April 8, 2021

Jessica Steele: UDC Internship Questionnaire

Jessica Steele: UDC Internship Questionnaire

Tell us a little about yourself – where did you grow up, what are your hobbies and interests, what year are you in school and/or when did you graduate?

I am originally from DC, my grandmother lived at 13th and Irving. 

I have so many hobbies and interests (and so little time). I run, row, hike, and sail, play games of all sorts (Tuesday night mah jong, for example), and I love to cook and travel. Maybe cooking and travel should be at the top of the list.

I graduated May 8, 2021, but I am still completing my second major in English, which will also qualify me for the CPA exam, anticipated in 2023 or 2024.

What are you studying in school and why did you choose that major?

I chose accounting because I already had a background in bookkeeping and business.

How did you hear/learn about the Structured Finance Association internship? What about the opportunity seemed interesting to you?

I heard about the SFA internship from my department chair, who is also my academic advisor. One of the benefits of a small school is that we get a lot of attention from our professors and advisors. The announcement was also circulated on our department email.

I was very impressed with how well-written the internship description was, how specific the expectations were and how the summer internship had a focus (ESG). All of that spoke to me, I was convinced there would be more learning opportunity than just the virtual version of fetching coffee. Also, the membership list on the SFA website was intriguingly diverse.

What do you hope to gain from your internship experience?

First, I hoped to gain experience communicating in a professional setting—understanding the tasks assigned to me and working to expectations.

Secondly, I hoped to explore the world of finance and get a better understanding of how securitization fits in to the economy.

How will it help you achieve your academic, personal, and career goals, both in the short-term and down the road? 

Every way that I can round out my experience makes me more knowledgeable. Even though I didn’t foresee a future in finance, I knew that the increased understanding of securitization would transfer to other areas of accounting even if only by expanding my understanding of capital markets. 

Where does your interest in finance/structured finance/business stem from?

My personal interest stems from being in small businesses at a time when we needed to expand. Every businessperson wants to know more about access to capital.

Additionally, structured finance impacts almost everyone who has ever had a mortgage. So naturally I was keen to understand it better.

What are other ways the partnership between SFA and UDC could be impactful to you and your fellow students? 

Classroom presentations and participation with the on-campus NABA (National Association of Black Accountants) chapter would be very impactful. Several of my professors have brought working professionals into the classroom and it has always been a great experience.

What SFA issues/priorities/focus areas are you working on as part of your internship?   

I am getting to work on ESG, which was the intended focus of the internship, but I am also working on research projects as diverse as wealth inequality, foreclosure moratoriums, single-family rental housing, and retiring LIBOR. It’s been a great summer.