Juliana Boyle

I am an AACPS: Alum, South River High School, Class of 2017

I placed my palm on the scanner, feeling the tell-tale heat under my skin as it read my print. With a quiet beep, the machine cleared me, unlocking the door. I grabbed the handle and let myself into the GIOC, or the Global Intelligence Operations Center. Waving hello at my two mentors, I took a seat at my desk, powering up my monitors as I prepared to start the day’s work. Today, I planned to extend my research on the activities of a drug cartel in Puebla, documenting their movements and crimes.

For me, this was just another day of interning at iJet, an international risk management company. But a year ago, if you had asked me what I would be doing senior year, this prestigious internship would’ve been nowhere on the list. As a starting junior, I knew very little about my goals for the future, my plans for college, even my plans for senior year. I was a straight-A student, but one with no idea where she was going, an increasing anxiety concerning the coming years, and no clue what to do with herself.

Everything changed when I enrolled in the Global Communications and Public Affairs Signature Program my junior year. Through the GCPA program at South River, I developed from a good student into an outstanding student, from a confused teenager into a confident young woman. The class taught me how to handle myself in formal business environments, how to pursue a career that I am passionate about, how to network and create valuable connections, how to go out into the Real WorldTM ready for anything it can throw at me.

The GCPA program introduced me to a variety of opportunities within South River, from clubs to meetings to field trips and, eventually, to my internship at iJet. The experience as a whole taught me a great deal, and ultimately helped me make one of the most important decisions of my life: where I’m going to college. I’ve committed to University of Southern California’s World Bachelor in Business Program (WBB). I’ll be attending USC this fall, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology during my sophomore year, Bocconi University in Milan for my junior year, and choosing between those three campuses for my senior year. Through WBB, I’ll graduate with a degree in Business Administration from each of the three universities and have opportunities to do internships and volunteer work abroad.

Before GCPA, I would never have even imagined taking such a leap, choosing such an unorthodox program for my next four years. Now, thanks to the amazing work of all the teachers and advisors in the program, I’m beyond excited for this incredible opportunity to not only travel, but also receive an education from three prestigious universities. I’ll always remain grateful to the Signature program for giving me the push I needed to truly succeed as a high school student.