ELOC Mentor

Two Students from Emerging Leaders of Color Program Enroll at Carlson School

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Growing up, Aisha Mohamed didn’t envision herself as a business student. Studying information technology or healthcare was more top of mind, especially during her first few years of high school at the Ubah Medical Academy Charter School in Hopkins, Minn.

But after joining the Carlson School’s Emerging Leaders of Color (ELOC) program this year, life as a business student became an intriguing option.

“Going through the ELOC program made me much more comfortable with pursuing a business school and going to the Carlson School specifically,” she says. “Everybody was so welcoming and willing to help me with any questions I had. You could really see the passion everyone had.”

Mohamed and fellow ELOC participant Nini Dang are the first two alumnae of the program to enroll at the Carlson School. They’ll begin in the Fall 2020 semester, joining 11 other students from the program who enrolled at other colleges on the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus.

The free, 8-month Emerging Leaders of Color program provides opportunities for underrepresented high school students to experience and learn about business at the Carlson School. Students attend monthly Saturday workshops where they are exposed to business classes, Carlson School faculty members, potential career options, leaders of the local business community, mentorship from a current Carlson School student, and college preparation activities. This year’s cohort included 36 students, 61 percent of whom are African American or Black, 58 percent female, and more than half who are in their senior year of high school. 

It was through the workshops that Mohamed really became interested in a business school education.

“Marketing, and business in general, really stuck after all of these sessions,” says Mohamed, who started as Cargill’s global IT infrastructure intern last summer. “It brings together so many different skills and data, which I really enjoy.”

Mackenzie Kerry, a Carlson School senior who mentored Mohamed throughout the program, says she is a great fit for the School.

“Aisha is such a sweet person, she brightens up any room that she is in, and people naturally gravitate towards her,” Kerry says. “It is easy to see that she genuinely cares about others. She will be successful because she is a natural leader who is willing to put in whatever work needed to get the job done.”

“Going through the ELOC program made me much more comfortable with pursuing a business school and going to the Carlson School specifically. Everybody was so welcoming and willing to help me with any questions I had. You could really see the passion everyone had.”

– Aisha Mohamed

Sparking Interests of all Kinds

The ELOC program was also a driving reason why Nini Dang decided to join Mohamed at the Carlson School. Dang’s been exploring concepts such as integrated marketing and team decision making for some time, including as a member of the D.E.C.A. program at Roseville Area High School.

In addition to learning new topics, Dang found possible majors in international business and marketing and much more via ELOC

“One of the important things for me was the different connections I was able to make through the Emerging Leaders of Color program,” Dang says. “Not only was I able to meet people who are already in the business industry, but I was also able to connect with other students of color who had the same interests.”

Stephanie Avalos, Dang’s mentor, helped her throughout the college application process.

"When you're in high school and you're able to make connections to people already in college or already in the industry, that's such a huge advantage," Avalos says. "I remember going through a similar program and coming out of it with so much more knowledge and that really helped me going forward."

Applications for the ELOC 2020-21 cohort are open through May 29 at 5 p.m. For more information on the program, including eligibility requirements and how to apply, please visit the ELOC website.

"When you're in high school and you're able to make connections to people already in college or already in the industry, that's such a huge advantage. I remember going through a similar program and coming out of it with so much more knowledge and that really helped me going forward."

– Stephanie Avalos