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Summer at Kresge: Girls Who Invest intern focuses on financial literacy, increasing diversity

General Foundation News

Alaya Freeman

Alaya Freeman

Mikayla Wallace, a first-generation college student, finds meaning in increasing representation in the field of finance.

As a summer undergraduate intern with Kresge’s Investment Office, Wallace is working with the Investment team on a variety of projects, including artificial intelligence (AI) integration to optimize the work environment, data analysis, and work with equities and indexes.

“I’ve been learning so much. I’ve been learning different Excel functions, from formulas to evaluation methods, as well as expanding my research capabilities,” she says.

She found her internship through the Girls Who Invest program, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing gender diversity and inclusion in investment management with a focus on growing the pipeline of women in frontline investing positions. Wallace submitted a form where she expressed her interest in impacting the community and working in a diverse work environment. This interest showed that she was a match for Kresge’s Investment Office.

“My favorite thing about The Kresge Foundation is the sense of community and welcoming attitude that everyone has here. It’s amazing to come into a space, especially as an intern, and feel welcomed and a part of the team that you’re on. So that’s been my favorite part because they’ve truly created a safe space for me,” she says.

Once Wallace completes her time at the foundation, she plans to return to Loyola University in her hometown of Chicago, to complete her junior year and continue to make a difference on her campus.

“Something that is really prevalent in my community is the lack of financial literacy. One of my main goals when I graduate college is to give back to my community, specifically Chicago public schools,” Wallace says. “I aim to teach financial literacy and show them that there are other routes to be successful rather than being a doctor or a lawyer. So for me, I just want more representation within the field and to be able to make a difference within my community.”

Prior to joining Kresge, Wallace served as a student ambassador for the Center for Black Student Excellence at Loyola University. There she acted as a liaison between administration and the Black students on her campus. She also owns her own custom T-shirt business called Kustoms by K.

In addition to her work and academic studies, she is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority where she serves her community, volunteers and provides scholarships to other students who come from first generation backgrounds.