Success Stories

We are forever proud of our phenomenal UpTurns and are honored and humbled to share their success stories. 

Banner Box (2).png
Imani James Headshot.png

Imani James
2015 UpTurn 

Pursuing an

Advanced Degree

Imani joined UpTurnships in the summer of 2015. Immediately, she felt a connection with the organization and her coaches. Through the program, Imani learned how to carry her confidence and formed professional relationships that helped her land multiple paid internships during college. After completing her summer internship through UpTurnships, she completed an internship with the marketing agency GdB during her senior year at Gustavus Adolphus College.


At that time, she began having conversations about grad school. “I was talking to my mentors and wondering when I should go to grad school because I knew that I wanted to be a professor,” Imani says. Ultimately, she decided to first join the work in marketing recruiting and later the Air Force National Guard with the goal of attending graduate school and earning an advanced degree without building additional student debt. In 2020, she was accepted to Texas State University where she is now in pursuit of a Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies.


For current UpTurns considering going to grad school, Imani’s advice is to not be intimidated. While the process can feel scary at times, she says to, “Remember that you

have already learned how to be a student and in grad school, you will take that up a notch.”


According to Imani, the encouragement and guidance she received from her coaches and peers at UpTurnships helped her feel like she could accomplish anything. “UpTurnships provided me with so many skills and opportunities that helped me early in my career,” Imani says.

Sept Alumni Spotlight.png

Teresa Nguyen
2018 UpTurn 

Building Confidence

From Your Experience

In 2018, Teresa joined UpTurnships during her sophomore year at Augsburg University. In her time with the program, she worked as a marketing intern at CaringBridge. The following school year, she secured an internship at 3M. After graduating in spring 2020, she joined Empowering Health as a social worker. Then, in September of 2021, she began a new role with the company, currently holding the position of marketing lead.


Her favorite part of the position is having the ability to present her unique ideas. One of her first projects is establishing a new internship program that helps high school students get real-world experience to give them a leg up in college. Teresa says her experience as an UpTurn has already helped with the project.


Teresa credits the professional network she built through UpTurnships with helping her land a very competitive internship at 3M during college. She is always glad to hear from coaches and mentors that she met through the UpTurnships. “It’s really nice to know that they keep me in their hearts and minds,” Teresa says.


During her time with UpTurnships, she developed more confidence in a professional setting and gained valuable career insights. Teresa says, “UpTurnships taught me how to be confident and stand my ground, but how to do so in a professional manner."


Outside of work, Teresa has been doing a lot of reading and is a big fan of poetry. She also enjoys learning about solo traveling and would like to see the world and experience new cultures.

June Alumni Spotlight (3).png
Sydne Carlson Headshot.png

Sydne Carlson
2019 UpTurn 

Working towards

Your Passion

Meet Sydne, a 2019 UpTurn with a recent degree in Accounting and Marketing from St. Catherine’s University. Sydne was a sophomore when she went through the UpTurnships program. Since then, she has interned at both Boyum Barenscheer and Ecolab as well as being an accounting tutor at St. Kate’s. Sydne is now a part of Ecolab’s 3-year Finance Rotational Program with her current position being in Global Consolidation. She’s 4 weeks in and learning a lot. Being that Ecolab is a global company, she gets to interact with people from around the world.

Sydne credits the UpTurnships program for setting her up for success in interviews. She mentioned “I was good at talking about myself or my experiences until going through UpTurnships. UpTurnships gave me a lot of confidence in what I am capable of doing and my strengths. They give you coaches that are there to help you succeed.” Her advice for future UpTurns is to take many notes, ask tons of questions, and don’t forget to cherish your time with everyone.

In her free time, Sydne enjoys traveling, painting, and crafting. She recently got a puppy which is keeping her quite busy. In 5 years, Sydne sees herself as a homeowner, happily married, and working in a job that she loves and is passionate about.

June Alumni Spotlight (2).png
Pragya Headshot.png

Pragya Karmacharya
2020 UpTurn 

Utilizing the

Diversity in Your Background

Pragya is a 2020 UpTurn alum who just graduated from St. Catherine's University with a degree in Communication Studies and Psychology with a minor in English. Upon graduating, she started a marketing internship at 3M through the 3M Frontline internship program where she is currently working in Global Customer Education. She's enjoying building meaningful connections with her team and other people working at 3M. She is able to get a lot of advice and learn from a variety of people. She mentioned that the pandemic removed some of the transportation and physical location barriers that have prevented her from taking opportunities in the past. She has been able to work remotely and still create relationships while making an impact through her work.

Pragya shared that "UpTurnships really set me up well to network. I learned a lot about what kinds of questions to ask and how to not only gain a lot from the quick interactions, but also provide mutual feelings of success to the person I am speaking with. UpTurnships was my first experience with a remote internship and I really appreciate the trainings on professionalism on video, zoom etiquette and how to talk to other people and ask questions." 

Pragya's advice to incoming UpTurns is "If you see a problem, find a solution and share it with someone who can make that change happen. It is so important to utilize the diversity behind your background to share and improve the world around you- even when that world is your internship space."

June Alumni Spotlight (1).png
website photos (8).png

Pang Xiong
2016 UpTurn

The Importance of

Being Your Authentic Self

Pang is a 2016 UpTurn alum who is currently working as a Client Service Coordinator at Cedar Cove Wealth Partners. She wears many hats in her role including the Marketing and Event planning hat. She also works closely with their clients on evolving their accounts and products. One thing she loves about her work is the generous impact her team strives to achieve in the lives of their clients and within the community.


Pang likes to keep herself busy in her free time by Hmong dancing, teaching dance, working on her podcast with her 2 good friends, and working out at the gym. Pang is also on the Board of Directors at Lutheran Social Services. 


During her time in UpTurnships she learned that your professional growth doesn't end after you leave the UpTurnships program. She said, "You will continue to learn new things as society and our current environment evolve. Never give up on yourself and keep asking the hard questions." One piece of advice she has for future UpTurns is “In every step and chapter of your journey, be your authentic self. It may be out of your comfort zone but there is a lesson to learn so you can work on being a better version of yourself than who you were yesterday.”