of her school’s Chinese Club.
All three students expressed excitement and disbelief at being chosen. None of them realized how much of an accomplishment this was at first. “I couldn’t even speak,” Espindola said. “I just kept saying thank you so much.”
“I was too excited [to be nervous],” Turner said. “I didn’t realize how big this internship was.”
Lin said she felt honored to be chosen as a participant. “I have this great opportunity to explore our community,” Lin said.
The students audited previous years of Student Leaders to find out how they can improve the project. The culmination of the internship was a virtual summit in partnership with the Close Up Foundation, a nonprofit whose goal is to “engage and inspire every person to find their voice and to help young people develop critical skills for tackling the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century,” according to their website.
The students participated in Stanford University’s Young Democracy at Home program, which encourages conversation about current issues facing young people today through the summit.
As for their futures, the girls have big plans. Espindola is going to Villanova University to study psychology and criminology. She wants to work for the FBI one day. “I want to make a future difference,” Espindola said. “I want to see criminals getting second chances, that’s the big thing I want to change.”
Turner is looking into colleges in North Carolina, Virginia and Delaware. “I want to be a political scientist, then I want to go to law school,” Turner said.
Lin is looking at Drexel University and Penn State. She wants to study business, more specifically marketing and management. “After the progress of the research, building and analyzing data, I will be able to communicate my skills,” Lin said. “I believe it will be very useful for my future.” ••