November 21, 2020

Structured Finance Foundation Honors Inaugural Scholarship Recipients

Structured Finance Foundation Honors Inaugural Scholarship Recipients

WASHINGTON – The Structured Finance Foundation, an affiliate of the Structured Finance Association (SFA), today honored the inaugural recipients of a scholarship it established at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) for students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in finance, accounting, or economics in the School of Business and Public Administration. The scholarship was established in 2020 with a gift of $80,000. Today, Brea Ellis and Novae Sylva were both awarded $10,000 scholarships at a ceremony on campus.

“Our goal when launching the Structured Finance Foundation scholarship was to provide opportunities for the next generation of leaders and continue to move the needle toward a more diverse and inclusive industry,” said Michael Bright, CEO of the Structured Finance Association. “We could not be more excited to award the first two scholarships to Brea and Novae, who are outstanding students with bright futures. We are thrilled to be working with UDC – a university right in our own backyard – to advance our industry and look forward to continuing to support students through not only this scholarship but the other non-financial components of our partnership as well.”

“The relationship between the School of Business and Public Administration (SBPA) at UDC, and the Structured Finance Association (SFA) is a great example of public-private partnership,” said Mohamad Sepehri, Dean of the UDC School of Business and Public Administration. “The support from SFA provides the seeds of opportunity to nurture and to nourish the exceptional talent and the skills of our students. In return, the industry and the society will enjoy the fruits of their achievements and contributions to economy and the community.

“On behalf of the Structured Finance Foundation, I am pleased to congratulate Brea and Novae on receiving our inaugural scholarships,” said Anna-Liza Harris, Chair of the Structured Finance Foundation Board of Directors. “The selection committee was extremely impressed with their academic performance and career goals, as well as their commitment to their community and university. We wish them all the best and look forward to staying connected throughout their academic and professional pursuits.”

SFA and UDC have also established a non-financial partnership, including curriculum input, educational briefings, job search support, informal mentorship opportunities, and full-time paid summer internships. In recent years, SFA has launched a series of initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion in the securitization industry. In 2020, SFA launched a racial diversity initiative with the goal of ensuring the participation of minorities in the industry. In 2014, SFA launched its Women in Securitization (WiS) initiative to support the retention and advancement of women in the structured finance industry.

About the Recipients

Brea Ellis is a third generation Washingtonian and is studying finance and business management with dual concentrations in marketing and logistics and international trade. She is a senior and will graduate in May 2022.

“[This] scholarship will help me focus on my studies instead of being burdened with financial stress… As a recipient, I will have the opportunity to connect with members within various aspects of the financial industry to seek advice and gain insight regarding their career journey. By gaining advice and insights, I will be able to work towards my long-term goals of obtaining my CFA license.” – Brea Ellis

Novae Sylva was born in Jamaica and migrated to the United States in 2018 to purse an accounting degree at UDC. She is a senior and will graduate in May 2022.

“Being a recipient of this scholarship means a lot to me because it serves as another milestone of my hard work. It also serves as a representation to other international students on my campus that they can achieve anything they set their minds to when they step out of their comfort zone. I am a living representation of that, being a recipient of this scholarship, I continue to exemplify what it means to be a black international student despite my financial constraints by breaking down barriers and paving the way for other international students to come.” – Novae Sylva

About the Structured Finance Foundation

In addition to its partnership with UDC, the Structured Finance Foundation seeks to support youth education and partners with Scholarship America and Mentor Foundation USA to develop and provide scholarship programs for the young people engaged in the Mentor Foundation’s programs. Since 2017, the foundation has awarded 33 students over $700,000 in scholarships. The Structured Finance Foundation also connects scholarship winners to the significant network of the Structured Finance Association membership, which represents all sectors of the securitization market including issuers, investors, financial intermediaries, law firms, accounting firms, technology firms, rating agencies, servicers, and trustees.

About the University of the District of ColumbiaThe University of the District of Columbia ( supports a broad mission of education, research and community service across its colleges and schools: The College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences; the School of Business and Public Administration; School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; the Community College and the David A. Clarke School of Law. The University has been designated as an 1862 federal land-grant institution and a Historically Black College and University. The University of the District of Columbia is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.