U recruits students with LEAD

The Carlson School’s program encourages students to pursue business degrees.

Derrick Biney

Irene Fernando said the main reason she came to the University was because of the school’s Leadership Education and Development program.

This summer, 32 high-ability minority students from around the country had the opportunity to participate in the Carlson School of Management’s 13th annual LEAD Summer Business Institute.

The program is a three-week institute that encourages high school students entering their last year to pursue careers in business.

After Fernando, a third-year Carlson School marketing student, participated in the summer program in 2002, she said other people challenged her to come to Minnesota to gain the experience of trying something different from what she was used to.

“People told me, ‘You don’t know yourself until you go somewhere different than what you have known,’ ” she said.

Fernando, who was a resident adviser for the summer program this year, said the program motivates participants to not settle for less.

Candelario Zuniga, diversity coordinator and academic adviser for the Carlson School, has been working with the program since it started in 1993.

Zuniga said the department he works in tries to make the school available to minority students outside the region.

He said he wants students to know there are options open to them.

“I tell students, despite being on a predominantly white campus, there is the opportunity to interact with other students of color,” Zuniga said.

At least four of the 32 students who participated in the program are thinking of attending the University after high school, said Nicole Pilman, who works in the program.

Megan Hubbard is one of four students who said they were thinking of attending the University after high school.

Hubbard, who is from New Orleans, said she had not previously considered going to college in Minnesota, but because of her experience with the program, the University is in her top-five list.

Jacquelyn Rodriguez, who attends Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights, Minn., said the University is her first choice for college, but she is unsure whether she will attend the Carlson School of Management because she wants to be a pediatric nurse.

“Maybe after (LEAD) I can open up my own business dealing with kids and I can incorporate the business aspects in somehow,” Rodriguez said.

Twenty-one students who have participated in the program previously will attend the University in the fall, 12 of whom are incoming first-year students, Zuniga said.