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My name is Christian Beal and I am a Sophomore at The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I am currently Undeclared for my major. This Spring, I plan to declare a Major in Communication with a Minor in Sociology and a focus in Criminology, Law & Society. I aspire to be a Corporate Attorney in the future.

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Last summer, I was fortunate enough to be part of The Greenwood Project. As a latecomer to the program, I was unable to find a place of internship, but Bevon Joseph made sure that I would receive the same professional preparation as the other students. I participated in workshops that covered essential components to improve financial literacy and provides an introduction to the financial industry. These workshops covered topics such as Networking, Presentation Skills, Money Management, and Social Media Etiquette. Much of what I learned with the Greenwood Project was through the workshops because they helped prepare me for future internships.

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Greenwood’s trip to New York City was especially important to me. I saw it as one of my biggest opportunities to learn as much as I could from an experienced professional in the financial industry like Bevon. I can humbly say that every minute I spent talking to him or observing the way he conducts himself, was a lesson for me. He exposed me to the aspects of the financial industry that many do not get to see. The simple qualities of preparation and ambition are what separates those who go on to have long, successful careers in this business.

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Being able to visit the NY Stock Exchange, NASDAQ & its HQ, Goldman Sachs and the CME was a breathtaking experience. One of my most interesting visits was when I was able to visit The Street. I was able to meet their in-house Attorney and learn about the Law side of the financial industry. This was very personal for me because I was able to meet a Law practitioner that doesn’t work in a law firm. That is when I really believed in Bevon’s motto that “You can’t be what you can’t see.”

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Overall, I couldn’t more appreciative of Bevon and Elois Joseph, all of the supporters of the Greenwood Project and the financial institutions that made the summer come together. The program has a dedicated mission towards accessing internships and instructing professional development for minority scholars through financial firms and institutions. It will be an international movement that will change the scope of job recruitment in the coming years.

The Greenwood Project was THE most important thing I have been a part of in my life thus far.