A record 17 sophomores matched with employers this semester for summer internships as a part of the Wood Center’s Real Estate Diversity Initiative program.
Over the course of 10 days in October, 15 companies held 168 interviews with 32 applicants. Later that month, with the preferences of companies and students in mind, matches were made, and 17 students were offered internship positions across the 15 companies.
The Real Estate Diversity Initiative program (R.E.D.I.) is designed to engage sophomores from diverse backgrounds who have an interest in commercial real estate or finance. Associate Director Lynn Tocci, who oversees the program, advises the students through pre-internship training for interviews, providing them with industry knowledge and quantitative skills preparation. Ultimately the students are matched with companies around the country for an 8–10-week paid internship the summer following their sophomore year.
The overall goal of the R.E.D.I. program is to create a pipeline of competitive minority candidates for future internships and full-time positions, while fostering a collaborative environment to increase overall diversity in the commercial real estate industry.
While this year’s cohort has already made a name for itself in size, they also offer impressive credentials individually. Seven students are part of the UNC Honors College, and one student is a Robertson Scholar.
“This is an incredibly intelligent and motivated group of students,” said Tocci. “These students dedicated themselves to preparing for their interviews using all the resources available to them and impressed our employers across the board with their questions and interest in the field. I know they will show that same level of dedication and curiosity in their internships and I am excited to watch their development through the spring training class and during their internship this summer.”
Tocci said this year she received more student applications than previous years and that R.E.D.I. alumni themselves may be responsible for recommending new students to the program.
Olivia Schram is one of two students who is going to Greystar, and she said she heard about R.E.D.I. through a close friend.
“[A friend] had told me that he learned so much about the industry that has helped him as he moved forward in business,” said Schram. “I hope to gain a mentor that I can look up to and seek for advice in my future. I also hope to gain more confidence in my knowledge and skills for future internship positions.”
T’Nya Savage is excited by the opportunity to develop new skills with the team at Flagship Healthcare Properties.
“I am looking forward to working with a team that is committed to the mission they have set out both externally and internally,” she said. “Thus far, my company has been said to be a place no one has the desire to leave. Everyone is nice and supports each other, but they are also very good at what they do. I am appreciative that my first internship represents excellence in these ways.”
For more information about our Real Estate Diversity Initiative or how to get involved, visit our website.