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Campus Highlights: Capstone Celebrations!

Step Up teens have been gathering for our end of year Capstone celebrations! These events are the final meeting for our 9-week Step Up programing on high school campuses and allow teens to showcase all they have learned with faculty and Step Up mentors. Teens from Walter Payton in Chicago, The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria in NYC, and Stratford STEM Magnet High School in Nashville (pictured below) came together in small groups to talk about their portfolios and share their favorite takeaways from the semester. Thank you to all of our fellows for putting on these impactful Capstones!

TYWLS Astoria Teens - New YorkTYWLS Astoria Teens - New York
Stratford STEM Teens - NashvilleStratford STEM Teens - Nashville

Explore Pathways: Ulta Beauty Hosts Argo High School for Explore Pathways

On Thursday, April 20, Ulta Beauty hosted an Explore Pathways career exploration program with Step Up teens from Argo High School in Chicago. The program was held at Ulta's Corporate Headquarters in Bolingbrook, Illinois. 25 teens + 25 Ulta Beauty mentors gathered to explore careers at Ulta, and participated in an activity that guided them through a real-life example of an Ulta marketing meeting.

Teens at Ulta BeautyTeens at Ulta Beauty
Teens with Ulta Beauty mentorsTeens with Ulta Beauty mentors
Teens at Ulta Beauty

Meet the Fellows From Two More of our Step Up Schools:

Name: Taylor Faiella

School: The Young Women's Leadership School of Astoria, New York

Role: School Social Worker

Years at school: 1.5

SU: Why do you think Step Up on Campus is a good fit for TYWLS-Astoria?

TF: Step Up is a good fit for TYWLS of Astoria because as a single gender school, we are already connected with many motivated young people who are looking to explore different career paths. In addition, Step Up has been a vital program for some of our recent graduates and many of them have attributed their knowledge of diverse career fields to Step Up.

SU: Why did you decide to become a fellow?

TF: Before I became a school social worker, I interned for an organization called Crafting Your Path. That organization's mission was to help women quiet down external noise between the "should dos" and help them identify how to listen to their true desires and live more authentically. Through our research, we found that many women were working in careers they found themselves in because they listened to what society, friends, or family thought they "should do,", which led them to bury their true career aspirations. Our work was to help them peel back the layers of their identity to assist them in finding their true career path. I loved working with this organization! All that to say, I wanted to work as a Step Up fellow so that I could help even younger students start to explore their own career paths early. I saw this as a chance to help young people explore and discover potential career paths that they didn't even know existed until having an opportunity to be exposed to them.

SU: What do you enjoy most about being a fellow?

TF: I enjoy having deep conversations with my students about their aspirations, motivations, and inspirations when it comes to their future career. I also enjoy when a student discovers a new career that they never even knew existed and now they feel excited about the potential of taking that path.

SU: How did you recruit students for the program?

TF: We recruited a few different ways. First, we had our student ambassador - who has completed years of the Step Up program - go into high school advisory classes and share her experience in the program. Then, we had two interest parties;, both parties offered food as well as space and time to complete the Step Up sign up form. Students love free food! We also put flyers around the school. Lastly, I sent 5 email blasts to all high school students.

SU: What is one highlight from your sessions?

TF: Our Step Up liaison, Hollis, organized an amazing trip to the LinkedIn headquarters which is in the Empire State Building. That was my first time ever going to the Empire State Building, and I know it was also some of my students' first time being there. It was so interesting to see LinkedIn's office there as well. Our students were all so amazed and grateful to have had the opportunity to speak with all different professionals from such diverse departments within LinkedIn.

Name: Janique N. Robinson

School: Uplift Wisdom, Dallas

Role: Assistant Principal/Dean of College Prep

Years at school: 2

SU: Why do you think Step Up on Campus is a good fit for Uplift-Wisdom?

JR: At Wisdom, managing college and careers department, it was important to provide our students with access to additional exposure to careers with a robust curriculum, opportunities to collaborate with other young ladies outside of the classroom, and a space to build a safe and learning community.

SU: Why did you decide to become a fellow?

JR: As an educator, a mentor and founder of a mentoring program, I love what Step-Up represents and the career exposure that it provides to young ladies. As a campus leader, I'm also able to see first-hand what students need and things they're afraid to share with others, so I wanted to show scholars that women in my position or higher initially started off learning everything they know now and help them learn about careers from the basics to a capstone project in a community setting.

SU: What do you enjoy most about being a fellow?

JN: I enjoyed seeing the young ladies share their thoughts in a safe space and build community among each other.

SU: How did you recruit students for the program?

JN: I recruited students by making announcements at lunch and during advisory time, speaking 1:1 or in groups with students about the program and talking with teachers about the program so they can share information about the program with scholars.

SU: What is one highlight from your sessions?

JN: During the beginning of the session, there was a check-in. The majority of the students said they were stressed, and different things bothered them. Instead of moving directly into the presentation, I pivoted and gave the students a space to share the things that were stressing them out and we talked about solutions and stress strategies. By doing that, the students felt heard, relaxed and ready to start the lesson for that session with a clear mind.

SU: Anything else you want to share with our school partners around the country?

JR: StepUp is a great program that provides career exposure to students. If given an opportunity to support StepUp, you're making a difference in the lives of our future leaders.

Career Camp Applications are Live!

Our free, virtual 3-week camp this July exposes students to companies like PepsiCo, Benefit Cosmetics, LinkedIn, Comcast NBCUniversal, Google, and more. Students can put their summer days to work, helping them jumpstart the career of their dreams! Students can visit our webpage here to learn more and apply.

Do You Have News to Share About Step Up on Your Campus?

Contact Director of Community Engagement, Maya Menon:

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