We sat down with Genesys Works Twin Cities 2019 alumna and former ThreeBridge intern and current Target intern Karen Vuong to see how her transition from high school to college is going and what she’s been up to. Last month, Karen participated in the Hennepin Theatre Trust Instagram takeover in partnership with Bank of America and Genesys Works.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your college journey?

Karen Vuong: I am a freshman at the University of St. Thomas. I applied to about 16 schools my senior year of high school and I really wanted to go to a school in southern California or at least some part of California. However, when it came down to make a decision and decide where I wanted to put down an enrollment deposit, I had to make a choice that was not only for my best interest but my parents as well. After a long talk with my parents, we all decided that St. Thomas would be the best choice due to finances and location. It was more convenient for my family for me to attend a university nearby and UST had what I was looking for in a university such as a strong business school, good reputation and a medium sized community.

Q: How did your experience at Genesys Works influence your summer internship at Hennepin Theatre Trust?

KV: My experience at GW really helped me stand out on my application for the Bank of America student leaders program. I didn’t know a lot of people my age at that time who had corporate internships while being high school students. These opportunities at GW helped me gain a competitive edge against other applicants for the program. It was also Genesys Works that first introduced me to the summer internship opportunity at Hennepin Theatre Trust (HTT). The Bank of America student leaders program had an emphasis on being a civic minded leader and that immediately caught my interest, and pushed me towards the internship at HTT.

Q: What are you passionate about?

KV: I am passionate about creating social change that will mark an impact on our society and culture. I am unsure as to when I will fully see this desire play out but I like to believe that in the midst of my education and career, I will do my part in advancing social change where it is needed. In whatever it may look like. I know my current studies and career aspirations don’t exactly match the ‘social change’ field but I believe that no matter what industry one is working in, anyone who is truly passionate about advancing society for the common good will be able to use their individual skills and resources that they have acquired to do what is needed and right for our community and world. For me, this means using technology and the booming force of the 21st century to speak up about what matters and move our climate into a more equal, just and humane environment for all. One of my favorite quotes that I would like to include is from a commencement speech that Viola Davis gave, “That living life for something bigger than yourself is a hero’s journey.”

Q: What are you studying? Why did you choose that?

KV: I am currently a business admin/entrepreneurship major but am thinking of switching to computer science. I have always wanted to work in the business field because I have known entrepreneurship within my family and have always had the natural entrepreneurial spirit. As a kid, I always liked venturing into new aspects of life on my own and starting things for myself. I am a natural leader with a sense of self-drive and ambition. I felt that business could take me on a limitless journey to grow who I was as a person through my work.

Q: What career do you envision yourself thriving in?

KV: A career composed of both growth and impact will help me thrive. Whether it be in the tech industry or corporate America, I want to be able to do fulfilling work in my industry and company but also be able to grow in my career. So, that means leadership roles in the company or being able to speak at events on issues that matter most to me and having room to fulfill my dreams and aspirations of what I want to ultimately become. Although this may sound a bit broad, I know that whatever role I will be working in, I want to be a changemaker for those in my community and don’t want to just let my role define who I am as a person or my potential.

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