David Akinin is an economics and international relations major in the Class of 2012. In the past year he received the University of Chicago Humanitarian Award and was inducted into the Maroon Key Society. He is currently studying abroad in Paris.
As a first-year Akinin applied to be in the Gilbert F. White Leadership Program, which seeks to empower students to develop into ethical leaders and engaged members of their community. "I never knew there was a body of literature about leadership," says David. "The program inspired everyone to develop our own concept of leadership and follow through with it."
As part of the Gilbert White program, David pursued a group project that put into practice all he learned about being a leader. His group set up a speaker series visiting third-grade classrooms in the Chicago Public Schools and talking about college and careers. The speaker series consisted of a University football player, an undergraduate dancer, and a police officer, who discussed the importance of education. David's group project won for their graduating class. He says of the experience, "We not only made real connections with these young students but we were being leaders by the end of this program. And it was all inspired by the Gilbert F. White Program."
David also joined the Chicago Careers in Business (CCIB) program, run by Career Advising and Planning Services (CAPS). Through CCIB and CAPS he heard of an internship at Google, and, based partly on his experience with the Gilbert F. White leadership program, David got the job, becoming the first UChicago undergrad to intern there.
His internship went so well, Google asked David to become an "ambassador" to Chicago's campus. David put his contacts at Google in touch with his advisors at CAPS. As a result, this past summer, Google hired six student interns from Chicago and established a Metcalf fellowship. After spending another summer at Google (you can read about his experiences on his blog), this time as a Metcalf fellow, David—still two years from graduation—has already been offered a full-time job.
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