The Structured Finance Foundation, an affiliate of the Structured Finance Association (SFA), on Friday, May 13, 2022 honored 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. Manda Burnham and Hansi Lara Cruz were both awarded a $10,000 scholarship at a ceremony on campus.
“Manda Burnham and Hansi Lara Cruz represent the next generation of leaders who will have a tremendous impact on our industry, and we were thrilled to present them with $10,000 scholarships today on campus,” said Leslie Sack, Executive Director of the Structured Finance Foundation. “The Structured Finance Foundation is committed to moving the needle toward a more diverse and inclusive industry, and we look forward to continuing to support students through our partnership with UDC.”
“On behalf of the Structured Finance Foundation, I am thrilled to congratulate Manda Burnham and Hansi Lara Cruz on their many accomplishments,” said Anna-Liza Harris, Chair of the Structured Finance Foundation Board of Directors. “The selection committee was extremely impressed with their academic performance and commitment to their community and university. We wish them all the best and look forward to staying connected throughout their academic and professional pursuits.”
“We would like to thank the Structured Finance Foundation for their commitment to our students at UDC,” said Dr. Alex Tan, Department Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Accounting and Finance at the University of the District of Columbia. “These two young women are incredibly deserving, and I know they have bright futures ahead of them. We look forward to continuing to grow our partnership with the Structured Finance Foundation, as well as SFA and its members, and appreciate all they do to support emerging leaders in the finance industry.”
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
Hansi Lara Cruz is a native of Bogota, Columbia, with a background in public accounting. She is in year one of the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program at UDC.
“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity of becoming one of the second generation students at UDC awarded by the Structured Finance Foundation. It is such an honor to be called one of the most promising students and have the opportunity to access the benefits the association has available for me. Being an international student awarded this gift during my first year of graduate school demonstrates it is possible to dream big. Working hard towards your career, getting high grades, doing your best every time, and making an effort when an assignment comes, is totally worth it. I cannot wait to see what is next and how I can contribute to the School of Business Administration and the Structured Finance Foundation in any way possible. I am sure they will help me grow my networking and develop skills to be a great professional after finishing my program.” –Hansi Lara Cruz
Manda Burnham was born and raised in Washington, D.C. and is a rising senior studying finance at UDC.
“I am sincerely honored to have been selected as a recipient of the Structured Finance Foundation Scholarship. Thank you for your generosity which will allow me the opportunity to focus solely on maintaining academic excellence. I can give my undivided time and attention to my academic rigor. As someone who grew up in a household where financial literacy was never a decision, I will break the cycle and obtain the knowledge to help generate and grow my wealth and the wealth within my communities. With this scholarship, I am given more time to focus on community engagement by bringing awareness to financial literacy. Growing up and not having the stability and support to go after your dreams because you know you’ll be on your own, financially and logistically kind of hinders you from taking that leap. I want to be the guidance and encouragement for those growing up to take that leap.” –Manda Burnham