Virginia Commonwealth University student Angel Lee took a chance and it paid off. She spent six weeks in Plano, Texas, at JPMorgan Chase & Co as a summer intern.
Lee is a junior information systems major in the School of Business. She grew up in North Chesterfield, Virginia, and has an interest in data science. But she is still unsure of a career direction.
“To be honest, I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up, but I know now that I am on a path to figure that out,” Lee said.
In the spring, she learned about both the Advancing Black Pathways Fellowship at JPMorgan and the new VCU Internship Funding Program that provides financial assistance for summer internships. The program is part of VCU’s focus on experiential learning.
The Advancing Black Pathways Fellowship is a six-week program and is designed to give underrepresented groups a pathway to opportunities in the financial sector. The program focuses on building general business skills and exposes participants to various areas of the financial industry.
While the program was paid, Lee was required to pay for housing that was provided at a JPMorgan corporate housing unit. She received $4,000 from the VCU program, which she said was vital for her to be able to participate in the fellowship.
“Texas is very expensive and not having to pay for my housing helped me so much,” Lee said. “They helped me invest in myself and have an experience that I never thought I would have.”
Lee said she learned several valuable lessons from the program. First, she realized that she does not like marketing or corporate finance, but she does enjoy data analysis. She enjoys working with large data sets and trying to make sense of the information.
She also learned that her mentors during the fellowship wanted her to be herself and not pretend to be somebody else. Lee said she wore a business suit but added some flair.
“I really got to be myself,” Lee said. “I was able to bring my full self to the table. I learned that companies do not want a person that you created. They don’t want what you think they want. They want you and your authentic self. They want the vibrant colors that you wear. They want all your personality.”
The experience was life changing. She was able to spend time in another state and meet interesting people. She learned new skills and developed friendships. She was glad that she applied even though she never thought that she would get accepted. The experience went so well that JPMorgan asked her to apply for a future internship with the company.
“I just said, ‘Let me take a chance on myself,’ and I did it,” Lee said. “In the process, I learned a whole lot of professional development and a lot about myself.”
Subscribe to VCU News
Subscribe to VCU News at newsletter.vcu.edu and receive a selection of stories, videos, photos, news clips and event listings in your inbox.