Diverse, high-achieving teens from across the country studied business, met executives and pitched startup plans in July 2014 during a two-week residence at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.
The annual program, called Leadership, Education and Development (LEAD), helps incoming high school seniors prepare for college and explore career options.
“LEAD has been a huge wakeup call for me,” said Skylar Rae Tucker, a LEAD participant from New Jersey. “LEAD taught me that no matter what your dream is, you can achieve it through hard work and focus.”
Yuejay Reeves, a LEAD participant from Washington, D.C., said that when he was younger, he dreamed about playing football in the NFL. But LEAD opened his mind to career possibilities in finance. “I want to become an investment banker,” he said. “And LEAD has helped enforce that.”
Participants studied core business topics with Smith professors, including Dean Alex Triantis, and met corporate leaders during site visits to Google, NFL, PWC and Baltimore Gas and Electric. They also developed teamwork on a ropes course, attended a Broadway musical in New York, and studied life skills such as public speaking and dining etiquette.
The experience culminated with a business pitch competition on July 25, where teams laid out their ideas for new products and services. Lauren Brown, a participant from Florida, helped her team design a disposable cup with a scratchable surface — similar to a lottery ticket — allowing people to mark their names on the side.
“LEAD taught me how to speak more confidently in front of others and strengthen my networking skills,” Brown said.
To apply for the 2015 course or learn more, contact LEAD program director Jeanette Snider at firstname.lastname@example.org.