DETROIT – Several young men and women from the African-American Credit Union Coalition`s internship program were visible during the coalition's conference, professionally handling everything from manning the conference registration table to assisting with PowerPoint presentations for top executives from Fannie Mae and MasterCard. For Bert Hash, AACUC Internship Committee Chairman, exposing college students to an industry that otherwise may not be on their career radar screen is "the right thing to do." "The most successful companies embrace diversity," said Hash, who is also president/CEO of the Municipal Employees Credit Union of Baltimore, Inc. "In the credit union movement, you see more people of color on the board of directors and in CEO positions than you do in banking. We need to continue to identify young people who can move into the industry, it makes good business sense to do so." In its fourth year, AACUC's Reaching Toward the Future paid internship program saw the placement of 26 students in 14 credit unions and industry partners this summer. Interns reported for work in May and worked through mid-August. Three new credit unions and the U.S. Social Security Administration agency hosted interns for the first time this year adding to the growing list of those wanting to host students. Karen Marsh, a third-year student in the five-year Master of Business Administration program at Florida A&M University (FAMU) in Tallahassee interned for the first time through AACUC at Fannie Mae in Atlanta. For the Denver resident, the application process was a bit "nerve wracking" because in addition to the 50 FAMU students that applied for the choice slots, Marsh had already completed training for a sales job back home, not really expecting to be picked. She got the good news after the first day of training, packed her bags and drove cross country to start her internship in Fannie Mae's underwriting department. "Having a degree is one thing but to have access to people who can help you get where you want to go – that's a blessing," Marsh beamed during a presentation to conference attendees. "The internship is the perfect vehicle for promoting success." For Justin Williams, a senior accounting major at Morgan State University in Baltimore, interning at Fannie's headquarters in Washington where he assisted senior business analysts by running checks and balances and writing reports for a pilot mortgage program, he was "amazed by the sincerity of the people" he worked with. "The experience itself, being able to travel to Detroit, New York – coming from an area of Baltimore where some people my age and color don't have a plan in life, I wanted to transcend the negativity," said Williams. Trecina Bowen, a junior at Morgan State also interned at Fannie Mae, learning about marketing, servicing and underwriting as she shadowed managers from those respective departments. "I was surprised by the accessibility and friendliness of some of the top people, the atmosphere had a teamwork feel," Bowen said. Hash credits a hard working internship committee (all volunteers, by the way) including the program's vice chair Renee Sattiewhite, who worked tirelessly with sending introductory letters to colleges, interviewing and placements, for the program's success. "Renee kept us on course," Hash said of Sattiewhite, who is also president/CEO of Sattiewhite Training Productions, Inc., a strategic planning and training firm. Janail Chatman, an MBA student at FAMU, worked closely with Sattiewhite at her company, this being her third consecutive internship through AACUC. Besides the hands-on experience she earned assisting with the logistics of the Coalition's annual meetings in Dallas, Los Angeles and Detroit, Chatman said some skills just aren't taught in the classroom. "I learned how to be a leader because you'll never become a CEO being passive," Chatman said. "I also learned how to network, manage my time and to just be a professional with everything you do." Morehouse students Alonzo Weatherby and Joel Silver III interned at 1st Choice Credit Union in Atlanta, immersing themselves in processing payroll checks and reconciliations, respectively. Weatherby worked on site at Grady Hospital on paydays cashing checks and processing deposits and withdrawals for everyone from physicians to janitors. "That experience taught me the importance of good customer service," said Weatherby, who recently graduated from Morehouse with a degree in business administration/management. This being Silver's second year at 1st Choice, he really got the opportunity to dig into transactions such as processing NSF checks and pulling daily reports. He said above else, 1st Choice President/CEO Sheilah Montgomery taught him to "do it right the first time because there won't be another time to do it again," and "never confuse activity with results." -

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