Julie Nguyen ’16 discovers passion for nonprofits, attends leadership summit in DC

Julie Nguyen ‘16 traveled to Washington, D.C., this summer as part of Bank of America’s Student Leaders program. Here, the NC group meets with Senators Burr and Tillis.

Julie Nguyen ‘16 spent the summer in Washington, D.C., as part of Bank of America’s Student Leaders program. While interning with the YMCA and participating in the leadership summit, she discovered a passion for nonprofit work that she hopes to translate into a career.

Nguyen was selected to participate in the immersive leadership development program in the spring after hearing about the program from a friend. Participants complete an internship in their home community. Nguyen, who lives in Durham, NC, completed her internship at the YMCA of the Triangle.

Participants also traveled to Washington, D.C., for a Student Leadership Summit, where they met with elected officials including Senators Richard Burr, Thom Tillis, and Bernie Sanders, and heard from guest speakers including nonprofit leaders, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, and advocates such as Wes Moore.

“I had an amazing summer with Bank of America,” Nguyen says. “The best part about participating in the Student Leaders Summit was meeting all of the other student leaders, and seeing Bernie Sanders on Capitol Hill,” she says. “All of the student leaders I met were bright and talented, and it was really inspiring to be around a group of people with such potential and drive to lead and change the world.”

Her internship at the YMCA corporate office in Raleigh showed Nguyen the importance and impact of non-profits. She gained wide-ranging experience in how a large nonprofit operates, learning more about the organization, participating in leadership and diversity training, and conducting research, studying ways to engage millennials with the YMCA. She also sat in on board meetings, worked with others ranging from marketing and communications specialists to business analysts and the Y’s executive team, and got out into the community as well.

“I had the opportunity to visit the Y’s branches and camps, so I got a comprehensive overview of the great work that the Y does in the community and how it sustains its operations,” Nguyen says. “I also spent the day at the NC State Legislature with the NC Alliance of YMCAs to learn about how the YMCA is involved in advocating for childhood obesity prevention and child safety.” Nguyen “would love to work with a nonprofit organization in the future,” she says, or find other ways to give back. “This program was sponsored by Bank of America’s charitable foundation, which I didn’t know existed, so I would also be interested in working for a large corporation that gives back to its community in a meaningful way and supports programs like this one.”

Nguyen hopes she is not the only Unicorn to benefit from this program. “I hope other NCSSM students have a chance to participate in this program,” she says. “This has been one of my best summers yet, and I didn’t expect to have such an eventful summer right after graduating.”

Nguyen is attending UNC-Chapel Hill this fall as a pre-med student majoring in public health. Her dream job? CEO of a nonprofit that works to improve public health.

Share this post.