At some point during their time at Colby, I believe every student should venture beyond Mayflower Hill and connect with the surrounding community. Personally, I achieved this by volunteering with the Colby chapter of First Generation Investors (FGI). Created at the University of Pennsylvania, FGI now has chapters at colleges across the country. On their website, FGI explains that “historically, the wealthy have invested in stocks and grown wealthier, while others have missed out. Wealthy households are 6 times more likely to invest in stocks, and when they do, they earn 8 times as much as savings accounts pay.” FGI’s mission is to work with students from underserved communities to teach them investment principles and guide them in their own investments. After completion of the program, high school students are granted $100 to invest in ETFs or mutual funds. To learn more about Colby’s chapter of FGI, I interviewed Hae-Jung Kim `24, who is co-president alongside Nida Fatima.
What originally appealed to you about FGI and what inspired you to join?
So FGI was started by a girl named Maddie Fresco, who was a junior when I was a first-year. She came to a CSIA meeting to share about the club, and I reached out to her to express my interest. We talked and she encouraged me to not just become a tutor, but also help out with the organization on a national level. Ultimately, I was inspired to join by Maddie and also the fact that FGI’s mission strongly resonated with me. As someone who is a “first-generation” investor, sharing such important knowledge with other people was something that I was passionate about.
How have your experiences as a tutor and also as president impacted you? What have you learned/gained?
For me, having worked with FGI for almost three years has definitely solidified my passion for personal finance and the importance of financial literacy. I believe that the information we teach in FGI should be accessible to everybody, even though it’s rarely taught in schools. It’s also been really rewarding to watch my tutees grow through the program and see them put their learning to action since in the end we give them actual money to invest. It’s also inspired me to learn more about personal finance in my own time and explore the concepts we teach the students on a deeper level.
What was your best FGI experience?
I remember my tutee from our first in-person FGI session, Julia. She was super enthusiastic about learning about personal finance, and even though she initially struggled with some of the concepts and material, she worked really hard and grew so much through the program that in the end, she gave an excellent capstone presentation. Being able to see her and mentor her was always the highlight of my week.
I understand that this semester differs from how FGI has operated in the past. How has it changed?
In the past, we actually worked in collaboration with a club at Waterville High School called
Jobs for Maine Graduates. Unfortunately, this past year the advisor for that club left so we had to restructure our program. I worked with Paige Begley over at the Office for Civic Engagement as well as with Brett Olson, who is the Head of Programming at FGI National, to figure out a solution. We ended up being able to collaborate with the Civics department over at Waterville High School.
Why would you encourage students to join?
I think that FGI is a great way for Colby students to give back to their local community. I think a lot of students sometimes feel like they are in a bubble on Colby’s campus, but being able to do outreach like FGI is a small way to spend our time doing something that isn’t just academic or social life-related. It is also perfect for students passionate about economics and finance to share this knowledge with people who may have never been exposed to it before.
Any plans for FGI’s future?
We are hoping to expand our collaboration with the Civics department over at Waterville High. Right now we are only working with students from a couple of classes, but next fall we are hoping to expand the program so that every senior has the opportunity to participate in FGI’s program. This is definitely a pretty big goal, and it will depend a lot on the success of our current pilot program. It would also be great if we could integrate ourselves into the civics curriculum so that way we could continue our collaboration for many years to come.
~ Madison Keezer `26
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