CME scholarship creates opportunities to give back for recipient
Sophomore finance student Daniel Velarde wants to shoot for the stars when it comes to academics and his career. More so, he wants to create a positive impact on the southern Illinois town he grew up in.
His achievements so far were recognized in 2019 when the CME Group Foundation awarded him a prestigious scholarship through the CME Scholars program. The program is open to underrepresented students with a variety of majors in finance and technology. More about this program→
Below, Velarde discusses his journey to Quinlan, and his goals for the future.
Why did you choose Quinlan?
It was a long road to get here. I’m from a small town in southern Illinois where a lot of people don’t go on to college. I decided to shoot for the highest level possible and applied to seven Ivy League schools among others. I was actually driving past Loyola’s campus to visit Northwestern when I started to be curious about Loyola. I was offered the opportunity to go to their Scholars’ Night at the Field Museum and that sold me on Loyola. I fell in love with it. It was definitely the best fit for my undergraduate education.
I had started out as an economics major but eventually switched to finance. I’m interested in working with the markets and trading commodities. It’s not as conceptual as economics and I like the challenge of it. It’s more hands-on and you can see the effects of your work. It’s rewarding to see your actions have an impact on someone.
How does finance intersect with social justice?
I see it intersecting around areas like wealth distribution and financial literacy. I’m from the poorest area in the state other than the south side of Chicago, so I feel very lucky to be here. Lots of people I went to school with stayed in my area and weren’t able to go onto college. I see Quinlan as giving me the tools to go back to my hometown and teach money management and financial literacy to people there. I want to make a difference for the people I know.
Why did you apply for the CME scholarship?
I learned about it through an email. I’m Hispanic and interested in finance, so I was the right fit for the scholarship. I wanted to apply because I would have the chance to be affiliated with the CME Group. It would be a great opportunity to interact with them and maybe create future opportunities outside of the scholarship.
What does this enable you to do?
I’m very appreciative of CME Group for this scholarship. It means a lot for my family and me. My parents and I had been working a lot in order to afford Loyola, and this scholarship allows them to not have to work so many extra hours which is a great help.
I’m also taking out student loans to cover costs, so this helps take some pressure off my own debt, too. Before this, I was just trying to put my head down and get through school as quickly as I could to save money. Now I can relax a bit and enjoy my time here. I can focus more on my studies instead of working to make ends meet and overworking myself all the time.
What are your goals?
My immediate goals are to intern somewhere every summer. I worked with the State Treasurer last summer, and I want to keep the momentum going every summer. I also want to make the Dean’s List every semester going forward. In the longer term I want to get my MBA, maybe from an Ivy League school.
What sets Quinlan apart?
The resources Quinlan offers, especially being in Chicago. We’re interwoven seamlessly with the Chicago business landscape in a way other schools aren’t. The professors are great, too. Professors like George Senick, for example. He brought in great speakers and made sure we had a real-world perspective on the class. I really appreciated that and I think that’s unique to Quinlan.
What’s your favorite Quinlan experience?
I think it’s Rambler Investment Fund. I met Patrick Mullen (another CME Scholar) at the Market Education Day, an event at CME Group’s Chicago headquarters for the scholars to hear career panels and network, and he introduced me to RIF. We’ve been friends since then and I’m starting to get more involved with RIF. It’s cool to be in the CME Group Foundation Business Analytics Lab working with actual stocks and seeing them in action. It’s great hands-on experience.
Describe Quinlan in 10 words.
In the best place with the best staff and resources.