Thank you, Dallas!

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As the fall comes to a close, so too does the 2017 AHS Leader Week season. From June to October, 117 Scholars traveled to Seattle, New York, Guatemala, and Dallas, participating in rigorous leadership training focused on instilling practical tools for success in college and the post-college world, and reflecting on how they can influence the world and make positive change.

Our final Leader Week of 2017 took place October 18-22 during the third annual Texas Leader Weekend in Dallas, where Scholars prepared for the workplace through career exploration, networking, and developing their professional skill-set. This experience will help Scholars build their careers and be leaders in their own communities, and it would not have been possible without the welcoming generosity of the Dallas community and local residents such as Ron Chapman, Jr. and Rita Garcia-Ransdell. Thank you to everyone who came out for Thursday night’s networking and fundraising event, Connect to Opportunity, and establishing connections with Scholars as talented, service-minded future leaders. Dallas businesses and non-profits opened their doors to host site visits for Scholars on Friday, where they gained an in-depth view of an organization’s culture, learned about job and internship opportunities, and connected with staff or HR personnel through informational interviews and resume reviews. Thank you to AHS Board Member, Arthur Hollingsworth from LoneStar Investment Advisors , Steve Shore from Bank of America , Alan Kajihara from Peterbilt Motors Company , and Joel Rothermel from CNM Connect for your hard work in organizing these visits and giving Scholars this incredible opportunity.

As one Scholar said, “I am confident leaving Texas with refined skills in making professional connections, largely due to engaging in mock interviews with employers. The professional experts were understanding of my needs and met me at an even level when providing me feedback and resources I can research when I return home.” Another Scholar reflected, “This weekend was incredible. The AHS program consistently reminds me of my ‘why.’ I used to get so burnt out because I was so focused on the day-to-day craziness of life, but now even though I am stressed, there is a sense of peace because I know my actions matter and are for the benefit of others as well as myself.” Read more about Scholars’ experience in Dallas in this week’s Hammie News Day , featuring Vincent Garcia (2012). Be sure and save the date for next year’s event, October 11-14 , where we look forward to continuing and strengthening our partnerships with those in the Dallas community. 

Vincent Garcia (2012)

Last month, 20 Scholars attended Texas Leader Weekend (TLW) in Dallas, engaging in professional development workshops, networking opportunities, and workplace site visits. Vincent Garcia (2012), reflects upon his TLW experience.

"Prior to attending TLW 2017, I was uncertain how I could pursue a career in software as a self-taught programmer with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. The company visit to Bank of America’s IT department, arranged by AHS, addressed my uncertainty by providing me exceptional advice through mock interviews. I personally do not like interviews given my history of social anxiety, however, the professionals from the IT department understood my needs while providing me with honest feedback. The key advice I took away from the company visit was that my resume is simply a ticket to an interview; beyond that point, I have to be comfortable sharing a story that illuminates who I am.

In addition to the career advice I gained from TLW, I realized my goals will change over time. During the first year of the program, AHS encourages Scholars to develop a personal development plan (PDP). The purpose of the PDP is to help us establish our values in leadership and attainable long-term goals throughout our undergraduate career and entrance in the workforce. The PDP is then revised prior to attending TLW so Scholars can reflect on their growth from their undergraduate experiences. I found that while my values have not changed, my goals have. TLW reassured me that I don’t have to feel anxious about my future and shifting goals because “the future is unpredictable, the past already happened, so now it is best to make the most of the present. Everyone is on a different timeline, you are not behind nor ahead, you are where you need to be.”

While I am open to the idea that my goals are subject to change, my current goal is to obtain a career in software development. AHS has provided me the confidence that I can achieve a fulfilling career in technology. Being reminded that I am cared for and that I have AHS’ social and professional support network at my disposal gives me the courage I need to pursue a career outside of my major.

AHS ensures that Scholars like me do not endure their undergraduate experience alone. Its continuously expanding national network allows Scholars to gain professional connections that are difficult to acquire in the post-college phase. By giving to AHS, supporters are strengthening a network that helps young leaders leave their legacies through civic engagement. Together, AHS and supporters provide hope despite the uncertainty of our future."

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