The Scripps Student Investment Fund: Empowering Students, Investing in Community

Four members of the Scripps Student Investment fund looking at a laptop together.

By Mirabella Miller ’24

From stock portfolios to student loan packages, finance and investing can be difficult concepts to master, and every student can benefit from honing their financial literacy skills. Opportunities to learn the ins and outs of finance should be available to all, and it’s crucial to ensure that students from marginalized backgrounds have equitable access to these resources.

Scripps Student Investment Fund (SIF) copresidents Quincy Johnston ’24 and Mihika DeSouza ’24 are deeply attuned to this need and use SIF as a platform to empower both its members and the wider Scripps community to learn more about the male-dominated fields of economics and finance.

“Giving women financial literacy is one of the most steadfast ways to advance women’s rights,” says DeSouza. “By teaching women the skills of not only how to make money, but also how to intelligently invest and maintain that growth, we set them up for success in achieving their personal and professional goals.”

The main way SIF board members build this literacy is through managing a $500,000 fund in perpetuity. Through their participation in SIF, board members learn management strategies such as how to pitch stocks and how to evaluate and monitor current portfolio holdings. They also participate in in-depth workshops on how to evaluate companies holistically. This enables members to look beyond just numbers, analyzing business models and company health indicators to understand long-term growth potential. These activities sharpen members’ decision-making skills, both in regard to deciding what the fund should invest in, but also what they personally want to invest in.

“[Through my participation in SIF,] I feel better prepared knowing what to invest in and how to do so, and more confident in my ability to help my peers and community do the same,” says DeSouza.

SIF members have a unique incentive to manage their stock portfolio effectively: since they distribute 2–6% of the market value of the portfolio to both Scripps clubs and organizations as well as 5C clubs and organizations with Scripps members, the better the fund does, the more money they can invest into the community.

This is just one of the ways that SIF’s impact on campus extends beyond just the students who make up the board. The club also dedicates a large amount of time to outreach. Additionally, they have held a financial literacy workshop aimed at the wider Scripps community that delved into Roth IRAs.

“These workshops have provided students with a greater level of financial agency and a tangible resource to build wealth,” says Johnston.

Beyond the primary responsibilities of managing the fund, SIF also helps members cultivate the preprofessional skills necessary to thrive in the workplace post-Scripps. Through workshops on public speaking and professional etiquette, board members have the opportunity to hone their skills in a welcoming environment of peers before stepping into more competitive or high-pressure situations, such as pitch competitions or their future workplace.

Fostering a community of women is important, perhaps especially so when considering entering a male-dominated field. This knowledge led DeSouza and Johnston to focus on cultivating a tight-knit and supportive community within SIF through a variety of bonding events. Additionally, it has informed their focus on mentorship within the club. Under their leadership, SIF has continued to be a meaningful extracurricular space in which members can connect with like-minded peers, learn valuable skills, and find mentors. This community has meant a lot to both DeSouza and Johnston throughout their time at Scripps.

“SIF has provided a space within Scripps for a diverse set of majors to build a community around investing and financial literacy,” says DeSouza. “However, the club goes beyond the learning that occurs. These women are some of my closest friends, and they constantly challenge me to try new things and push me to see new perspectives. It brings me immense joy that this club will continue to support nd foster growth in Scripps women.”

“There are few spaces quite like SIF, where intelligent, confident, and ambitious young women can come together to invest in each other’s growth and learning in a male-dominated discipline,” says Johnston. “I am already nostalgic at the prospect of leaving soon, but incredibly proud of the community we created together.”