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Celebrating JA Alumni Month in January 2015

JA Alumnus, Sumit Pal

JA alumnus, Sumit Pal, graduated from Information Technology High School in 2009. While in high school, Sumit excelled in a number of JA programs and received JA New York’s Student of the Year Award in 2008.

Sumit attended NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He now works as a Backend Engineer for Business Insider’s online magazine. Like many JA alumni before him, Sumit credits his Junior Achievement experience with placing him on a pathway of college and career success. As part of our January 2015 JA Alumni month campaign, we caught up with Sumit for a conversation about his JA experience.

What were your most memorable JA experiences?

One of the highlights of my teen life was when JA New York honored me as Student of the Year. Anyone who knew me back then knows that I was a bit introverted and a very nervous public speaker. It was huge for me to face one of my biggest fears head on by giving the keynote address in front of 400 business leaders and professionals at the annual Gala. I also vividly remember how excited I was to make it through to the final-round of the Business Plan Competition. My team did not place, but I was incredibly flattered when JA New York invited me to coach Brooklyn Technical High School teams for the competition in the following year.

What JA skills have you been able to put to use in college and the working world?

I do not think I would have been as confident in myself, or as prepared as I needed to be for college, had it had not been for the prior leadership and college and career-readiness experiences I received through JA. Junior Achievement also encouraged me to persevere and work toward success. It transformed me from a quiet and reserved student into a vocal and confident leader. Continual growth and success is something I continue to strive for today in the working world. Finally, JA helped me become more competent in managing my personal finances and helped me to value the importance of working toward short and long-term life goals.

Why is it important for business people in NYC and LI to support JA?

There are many students out there, like myself, who are not natural leaders, networkers, or communicators. Schools in NYC and Long Island may be able to teach students reading, writing and mathematics, but it is through JA that young people can develop real world skills. These skills benefit us throughout our educational experiences and careers. All it takes is a little bit of support, encouragement and exposure to college and career opportunities that are not always available to students. I want business people to know that supporting Junior Achievement is a reward in itself. They can actually see immediate results and impact they have on today’s youth.