September 20-24, nine student women from Appalachian State University's Walker College of Business traveled to New York City (NYC) for a close-up tour of the New York financial world as part of the Women in Financial Services (WFS) Initiative.
The students are Keira Andrews, Carmen Concepcion, Carolina Davidson, Nevaeh Knox, Hannah Lackey, Cassidy Rogers, Ginny Shires, Amani Stanley and Sharon Ware.
They were accompanied by Department of Finance, Banking & Insurance professors Brandy Hadley and Lori Medders, who are the WFS initiative co-founders and faculty advisors.
During the trip, the students had access to local, national and international financial decision leaders and participated in transformative learning experiences. Three trip highlights included (1) a V.I.P. visit to one of the most prestigious institutions in the global financial industry – the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE); (2) participation at climate finance events during Climate Week NYC; and (3) a fintech company visit hosted by an App State alumna.
"I am so thankful that I was able to be a part of the WFS initiative trip; I not only came back motivated, but with a new perspective on the world around me," said Andrews. "Experiencing a completely new space with people I had never met before the trip really allowed me to create connections, bonds, and memories that are sure to last a lifetime."
Unprecedented access to the NYSE
The App State women were honored with a front-row seat at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Closing Bell ceremony. The students cheered for the closing bell as it was rung by the CEO of a newly listed company. The students' enthusiasm was captured on camera, and was featured on CNBC's Closing Bell show.
Program co-founder and co-advisor Brandy Hadley said that, while this was the fifth WFS initiative trip to NYC since 2018, it was the first time a group was given this rare opportunity to enter the heart of the financial world – the New York Stock Exchange.
"Our trip to Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange was the most memorable," said one participant. "The clanging of the closing bell is a sound I’ll never forget!"
Engaging with climate finance
The students also attended climate finance events during Climate Week NYC.
A highlight of their participation was a thought-provoking panel session titled, Women Leaders in the Era of Climate Change. The panelists, all of them distinguished leaders in climate finance, shared their insights on how to finance a better world, as well as their personal career journeys.
"The students left the session inspired and equipped with actionable knowledge on how to address climate change through financial solutions," said Hadley.
Fintech and the Walker College network
App State Alumna Madeline Hamiter FIN '18 hosted the students at the offices of Pagaya Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: PGY).
Pagaya is a global technology company that developed and uses an AI-powered network, leveraging machine learning and data science to provide a holistic view of creditworthiness, enabling its partners to approve incremental customers and providing improved consumer access to lending. It was the 2023 recipient of the “Consumer Lending Innovation Award” in the 7th annual FinTech Breakthrough Awards program, which recognizes the top companies, technologies and products in the global FinTech market today.
The WFS initative was in development while Hamiter was at App State; she was one of several students who helped develop the initative. Hamiter engaged in many Walker College programs, including Bowden Investment Group, Finance Student Association and the Holland International Business Fellowship, among others.
Alumni, students or friends of the college who are interested in supporting the initiative in any way are encouraged to reach out to Medders, email@example.com, who serves as the chair of the Department of Finance, Banking & Insurance.
About the Women in Financial Services Initiative
The Women in Financial Services Initiative was founded in 2017 by App State faculty members Brandy Hadley and Lori Medders with support from the Department of Finance, Banking & Insurance and Walker College of Business. The outreach is an effort to raise awareness of opportunities for women in banking, insurance, real estate and related fields, and to support financial literacy and self assuredness among women across campus and in the community.
"App State attracts a strong contingent of student women," said Medders. "In the six short years since its establishment, the WFS initiative has impacted hundreds of women through educational and social programs."
The college also supports female business major through Women of Walker, which equips members with essential skills needed for success in pursuing a career in business.
Students who are interested in the initiative are strongly encouraged to contact the faculty advisors: Dr. Brandy Hadley, firstname.lastname@example.org - PH 3065; Dr. Lori Medders, email@example.com - PH 3072.
About the Walker College of Business
The Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University delivers transformational educational experiences that prepare and inspire students to be ethical, innovative and engaged business leaders who positively impact our community, both locally and globally. The college places emphasis on international experiences, sustainable business practices, entrepreneurial programs and real-world applications with industry. Enrolling nearly 4,000 undergraduates in 10 majors, as well as 230+ graduate students in three master's programs, the Walker College's full time undergraduate enrollment is the highest in the UNC System. Appalachian is consistently named one of "The Best Business Schools" by The Princeton Review and is accredited by AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the premier global accrediting body for schools of business.