We sat down with Genesys Works Twin Cities 2015 alumna and former Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota intern and current Genesys Works operations intern Alicia Lee to see what she’s up been up to since completing the high school program four years ago. Spoiler alert: she’s been up to a lot of good things. Check it out!
Q: Can you tell us a little about your college journey?
Alicia Lee: I did not have the typical college experience. I started my college career at Inver Hills Community College and I eventually transferred to the University of Minnesota-Duluth. After a year and a half studying in Duluth and being my first time away from home, it became hard on my family so I decided to move back to the cities. I am now studying Human Resource Management at Metropolitan State University. When I reflect on my journey, I see it as an advantage because I have the experience of what it’s like to go to different types of colleges. I know what it’s like to study in small classes, I know how it feels to be in large lecture halls, and I know how it feels to be at a diverse college. I am also the first generation in my family to go to college and soon, in Fall 2020, I will be the first in my family to graduate college..
Q: What led you to choose a major in Human Resources? How did your high school internship help prepare you for a career in HR?
AL: My initial experience with Human Resources began during my participation as a Student Ambassador. We were reaching out to the juniors at my high school to join Genesys Works. I remember really enjoying the process and promoting something that I loved and believed in. I also got the opportunity to do an informational interview at my high school internship. I met with a woman from the HR department at Blue Cross Blue Shield named Amanda. Amanda had a very unique situation where she had a long journey into her HR career and it gave me insights of what it’s like to go into HR. Not long after that I also got to manage some more recruiting and onboarding for clubs that I’ve joined at school and came to love the process of it. I know that I enjoy working with people and helping others out. That is how I realized that Human Resources was something I could see myself doing for a long time and never feel like working.
Q: What was the most memorable part/biggest lesson during your high school internship?
AL: I truly believe that I made the most out of my high school internship. Outside of learning new skills and networking with others, I was able to build relationships with people that I otherwise would never have had the opportunity to. During my high school internship, I was unsure of pursuing college because I was never exposed to it. I had a mentor name Murad, who helped me tremendously with college decisions. He basically become someone I look up to because he gave me insights about how doors can open up just by going to college. Murad and I would go for coffee walks and have genuine conversations. These kinds of moments come rarely in life, which made it one of the most memorable parts of my high school internship.
Q: You’ve had the very unique experience of interning with Genesys Works and our operations management. What insights has this given you into your future career?
AL: I feel really lucky to have interned at Genesys Works and to work on the Operation team alongside Nasra Abdi and Pa Jai Thao. I know that my work is valued and everything I do makes an impact on the organization, which encourages and motivates me to do well at work. Because I work directly with the people who support students like me, I know I am surrounded by people with the best intentions. Recently I was able to gain some HR skills by taking on some backfill positions for college interns. This has given me insights of what my future career looks like and if it was not for that I would not be able to say that I know I am investing my college career into something that I will enjoy doing. Thank you to Genesys Works for giving me this opportunity! I also want to give a big thanks to Drew Stuart for supporting me in every way, always challenging me, and allowing me to learn the skills I have today.
Q: Do you have anything else you’d like to share or advice you’d like to give other GW Alumni?
AL: One thing that I would encourage my peers and to keep in mind is to never burn your bridges! Being class 7 of 2015, I was able to reconnect with Genesys Works and gain the new skills I have today. I encourage my peers to never give up on what they believe in and to always work hard towards their dreams.