R(EAC)T: Reflection Thus Far

Working with the Economic Awareness Council (EAC) has given me exposure to a wide range of professionals. Going all over Chicago to give financial literacy presentations, I have worked with bankers, artists, museum directors, etc. Towards pursuing an Economics B.A. degree, I’ve always been anxious at having an unclear idea of a future career path. But from meeting professionals who frequently adjusted their own routes, they’ve further taught me what’s important: having versatile experiences that allow me to expand my perspectives. Some of these experiences happen in the office as well, when guest speakers are brought in to share their own stories/opportunities. Recently, I learned a lot about the Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) Program when the Chairman and a Director from CFA Chicago came out to talk with us. The credential, offered to financial and investment professionals through a series of exams, is something that I could really be interested in pursuing later on.

One of the learning goals for this internship is to improve my public speaking and presentation skills. So, I would review the materials and practice before mustering up the courage to stand up and face the students. But as I did this a couple times, I realized that I needed to adjust this goal I previously made. It’s not difficult to memorize a bunch of information and regurgitate it to an audience. It takes much more to establish a genuine connection with those you’re speaking to. In order to convey the importance of the knowledge imparted, I started to place less of an emphasis on not stumbling or hesitating and more on actually ensuring that students understood and cared about the material. This way, I found that confidence comes naturally because I’m able to establish one-on-one relationships that allow me to communicate on a personal level.

Amy J_EAC

Upon reflection, these experiences do more than just expose me to a variety of career possibilities and get me thinking about my own path. They furthermore help me realize what I want to be doing regardless of my future career. Having interacted with so many active community members who are eager to help in whatever way they can, I find that their willingness to give is what makes initiatives like ours attainable. This summer internship experience is further helping me see that I strongly value community and youth outreach. Whichever sector and whatever company I may end up working in, I want to instill the importance of education by taking time to reach out to local communities and finding ways to learn from each other. Taking moments to truly reflect on an experience can give you so much. Not often do I consciously remember to do so when bombarded with exams and papers, but I am glad to have the chance this summer.

Written by Amy Jin BC Class of 2018

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Empowerment Through Education

Growing up in Chicago gives me multifaceted experiences that continuously help to shape my perspective on inner-city issues surrounding education and social justice. Being surrounded by so much diversity helps me to see not only my own privilege, but also the lack thereof in many nearby communities. In a city with surging murder rates and corrupt political agendas, I see education as the best way towards betterment.

The passion that has grown within me led me to an interest in the study of economics, a branch of (arguably) science that deals with the distribution of resources- exactly the longstanding problem that Chicago faces. I was fortunate enough to find an internship with the Economic Awareness Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to preparing students and their families for the financial decisions they make. They address the real needs of communities by creating tangible programs and initiatives that give youth access to economic resources. The importance in the work they do not only come from the fact that they are supplying inner-city students with legitimate resources, but also from that the EAC is fostering a sense of control and empowerment. This sense of empowerment goes a long way into helping youth recognize their own potential and find their driving motivation.

This summer, I will be working directly alongside the executive director on many different projects. First and foremost, I will be leading a group of high school interns that will be going all over the city to give presentations on financial literacy. [Since public high school is still in session, I won’t start working with them until in a week or so.] These presentations are given to young City of Chicago interns/employees who, for the most part, work in low-income neighborhoods. As the EAC partners with many local banks, bank representatives will come out to each presentation to teach youth about direct deposit, and give them access to open non-custodial free accounts with low minimums and no overdraft fees. Needless to say, the importance of being financially aware and independent is crucial to youths regardless of what they wish to pursue in the future. The EAC does a good job in recognizing that it’s necessary to reach out to students in more ways than just passing out pamphlets- there should be real life stories told by peers who allow other youth to connect and relate back. Through the hard skills I’ve learned through economic and business courses, I’m able to create learning and teaching material, as well as compile other relevant financial information for websites and databases. Boston College has taught me people skills and other soft skills that allow me to work efficiently with youth organizations and banks, as well as prepared me to lead a group of students towards a common mission. Most importantly, the Jesuit ideals that are upheld at BC has instilled in me a sense of duty to not only educate myself but others as well.

Written by Amy Jin, BC Class of 2018