Northeastern celebrates a summer of empowering young people from underserved communities to succeed

group of students posing for a photo
Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Some learned how to schedule and set up for conferences and the ever-important subtleties of email etiquette. Others studied the basics of calculus. And all learned about how to best utilize their paychecks.

“It was insightful, and I learned a lot as well and feel more prepared for next year — and I got paid,” said Kevin Dang, a rising junior at the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science and a student in Northeastern’s Bridge to Calculus summer program. “It was very good.”

More than 150 Boston students completed the Northeastern Youth Summer Jobs Program on Friday, filling Raytheon Amphitheater to receive certificates and congratulations, reflect on their experiences and feast on pizza and cookies. 

The program is a partnership between Northeastern’s Community to Community (C2C Impact Accelerator and the SuccessLink Youth Jobs program of the city of Boston. It includes two tracks. The majority of the students take the Bridge to Calculus class, which empowers young people from underserved communities to succeed in advanced math classes. Other students participate in an internship program that matches the students with various departments in the university. All were paid. Students also underwent an orientation that offered financial literacy training. 

Rashad Cope, deputy chief of the Mayor’s Worker Empowerment Cabinet said the city was grateful for Northeastern’s leadership and how the university had put “skin in the game” by becoming an employer partner this year. The university also has an 8-year research partnership to evaluate the program. Amy Carroll, vice provost of Global Impact at Northeastern, noted that Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs David Madigan had personally led the Greater Boston Higher Education Summer Jobs Consortium this year, which brought together other schools such as Tufts University, the Boston Architectural College, and Wentworth Institute of Technology to support the Mayor’s summer jobs program.

“You made it,” Alicia Modestino, associate professor in economics and in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, and research director for the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern., told the students. “And those lessons from the summer carry through into the next year and beyond – Summer jobs participants are more likely to graduate high school on-time, go on to college, and be employed in the 1-2-up to 4 years after being in this program. All because of what you learned in just six short weeks.”

Alicia Modestino speaking at Bridge to Calculus celebration
Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Julia Jeune, a second-year student at Curry College, had an internship with Northeastern’s Planning, Real Estate and Facilities Division. She said the opportunity enabled her to tour different campus construction projects, meet with various departments about their activities and to learn about campus planning.

“I’m really interested in campus planning and building — learning what is there, why it’s there, and learning about sustainable building design,” Jeune said. “The internship gave me great insight into what I can do. It was really nice.”

Anari Pope said that her internship with the College of Professional Studies taught her about basic business protocols as well as provided an opportunity for networking on a college campus.

“It was a good opportunity to get into college life and to network — it helped us get a lot of great connections,” Pope said.

A high school junior from Boston’s Hyde Park neighborhood, Pope said she thought the experience would give her a leg up in her plans to major in pediatric nursing.

Karla De La Cruz worked alongside Pope and likewise emphasized the professional skills she learned as an extremely valuable part of the program. She also learned how to work on a team — as having unfamiliar co-workers was something that made her nervous about the experience. 

“Working as a team with (co-workers) has been one of the best parts,” De La Cruz told other participants during a short reflection at the ceremony. “I am very thankful for this experience and the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone.”

Meanwhile, Bridge to Calculus student Lila Conley told the other students that the program enabled her to “spend a lot of time with friends, and I got to brush up on my math.”

“I feel very prepared for fall because of this program,” Conley said. “This program really cares about our future.”

Cyrus Moulton is a Northeastern Global News reporter. Email him at Follow him on Twitter @MoultonCyrus.