Student Leaders begin college after summer at Hennepin Theatre Trust

Bank of America 2019 Student Leaders Karen Vuong, Sabrina Egal, Khalid Qasim and Karina Isiordia pose with Sen. Tina Smith during their trip to Washington, D.C.

Karen Vuong, Sabrina Egal, Sen. Tina Smith, Khalid Qasim and Karina Isiordia

The four recent high school graduates who spent the summer learning and cultivating career skills at Hennepin Theatre Trust are all beginning their college journeys at area institutions this month. The students, participants of Bank of America’s national Student Leaders program, experienced hands-on lessons in communicating in a business setting, marketing, development, event planning and more. The goal of the program is to prepare a diverse pipeline of community-minded young students with the leadership training they need to be successful in the workforce.

Karina Isiordia graduated from Hopkins High School in the spring. She is now studying international relations at Hamline University. She spent the summer embedded with the Trust’s Placemaking and Public Art team, as they worked on projects aimed at transforming the places and spaces that make the Hennepin Theatre District a vibrant, welcoming place for all. She says her time with the Trust taught her about emotional intelligence and leadership.

“I learned that communication and collaboration is vital to execute a project, task or any event planning,” she shared. “The program immersed me in hands-on experience and gave me a high level of confidence going into college and beyond. I will definitely utilize a lot of the valuable lessons I learned at The Trust.”

Karen Vuong plans to study Business Administration and Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas. She spent the summer working with the Trust’s marketing team, but she knows the lessons she learned will directly apply to that career path.

“I have learned such a magnitude of what being civic-minded means and how it correlates with corporations and the business industry as a whole. I can confidently say that I will be a more civically engaged individual in my professional career and life.”

Sabrina Egal paid attention to the stories of the professionals she spent time with during the summer. She’s heading to the University of Minnesota to study political science and global affairs, but says she plans to keep her eye out for opportunities.

“What I learned from this opportunity is that it’s important to always be open minded,” said Sabrina. “You don’t have to follow one career path. I’ve met so many people that have taken different career paths who have ended up successful. It’s left me so inspired!”

The internship culminated with a week in Washington, D.C., with 225 peers from around the U.S. The students participated in a national leadership summit, focusing on skill building and creating a more civically engaged society. They had the opportunity to meet Sen. Tina Smith and other leaders.

Overall, the students say they are grateful. Khalid Qasim, who is now studying computer science at the University of Minnesota with big plans to advance into leadership roles in the technology field, called it an unimaginable opportunity.

“It has allowed me to expand my knowledge and professional network tremendously,” he said.

Learn more about the Bank of America Student Leaders program.