My name is Emmanuella Nwokenkwo and I am a recent graduate of Thornwood High School. While at Thornwood, I was a student-athlete for 3 years playing volleyball, National Honors Society member, and Vice president of Student Council. I will be attending the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the fall majoring in Business Finance.

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This summer, I joined the Greenwood Project Financial Institute to learn more about the financial industry and build my social capital by networking with different people from various companies we visited. This summer I was able to visit 20 plus companies that range from investment banking to FinTech companies. I learned so much about the different careers within the financial industry, and I went from having 0 connections on LinkedIn to 105 connections in just six weeks. Going into the program I was only aware of careers such as a financial advisor, but the Greenwood Project exposed me to asset management, private wealth management, portfolio management, and many other careers that have given me more options and fields to explore in the future. Learning about the different work styles of each career has given me an insight into what I want to do in the future.

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During the program, the high school cohort was split into two groups to pitch a stock to potential investors. I have been learning a lot about what to look for when picking a stock, keeping up with current news, and understanding the stock market lingo. As a result of my involvement in the Greenwood Project, I am currently investing in 3 stocks. I had no knowledge of investing prior to coming into the program and now I have my own brokerage account, this again proves how effective the Greenwood Program is. Besides the amazing knowledge I gained from the Greenwood Project about investing, I also grew my relationship with employees from two companies (Goldman Sachs and IDEX Corporation) we visited for a Lunch and Learn event for potential internship opportunities in the future. These are companies that I never thought I would be given the opportunity to work for prior to the Greenwood Project.

Being part of the Greenwood Project has opened my eyes to unlimited opportunities and has given me hope that someone like me can break into and strive in this industry. The opportunities Greenwood has exposed me to are unmatched and still feels unreal. I cannot thank Bevon and Elois enough for this amazing opportunity to be apart of the Greenwood Project. Greenwood has opened many doors and now it’s up to me to take advantage of those opportunities. For each lunch and learn event we had to prepare complex questions which not only challenged my knowledge but prepared me to understand the functions of each company. Overall, Greenwood has exposed me to many opportunities in the financial industry and I hope one day I can give back and make an impact on someone’s life the way Greenwood made on mine.