Hispanic Finance Association educates and empowers BIPOC students for careers in finance and economics

Friday+Feasts+is+a+one+to+two+hour+Zoom+call+each+Friday+where+HFA+members+are+given+a+space+to+work+on+applications+for+internships.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+%40hfa_lafayette+Instagram%29

Friday Feasts is a one to two hour Zoom call each Friday where HFA members are given a space to work on applications for internships. (Photo courtesy of @hfa_lafayette Instagram)

Bia Brait Amorosino, Staff Writer

One new student club on campus encourages Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) students to enter fields related to economics and finance. According to the founder and president of Lafayette’s chapter of the Hispanic Finance Society (HFA) Natalia Baez ’23, having an organization like this on campus is long overdue.

HFA is a national organization with a presence at over 25 universities. Baez was inspired to create a chapter at Lafayette when the organization Sponsors for Educational Opportunity posted an invitation to become either a mentor or mentee for HFA. She applied to be a mentor and shortly after received a call from the founder of the program asking if she wanted to create a chapter of HFA at Lafayette.

Baez described the goals of HFA as threefold: “To educate, have one-on-one mentoring, and really empower the next generation of leaders, especially undergrad students who are really just interested in receiving competitive job offers within the financial service industry.”

Alana Klass, who works at the Gateway Career Center as a career counselor, senior associate director and coordinator for access, equity and inclusion initiatives, acts as the club advisor. Klass provides program support and administrative guidance to the executive board so that they can work towards those three goals.

“HFA is an important part of the Lafayette community as it offers a space for students of color to mentor and learn from each other…Peer to peer learning is powerful and the founders of this organization realize this and wanted to create a space that welcomes students from all backgrounds,” Klass wrote in an email.

This semester, HFA hosted a range of virtual events and resources, including general interest meetings, a one-on-one mentorship program, a monthly newsletter containing job opportunities and alumni experiences and an event called Friday Feasts. This is a one to two-hour Zoom call each Friday where club members are given a space to work on applications for internships. An HFA board member is present during these events to motivate students to get the applications done and help with any questions that students may have.

HFA was unable to hold in-person events this semester as they are still a new organization and three of its board members are currently studying abroad. However, Baez emphasized that HFA will host in-person events starting next semester.

Although the club has “Hispanic” in its name, students of all ethnicities are welcome and encouraged to join.

“We are the Hispanic Finance Association, but you honestly don’t have to be Hispanic to join,” Baez said. “We accept all and are just happy to have anyone who is willing to just learn and be part of the club…I was speaking to a lot of folks who think they shouldn’t join because they are not Hispanic, but we want and accept everyone.”

To apply to HFA, either visit their Instagram page @lafayette_hfa and click on the link to apply in the bio or email the club at [email protected]. The application asks about class year, major, internship experience and resume, but Baez explained that HFA does not deny any applicants; the application is simply used to create compatible mentor-mentee pairings.