As the first person in her family to attend college, Julia Santos learned early on how to find
opportunities to support her college and career goals. Gaining the confidence to pursue them was another matter.

“Coming from an immigrant household, my parents lacked knowledge in certain aspects of my
life,” says Santos, now a junior at Buffalo State. “In many ways, I’ve always had to look out for myself and for opportunities that work in my favor, but for a long time I was afraid to take on
those opportunities.”

According to Santos, that changed when she became a CFES Scholar at Richard R. Green High
in New York City. Learning the Essential Skills gave her the confidence to participate in
programs like College MAP (Mentoring for Access and Persistence) that has EY professionals
serve as mentors to high school students. Santos credits the MAP program with helping her land
a prestigious Launch Internship at Ernst & Young (EY).

“CFES really took me out my shell,” says Santos. “Without it, I would have never seen myself as
a leader or taken on such a role with College MAP.  CFES was extremely helpful to my growth
throughout high school and gave me the confidence to apply to the Launch internship program.
CFES has been a huge part of my life. I do not know where I would be without it.”

Santos’ EY internship started at the National Launch Training program, where she was
introduced to the EY culture, business and advanced technology and tools. After training, she
worked on projects with teams to gain insight into EY operations. She also worked with
professionals across different service lines including assurance, advisory and taxes, receiving
regular feedback to help her develop the skills to succeed at EY and in life.

The internship gave Santos the confidence that she could succeed at a Big Four accounting firm
like EY, where she hopes to work following graduation. Before that, Santos wants to return to
EY as a second-year intern and attend the International Intern Leadership Conference in Orlando, Fla., where 3,400 EY interns from around the world network and join in workshops and innovative team-building activities.

“I loved my internship at EY,” says Santos, an economics major. “It was a very professional
atmosphere that felt open-minded and inclusive. I never felt like I couldn’t do what was asked of
me, and if I had questions they were willing to teach me. I drew on Essential Skills like
networking and leadership throughout the internship.

Always trying to pay it forward, Santos is currently mentoring eight-graders in Buffalo to help
them transition to high school and beyond.

“I miss helping younger student through CFES,” says Santos. “The skills I developed are ones
that I try to apply in different places like helping other students in college or those still in middle
or high school. “Being a former leader, I know that I can take on the role of helping other
students like those who were a part of my (CFES) team that are still in high school.”