By Annie Chen
September 24, 2023
The next step for a majority of our YES members in their promising futures is to consider how they’d want to impact and better their community. For many, that comes with deciding how they’ll pursue a further education and where they can gain support to fulfill their ambitions. On September 24, 2023 at the Haggard Library in Plano, Texas, our members were given the opportunity to gain more insight into the works and functions of some of the most prestigious colleges like Yale University with esteemed guest speaker Rick Koster. Further in the meeting, Youth Entrepreneur Society was fortunate enough to also welcome guest speaker Alexia Willis, who informed us about the aims of organizations like Junior Achievement of Dallas as our members prepare for this year’s YES Launch.
The September YES meeting commenced with opening remarks by our President Jeannette Yang and an introduction by Keon Attarha for the DFW Yale Alumni Schools Committee Director, Rick Koster. Koster graduated from Yale in 1982 with a BS in Electrical Engineering. He then started his career at Texas Instruments, followed by work at the US Army, Ikos Systems, Bytex Corporation, and numerous startups. He is currently working in Siemens as a low-power expert and holds the position of the awards coordinator for Yale's Science and Engineering Association (YSEA). During the meeting, he described the range of universities, namely: pre-professionals, immersive, liberal arts, and transactional in his analysis. YES members were informed in great detail about the experiences immersive universities like Yale provide as a Liberal arts college and research university. Such includes abroad programs, residential colleges, as well as the numerous clubs and performance groups students can take part in.
Koster especially emphasized how universities like Yale function in terms of admission. While there are no merit scholarships, Yale affirms students in need of financial aid by prioritizing education before student loans. Among the requirements Koster lists for renowned universities, such as recommendations, transcripts, and writings, he stresses that what these colleges and institutions are looking for are individuals who can make the most of their resources. In his personal experience with interviewing undergraduate admissions, he clarifies that these interviews are opportunities for colleges to gain insight on an applicant’s character. However, this does not define one’s chances of being accepted. Near the end, when inquired by many of our members as to what universities look for the most in applications, Koster stated, “Character is destiny.”.
As to further inspire YES members with the approaching YES Launch, guest speaker Alexia Willis joined YES to introduce the entrepreneurship program, Junior Achievement. Currently the Senior Manager of Entrepreneurship Programs at Junior Achievement of Dallas, Willis has had a lot of experience with working with aspiring entrepreneurs like our own members. Junior Achievement of Dallas specifically, is a nonprofit organization that partners with schools and extracurricular orgs throughout the DFW area in order to teach financial literacy and entrepreneurship skills. While their demographic includes K-12 at present, they are working to expand to the 18-25 age group. Willis stresses that the purpose of organizations like JA of Dallas is to help students learn about the process of building a company and unlock students’ innate ability to use critical problem solving through hands-on experience. Having supported over 100,000 students in their 22-23 impact, JA of Dallas is able to achieve this through opportunities like competitions and business meetings. Here, YES members were also able to see some of the business pitches and products that came out of the Junior Achievement experience.
By the end of both speakers’ presentations, YES members were now more informed about how prestigious universities operate, as well as all the support that goes towards ambitious students like themselves through organizations like Junior Achievement of Dallas. While outside factors like education and aid will always influence one’s performance in life, it can only begin with the effort of one individual. With the conclusion of the 2023 September YES meeting, members have learned to take initiative; be it in pursuit of feasible business ideas, an advanced education, or a greater, global impact.