Every year, the Fulfillment Fund serves over 2,700 students in economically and educationally under-resourced communities. Of these students, up to 96% plan to enroll in college, compared to the national average of 50%. But the transition from high school to college is not always easy – what happens after they have been accepted?
To help students understand what it takes to be successful in and after college, and provide information about scholarships and internships, the Fulfillment Fund held its 5th Annual Fulfillment Fund University at California Science Center on June 30, 2017. The daylong event was aimed at graduating seniors, incoming freshmen, as well as transfer scholars, many of whom will be, and are, the first in their families to attend college. In addition to addressing the transition from high school to college, the college preparation workshops focused on helping student understand the different loans, financial aid, and scholarships available, and the importance of obtaining internships and networking.
We are extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in Fulfillment Fund University, and to have been a part of Fulfillment Fund’s mission to help make college a reality for these students.
Lindy Huang Werges
Our Founder and Principal Lindy Huang Werges had the pleasure of sharing her experiences and advice on behalf of the Scholar Bridge Board, which oversees the Scholar Bridge Network, a diverse and active group of professionals, entrepreneurs, executives, mentors, and organizations dedicated to the post-graduation development and success of Fulfillment Fund Scholars.
“The important thing is to start early,” said Lindy. “Many people only begin learning how to network and look for internships after they have graduated, and that’s too late. Network throughout your time at college – don’t waste four years. Everything you do in college will affect your career, so make sure you have an advantage over other applicants.”
She urged Fulfillment Fund scholars to take advantage of the Scholar Bridge Network, an invaluable resource through which they can learn how to interview and follow up, attend career expos, workshops, and open houses at corporations, find internship opportunities, tap into various networks, and meet individuals who can help advance their careers. “It is up to you to reach out to them, meet for coffee, and make a connection,” she continued. “Even if the person you meet isn’t in the industry you are interested in, you never know who they know, and who they can introduce you to. If they know you, they will be an advocate for you. Remember: people like to do business with people they know and like.”
As a Fulfillment Fund Scholar as well as a Gates Foundation Scholar, Jessica shared, “I did not know what to do back in college. I’ve always been interested in film, so I was thinking maybe I’d go into the entertainment industry.” Having interned at Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and The Walt Disney Company, which led to full-time positions at Universal Pictures and Lionsgate Entertainment, she can well attest to the importance of internships and thinking about one’s career early in college. “Don’t be discouraged if your internship is entry level or unpaid – you still learn a lot of skills, and you never know who you’re going to meet,” she encouraged the students. “At Scholar Bridge, people are there to help you, so take advantage of that.”
A Fulfillment Fund Scholar and recent graduate from Davidson College, Michelle shared how the Fulfillment Fund and its extensive networks have helped her professionally. “It was through the Fulfillment Fund that I got the Accounting Internship at Integritas Resources,” she said. “Don’t underestimate internships; we assume they are only for the summer, but they are often extended. Mine has become a full-time job, and I’ve been at this position for two years now.”
To view the complete event gallery, please click here.