Seven EPISD high school seniors are among dozens throughout the region selected to serve on the prestigious Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Student Board of Directors for 2016-17.
EPISD’s students are: Amanda Alfsen, TMECHS; Katherine Green, Andress; Allison Williams, Austin; Monica Castillo, Bowie; Annessa Hernandez, Burges; Ishank Arora, Coronado; and Idahlys Soto, Irvin.
These students will meet monthly throughout the year to get an insider’s view of daily operations at the Federal Reserve in El Paso.
Senior Amanda Alfsen enjoyed the first meeting and is excited to be part of the board after being recommended by her economics teacher.
“The first meeting was a tour of the building, which was really cool. We got to go inside the vault,” Alfsen said. “We also got to see where they sort all the money.”
Students learn about the purposes and functions of the Federal Reserve, tour the bank and meet with the El Paso Branch Board of Directors. The sessions give the students an opportunity to enhance their learning outside the classroom.
“I really liked it. I feel a program like this will help me build my leadership and communication skills,” Burges senior Annessa Hernandez said. “The expectations are very high. This is going to help me meet those expectations.”
Besides learning about the inner workings of the Federal Reserve, students are also encouraged to cultivate their own business ideas. During the first session, the students were divided into two groups to discuss creating a business.
“We started brainstorming different ideas,” Alfsen said. “Throughout the program, we will continue developing our business. We will have to complete a service.”
Hernandez enjoys the business aspect of the program. Her group already has a few business ideas in mind.
“So far we have three ideas. We have come up with Twitter advertising, shuttle service and music therapy,” Hernandez said.
As a band and choir student, Hernandez really hopes her group gets the green light on the music therapy idea.
“I think it’s going to be a great experience,” Hernandez said.
The students will work closely with Federal Reserve and community stakeholders to cultivate their ideas, learn about financial literacy and become more familiar with the local economy. Overall, the instruction will make them better equipped for college and the workforce.
“They have the opportunity to meet and network with Fed leaders, business community executives and students from other schools,” said Fed Communications & Outreach Specialist Yvonne Fernandez. “The goal of the program is for student board members to become ambassadors of the Federal Reserve Bank.”
Alfsen hopes her experience will benefit her career choice.
“I am very excited and grateful for this opportunity,” Alfsen said. “I am going to go into the healthcare business so I want to know the economy affects healthcare and vice versa.”
She is also pumped about meeting other like-minded students.
“Itâ€™s really great because this is a smaller school so it’s good to hear different opinions, especially working with fellow students who care as much about extracurricular activities and academics as I do,” Alfsen said.
Hernandez also enjoys networking with other students in the Greater El Paso community. She has already made new friends and reconnected with a fellow EPISD student.
“I feel like I am already starting to connect with a lot of the students,” Hernandez said. “It’s very interesting. It’s cool to learn about each other.”