Three Utah teens helping nonprofits through Bank of America Student Leaders program

Jul 19, 2022, 9:20 AM | Updated: 9:54 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Three Utah high school students are hard at work this summer interning for local nonprofits.

They were selected out of hundreds of applicants to be part of the Bank of America Student Leaders program.

Anika Rao, a West High School senior, is interning at the International Rescue Committee where she helps refugees settle and thrive in their new communities.

“At the IRC, I’m working with the Digital Inclusion Team,” she said.

The 17-year-old uses her tech-savvy skills to bridge the digital divide for refugees who now call Utah home.

“These are computers that have been set up for new arrivals. This is the presentation I’ve created.”

Anika can relate. Her family immigrated to the United States from India when she was a child.

“It’s really hard moving to the United States,” she said. “It can be a huge culture shock, especially with the language barriers many refugees have to overcome. “

It’s a meaningful, real-life experience she’ll get to be a part of for eight weeks. The paid internship is part of Bank of America’s Student Leaders program.

She’ll earn $17 an hour and get a chromebook.

“At the same time, we hope it’s instilling a life-long love of giving back to the community and helping the nonprofits,” said Mori Paulsen, Bank of America president for Northern Utah.

Anika brings a lot to the table. The honor student is the editor-in-chief for West High’s newspaper — the youngest to hold that title.

She’s also earned awards from the lieutenant governor’s office for her volunteer work.

Jesse Sheets, development officer at the International Rescue Committee, said he’s impressed with the impact Anika’s made in such a short time.

“I think it’s incredible to see young people stepping forward and really wanting to make a difference in their community,” he said.

Anika said the experience has opened her eyes to what is possible.

“I think this is something that I definitely want to do in the future. I’m really interested in some kind of advocacy for underrepresented populations including refugees.”

We’d also like to congratulate:

Diya Garg (Waterford School): Diya is an AP student and captain of the Lincoln Douglas debate team. During her sophomore year, she was the first-place winner at Richey Science Fair and also previously placed third in the National History Day Fair. Her Utah Mask Relief project oversaw the creation of 3,500 masks distributed to those in need.

Tanner Davis (Lone Peak High School): Tanner is an honor student who embodies leadership characteristics including punctuality and collaboration. As an avid soccer player, he piloted a program encouraging the meetup of students with other teenagers who have disabilities to play together.

Per a press release, Bank America started the Students Leaders program in 2004, recognizing 300 community-focused juniors and seniors from across the U.S. annually. Bank of America Student Leaders participate in a virtual Leadership Summit, delivered in partnership with the Close Up Foundation. The Summit will include opportunities to engage with congressional leaders, hear from leaders in civil and human rights and the Stanford University Young Democracy at Home program, which encourages conversation about current issues facing young people today.

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Three Utah teens helping nonprofits through Bank of America Student Leaders program