The students gathered at Troutman Sanders in downtown Richmond to present a summary of their four-week experience as participants in the 40th Annual Cochrane Summer Economic Institute (CSEI) based at Collegiate School.
CSEI, an intensive community outreach program, provides 27 area high school students with the opportunity to learn about the economy and entrepreneurship. The program is administered by Collegiate and funded by the Powell Economic Education Foundation. Corporate sponsors and private donors make contributions to the Powell Economic Education Foundation in support of the annual program.
Students from 16 area schools, in addition to Collegiate, participated in the program. They included Appomattox Regional Governor’s School, Clover Hill High School, Deep Run High School, Huguenot High School, Maggie Walker Governor’s School, Mills E. Godwin High School, St. Catherine’s School, St. Christopher’s School, The Steward School and Trinity Episcopal School.
Over the past several weeks, the students took part in a series of workshops facilitated by Collegiate faculty and local business leaders, who shared case studies and lessons from their careers. The students, who received a $500 stipend, also participated in team-building exercises to strengthen the skills necessary for today’s careers, and spent time on site at their assigned organizations.
At the program’s conclusion, the teams presented the real-world projects they were tasked to complete by seven partner organizations: ChildSavers, Ginger Juice, Impact Makers, Indivior, Richmond Kickers, Royall & Co. and World Pediatric Project.
Corey Coldren, a rising senior at Deep Run High School, was assigned to the IT and business consulting firm Impact Makers to help identify companies interested in obtaining B Corps status in the Richmond area, grow overall awareness and determine the best ways to engage the existing B Corp community.
“Not only did the CSEI program expose me to inspirational businessmen and women who will no doubt be lifelong connections,” he said, “it also sparked a sense of desire to grow and eventually be on the same level and of the same intelligence as my CSEI mentors, colleagues and newfound friends.”
Landon Neal, a rising senior at Culver Academies, worked with Royall & Co. She was excited to present her team’s work on researching the company's diversity and inclusion program to help with strategic planning and recruitment. It was an opportunity, she says, that she wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere.
“Cochrane Summer Economic Institute has been a great experience,” Landon said. “I’ve gotten a lot of hands-on experience that I wouldn’t have otherwise received at a high school internship.”
For Robertson Reed, a rising senior at Collegiate, the experience with CSEI and working with ChildSavers to build a strategic communications plan with specific, measurable initiatives proved to be the kind of economic education he was looking for.
“I’ve been learning more about real-world business that they don’t teach in AP Economics,” he said. “It’s less theoretical and more applied and I really enjoy it.”
Trina Clemans, CSEI director and Collegiate’s Director of Economic and Entrepreneurship Education, says that CSEI challenges students to actively participate in the business community by serving as consultants, interacting with business leaders and working collaboratively with peers.
“It's an opportunity for rising seniors to apply classroom learning and get a jumpstart on developing business soft skills most often learned in the workplace,” she said.
After the presentations, Mrs. Clemans announced that three students, Corey Coldren, Landon Neal and Sean McHugh of Collegiate, would receive $500 scholarships funded by the Association for Corporate Growth, Richmond Chapter, one of CSEI’s sponsors.
For more information about CSEI and to apply for the 2018 program, click here.