Meet the NAF Class of 2020 Cash Award Winners

Stefani Falkowski
June 24, 2020

We had the chance to catch up with the 2020 NAF Cash Award winners before they’re off on their next adventure. Check out what they had to say about their most memorable NAF academy experience and how work-based learning has prepared them for future success.

Asia Anderson, H.D. Woodson STEM High School Academy of Engineering, Washington, DC

Asia Anderson

“I would say the mock interviews definitely prepared me for my future success because being prepared for certain questions and sharing my experiences with the people that were interviewing me was a great experience. It actually helped me get a real job at shake shack because I was so prepared. Another learning experience that helped me was listening to guest speakers. It was nice getting to listen to great advice and even getting to give them great advice. I liked talking about my experiences with NAF, telling them how much the NAF program helped me so much in high school.”

Nina Burns-Skrobot, Woodbridge High School Academy of Finance, Greenwood, DE

Nina Burns-Skrobot

“My junior year I was able to job shadow at Dover Downs Casino and Raceway with their accounting department. It was such a great experience. I got to see the money cages in the casino and work with casino credit. I also got to work with the accountant for the gaming and racing. I was able to learn how to interact with others in a professional environment. It was such a great experience and it will benefit me greatly in the future.”

Khizr Camps, H.D. Woodson STEM High School Academy of Information Technology, Washington, DC

Khizr Camps

“My most memorable work-based learning experience was my internship at Howard University in their #WatchMeCode program. The program helped me understand how society works and how I need to present myself and promote my brand as well as practice the skills needed for my field.”

Zoey Cole, Naples High School Academy of Engineering, Naples, FL

Zoey Cole

“The work-based learning experiences that taught me the skills to do well in my internship, and the numerous guest speakers and worksite tours I attended were the most memorable and impactful experiences which prepared me for my future in engineering.”

Yazmin Cruz, Ronald Reagan High School Academy of Health Sciences, Milwaukee, WI

Yazmin Cruz

“There are several aspects that have contributed to the happiest of memories throughout my time in the NAF academy but the work-based learning that has impacted me greatly would be the mock interviews. Without the preparation and the mock interviews, I don’t believe I would have been as prepared to confidently seek employment for my summer internship. This training allowed me to grow and learn about the different components of an interview. I also learned about preparing my resume and cover letter. These are skills I will continue to practice and refine in the future but between NAF and my teachers, a solid foundation was built for me to succeed as they provided me with the tools to reach for my dreams!”

Jared Dawkins, Jay M Robinson High School Academy of Engineering & Automation, Concord, NC

Jared Dawkins

“My most memorable experience was the NAF Future Ready Lab internship. During the internship, I learned how to better work with a team and discover my own strengths and weaknesses as a leader/team member. It taught me how to be a better teammate and exposed me to so many future opportunities but most of all, it taught me to never put myself at any face value, that anyone has the potential to achieve their goals and jump difficult hurdles.”

Mallory Franks, Wenonah High School Academy of Hospitality & Tourism, Birmingham, AL

Mallory Franks

“The most memorable work-based learning experience I’ve had in the Academy of Hospitality & Tourism at Wenonah High School would have to be a job shadowing experience at the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum. I was able to learn so much about the city that I call home. I was also able to assist my guide on a tour that included tourists from different countries. Something about that experience sparked my appreciation for NAF. That was when I realized the opportunities offered by NAF were as limitless as my imagination.”

Mahlet Gebrekidan, David W. Butler High School Academy of Health Sciences, Matthews, NC

Mahlet Gebrekidan

“The most memorable work-based learning experience that I had was my internship at the Matthews Free Medical Clinic which served patients that were 200% below the poverty line in my community. By working with the amazing staff and doctors, I was able to see the tremendous impact that they were having on families who otherwise would not have the healthcare that they desperately needed. I was able to learn from and shadow the wonderful volunteer doctors, social workers, and directors as well as organize and plan for future fundraisers. Not only did I see the health sciences aspect but the immense coordination that occurred behind the scenes.”

Alycia Houston, Burbank High School Academy of Finance, Burbank, CA

Alycia Houston

“The most memorable work-based learning experience I had was during mock interviews. I was given helpful tips from my teachers and it helped me get positive feedback from the interviewer. I think this opportunity helped me get a realistic look at what to expect during interviews. This opportunity prepared me tremendously as I got an internship with a production company. I was able to learn communication skills and the how to’s when it comes to the interview process.”

Kendra Johnson, Naples High School Academy of Information Technology, Naples, FL

Kendra Johnson

“During the summer of my junior year, I took part as a summer intern for a not for profit organization called Naples Therapeutic Riding Center. This work-based learning experience through my NAF academy helped me learn how to conduct myself in a professional workspace, how to properly dress in a working environment and most of all how to properly speak to and assist customers. This work-based learning experience helped give me confidence when interviewing and speaking to business professionals.”

Indalecio Mejia, Tulare Western High School Academy of Health Sciences, Tulare, CA

Indalecio Mejia

“I was able to intern with the athletic trainer at my school during my senior year and that showed me that my interest in physical therapy is valid and I have a genuine passion for it.”

Omotayo Pascalyn Omotosho, North Rockland High School Academy of Finance, North Rockland, NY

Pascalyn Omotosho

“Being part of my NAF academy Class of 2020 was one of the best decisions I have made so far. I had no intention of doing anything related to business because I always thought it was a lot of calculations and that I didn’t really need it, but joining NAF proved me totally wrong. It has shown me that business is needed in all aspects of life and is related to so many occupations. I recently changed my major to Business and Marketing because throughout my journey with NAF I have been able to realize what I’m really passionate about, which is Marketing. I was able to discover this because of my internship and my classes.”

Alejandra Pena, Valley High School Academy of Hospitality & Tourism, Las Vegas, NV

Alejandra Pena

“The most memorable work-based learning experience I had in my NAF academy was definitely my internship opportunity at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority. My internship allowed me to be introduced to the workplace and it has given me the opportunity to network with many important leaders in the hospitality industry. The internship prepared me for my future success as I have found my dream job and it has branched out my awareness of people who can help me later on in my career.”

Paloma Pinto, Coral Gables Senior High School Academy of Finance, Miami, FL

Paloma Pinto

“The most memorable work-based learning experience I had in my NAF academy was definitely my summer internship. This was an amazing opportunity for all students to get a sense of the professional business world and to network and gain contacts for the future. This prepared me for my future success by giving me experience and showing employers that I’m way more than just a high school student. It is a rare thing to graduate high school with work/internship experience, and NAF gave all of its students this amazing advantage.”

Ana Salgado, G. Holmes Braddock Senior High School Academy of Information Technology, Miami, FL

Ana Salgado

“My internship because it taught me how to de disciplined. I learned how to help clients and to be respectful.”

DyJae Scoggins, Emmett J. Conrad High School Academy of Health Sciences, Dallas, TX

DyJae Scoggins

“My most memorable work-based learning experience was my internship at Capital One. While I was there I learned how to communicate efficiently and professionally which was one of my biggest challenges because I’m shy. Being in that environment forced me to be a team player which is a critical skill I need in order to be successful in a hospital setting.”

M’Kayla Turner, Emmett J. Conrad High School Academy of Hospitality & Tourism, Dallas, TX

M’Kayla Turner

“The most memorable moment was when my teacher offered me an internship last year.”

Neil Walia, Mountain Ridge High School Academy of Entrepreneurship, Glendale, AZ.

Neil Walia

“My most memorable NAF experience and one of the best experiences of my high school career was interning at NAF Future Ready Labs powered by OPTUM here in Arizona. I worked alongside fellow high school students as well as the professionals at OPTUM. We were given the flexibility to choose any issue in the public health sector that we wanted to address and develop a solution for. We chose to focus on substance addiction, specifically in teens, as this is a pressing issue across the world and even in our own high schools. After some research and brainstorming, we decided to develop an app that would assist teens who are attempting to remain substance-free. Some of the app features included nearby support-meeting locators/maps, sobriety clocks, a support hotline, job & volunteer opportunities/listing, and a tracker of money saved by not purchasing drugs or alcohol. Through this internship, I was able to practice professional communication within a team, and learn how to conduct interviews for research, perform competitive analysis, construct storyboards, and professionally pitch a product to a team of executives. I know that these skills will be vital as I pursue my career in business and finance in the coming years. Being part of NAF Future Ready Labs was easily one of the most educational, purposeful, and enjoyable experiences of my life.”

Congratulations to all the 2020 NAF Cash Award winners!

View Bio

Stefani Falkowski is the Digital Marketing Manager at NAF. She's passionate about universal access to education and giving a platform to students across the country doing incredible things. Stefani writes about workforce development, career building, and the impact of the NAF network.

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