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Two DSM Students Represent Iowa in the Bank of America Student Leaders Program

BOA Student Leaders

October 2, 2023

At Bank of America, we’re dedicated to promoting economic mobility in our community through activities aimed at helping young people find job opportunities. For example, Bank of America’s Student Leaders program strives to help prepare a diverse group of community-oriented students for successful future careers through leadership training and work experience.

With the new school year underway, we would like to recognize our Student Leaders (#BofAStudentLeaders) who represented Iowa this summer, in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa.

Bank of America's Student Leader program selects hundreds of high school students from across the country each year based on their achievements and desire to serve their communities. These students are given the opportunity to participate in an eight-week paid internship with local nonprofits. Through the internship, they get to learn how nonprofits, governments and businesses work together to meet local needs, build their resume and professional networks, strengthen their understanding of teamwork and develop critical communication skills. The students also received a $5,000 stipend for their work, which is crucial for many young people saving for their futures or helping support their families.

Student Leadership in DSM

This year, two students from our community represented Iowa in the Bank of America Student Leaders program: Saw Gee Dow Sow, a rising senior at Des Moines North High School, and Mayada Alwan, a graduate of West Des Moines Valley High School. Through the program, the students spent eight weeks working with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa, where they developed leadership and workforce skills and participated in a week-long national summit in Washington, D.C.

Working with Big Brothers Big Sisters provided essential learning experiences for the two students. Throughout the internship, Mayada learned to ask difficult questions to create change. At the Student Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., she found that having the courage to ask well-informed challenging questions to those in power is the best way to implement change.

Throughout his experience, Saw realized the significance of working in a place that he loved. Before participating in Student Leaders, he never considered working in an office. However, while interning at Big Brothers Big Sisters, he gained an appreciation for the various roles that employees play in running a nonprofit. He also learned that working in a nonprofit can be challenging, but having a passion for the work makes it easier.

The Student Leaders program is just one way to invest in the youth of Greater Des Moines (DSM). By supplying young people with opportunities from reputable organizations, we help youth reach their full potential and become future leaders in our community. Since 2018, Bank of America has invested nearly $160 million to connect youth and young adults to jobs and mentoring.

Bank of America’s Student Leaders program has been committed to youth employment and economic mobility since 2004. Each year, we continue to build upon our Bank of America Student Leaders program, which recognized more than 300 students in 2023 for their community commitment, focusing on civic engagement, mentoring, leadership skills and building financial literacy.

As we continue this commitment, the application process for our 2024 Student Leaders program will open on Oct. 16, 2023. I encourage all students interested in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to jumpstart their future careers and apply. More information can be found on the Bank of America Student Leaders website.

I am beyond proud of Saw and Mayada and the work they completed throughout their internships. Not only did they do a fantastic job representing Iowa as Student Leaders, but they also participated in many new experiences and opportunities, developing fundamental professional skills that they will carry with them in their future careers. I can’t wait to see what these remarkable young people do next and how they decide to serve, change and inspire our community.

Job opportunities and career resources are abundant in Greater Des Moines (DSM). Whether you're looking to find an internship, a job, develop professionally or grow as a student, we have the resources to help you thrive.

Annie Brandt

Annie Brandt is a Senior Vice President and Market Executive for Bank of America. She oversees community partnerships and philanthropy in Iowa. Annie works with the Market President to help connect businesses, families and individuals to banking and investment teams that help improve their financial lives.