Northwestern students learn essentials of financial planning at FIU.

For five top students from Miami’s Northwestern Senior High School, 2011-2012 was a year to remember.

Marcus Gent, Jasmine McMillan, Rene Maurice, Janis St. Port and Cliffanique Towbridge took an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City, where they were the only high school students to participate in a college investment conference. They toured the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and picked the brains of workers on the exchange floor.

They earned the trip for their top performances at a unique financial education program at Florida International University’s (FIU) College of Business Administration. As participants in the Education Effect, they came away with a solid understanding of investing, and a new appreciation of the role of financial literacy in their lives.

The group from Northwestern Senior High and FIU on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
The group from Northwestern Senior High and FIU on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

The Education Effect, initiated in 2011, is designed to encourage students at Northwestern to seek success in college and beyond. Two semesters of in-depth financial planning education at the College of Business Administration gave nearly 50 students enrolled in a class at the State Farm Financial Literacy Lab essential knowledge to keep themselves and their families on a sound financial track.

Students learn from a sense of possibility.

“This program helped the Northwestern students realize that they could work for JP Morgan, or on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange,” said Helen Simon, finance department faculty member in charge of the program.

The five selected Northwestern students were the first high school students to attend the Quinnipiac G.A.M.E. conference in New York City. They also had the opportunity to select sector investment portfolios similar to those of FIU’s Student Managed Investment Fund.

Simon felt the program also had an impact on student interns in the State Farm lab, who helped teach the course.

“They saw how engaged the students were on the Stock Exchange floor,” she said. “It made them realize how important it is to give back, because they saw results so quickly.”

Janis St. Port, one of the Northwestern students, will attend FIU this fall.

“I learned so much,” she said. “I would recommend this program to anyone.”


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