Hello everyone, and happy summer! It’s Azazie’s second year sponsoring student scholarships, and we’ve finally narrowed down all the submissions to one essay that many at Azazie personally connected with. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone’s submissions to this year’s prompt: “What is a problem within the industry you’re currently majoring in, and how will you solve this issue?”. Here’s the winning submission for the 2018 Azazie scholarship! Drum roll, please!
“During my freshman year, I enrolled in a personal finance class that taught me budgeting, stock trading, and investing. I was amazed that both of my parents, immigrants from Cuba, had gone their whole lives without the financial knowledge that I had learned that semester. I wanted to learn more about loans, interest rates, and credit scores, so I jumped at the chance to enroll in AP Microeconomics. However, I was shocked to find out that many of the practical skills I would need as an adult are not even in the curriculum. How could such vital information somehow not be a graduation requirement?
As a Latina, I have personally experienced the financial challenges facing many in our community. A population that plays a crucial role in our nation’s economy often has little to no access to the programs that would help them achieve their own financial independence. Men and women of color, especially in the Latino community, often have a difficult time balancing budgets, making investments, and understanding taxes. Teenagers are thrown into the world without understanding the importance of their FICO scores. Some of my classmates could not even understand the breakdown of the financial aid package for the school they had committed to. I was determined to ensure that I had the tools necessary to tackle anything that stood in my way of furthering my education.
Many of the problems within economics, and the business world in general, is that we are not educating people on the tools that can help them with their financial struggles. We need to take the knowledge that we have been able to receive through education, and help those who are less fortunate understand the basics of the financial world. I want to not only educate myself but to educate others on the various aspects of financial literacy in order to help close those gaps in minority communities and further their financial independence.
I applied for and was granted an internship at the Downey Federal Credit Union where I was able to receive thorough training on the various financial products available to consumers and money management techniques. I have been able to use this knowledge to help organize numerous presentations for local middle school parents on college savings accounts for their children and interactive budgeting seminars for my high school classmates. With the presentations and the events I had constructed and organized, I found confidence in my abilities and the knowledge I had gained. This confidence has fueled me to continue working on different projects to help others find confidence and understand the basic concepts of financial literacy.
The internship and personal finance class have both enhanced my financial confidence and knowledge, better preparing me to plan a financial future that will positively affect those around me. These opportunities have also lead me to furthering my education at the University of California – Los Angeles. I will be studying economics, and with my degree, I will be working to become the CEO or CFO of a credit union or a financial advisor while assisting students in financial literacy through seminars and interactive games. I will continue to ensure that others are not limited by this educational barrier of financial literacy in the academic system by organizing events for the city residents and for any person who is willing to learn more about financial literacy.”
Interested about applying for our Azazie Scholarship? Click here for more information, and stay tuned for the 2019 Azazie Scholarship prompt!