Northwood High School rising seniors, Arturo Carmona and Kyla White spent their summer interning with Diversity and Multicultural Affairs through the Upward Bound program at UNC. Actively engaged in school clubs and organizations, this was their first professional experience. Each year, UNC’s Upward Bound program welcomes high school students from traditionally underrepresented low-income and first generation communities ranging from rising 9th graders to rising seniors. The program offers a tiered experience where rising 10th and 11th graders participate in the Pre-Bridge program; graduating seniors who have been admitted to UNC participate in a six-week Summer Bridge experience and rising seniors like Carmona and White are placed in an internship program.
This year 8 interns had the unique opportunity to intern at UNC. Placements include Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, University Development, UNC Athletics, Carolina Leadership Development, Career Services and UNC Global among others. “Participating in such programs and experiences are important because they teach life lessons and prepare students like me for what living in the real world will be like.” says Carmona, who was introduced to Upward Bound through a cousin who participated in the program and is currently a sophomore at UNC Pembroke. “She said it would be a good fit for me and I decided to apply, I am glad I did it.” This is the second year that DMA has hosted interns from Upward Bound in their office. Whether business, law, gaming or media; the program is designed to match student interest with the departments where they are placed. “The internship looks to give raising seniors insight into their future careers and eventually aid with college applications.” says Donald Livingston who serves as the academic advisor of Upward Bound.
White entered the program being undecided about her future and spent her summer interning with the Director of Inclusive Student Excellence, Ada Wilson Suitt, J.D. She had the opportunity to develop research skills through exploring issues related to minority male and first generation student success and retention in Higher Education. Additionally, White practiced her public speaking skills by presenting her findings to staff members and tried her hand at legal matters- researching and drafting a liability waiver for DMA’s Achieving Carolina Excellence Field Day. In her last week of the internship White reflected, “My internship has conjured a new interest in law for me. I am excited in a bright new possibility – studying law is a possibility for me.”
While in DMA, Carmona made some important connections. Interested in in graphic design or computer science, he spent part of his internship taking an introductory course in Photoshop with Dr. Spencer Barnes at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Carmona was also part of a diversity education design project where he had weekly meetings, assisted with diversity educations trainings, and observing new student orientation sessions facilitated by Interactive Theatre Carolina and DMA. In his final week, he was provided with a resource list – tips, and online resources to increase his competencies and skills in design and to develop a competitive college application.
At the culmination of this internship experience Carmona had some advice for high school students who aspire to college:
“Open yourself and explore your choices. Don’t just blindly follow a career path that could inevitably leave you unhappy. Instead, continue to adventure, search for better opportunities, keep pushing forward, and climb to greater heights until you’ve truly found something you can stick with for the rest of your life that makes you happy and, to never give up on your dream.“
Upward Bound at UNC, a federal TRiO Program is a part of the Office of the Provost and has existed on Carolina’s campus since 1966. The program serves six area high schools. From Durham county- Hillside Tech High school and Southern High School; from Chatham county – Northwood High School, Jordan Matthews and Chatham Central High School and from Lee county – Lee Senior High School.
For more information on Diversity and Multicultural Affairs visit, diversity.unc.edu