Capital Markets Lab high school program set to expand.

A great program is about to grow.

For the second year, students from the Christopher Columbus High School in Miami are getting a thorough introduction into finance and business at the Capital Markets Lab (CML) in the College of Business Administration at Florida International University (FIU). Now other area schools can anticipate taking advantage of the opportunity.

“Beginning with high schools in Miami-Dade County, we will extend an invitation to their students to participate in the program starting next semester,” said CML Director Helen Simon, who developed the idea for the training. “With an ever-increasing importance placed on financial literacy, this program allows students to advance their knowledge while still in high school.”

From top to bottom, Kevin Casamayor, Nick Reyes and Sebastian Sanchez at work in the Capital Markets Lab

“No matter what field we go into, knowing business and finance fundamentals will be important,” said participant Kevin Casamayor, who attends the every-other-week class with 15 fellow students from Christopher Columbus. “This program is amazing. I’m very grateful for the opportunity. And the Capital Markets Lab? It blows us away!”

Christopher Columbus High School students, back row from left to right: Christopher Guzman, Juan Carlos Vasquez, George Ceballos and Kevin Gregory; front row from left to right: Stefano Balli, Patrick Williams, Jose Cano, Kevin Casamayor, Brandon Fernandez, Sebastian Sanchez and Nick Reyes

Students do enjoy the exciting environment. The CML is a 2,200 square-foot state-of-the-art facility, with 50 high-end, networked workstations with dual-screen monitors. It’s equipped with advanced audio/visual systems, plasma screens, a ticker tape display with real-time data and television business broadcasts.

Course work has been developed precisely for high school learners.

“We cover basics such as investing and financing as well as explore topics such as asset allocation and modern portfolio theory,” said intern Alex Tarhini, the FIU finance major conducting the classes. Other interns involved with the program are Michael Alfaro and Robert Belsky.

“Honestly, I wish there would have been something like this when I was in high school,” Tarhini said.

Outcomes are being studied.

“We have received very positive response from the participants,” Simon said, “but we want to more precisely judge the success of the program, especially as we expand it.”

In future sessions, students will take a pre-course test and a post-course test, to determine to what extent levels of learning have increased.

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