Rock the Street, Wall Street encourages girls to pursue financial professions


Sophia Maxim

Rock the Street, Wall Street encourages financial and investment literacy for high school girls.

Shay Bowman

In the finance sector and related fields, women in the U.S. are three times less likely to pursue a career in finance compared to men.

Financial literacy is not taught in most high schools and a reported 80% of teachers do not feel capable of teaching the concepts. Rock the Street Wall, Street, a non profit organization, hopes to lessen gender disparities in finance and give female students exposure to investment literacy.

“I love the club’s core mission, which is to close the gender gap in those fields of business, economics, finances, etc,” John Cowan, the club’s sponsor and Economics teacher, said. “The ladies at Invesco do an awesome job of bringing a new voice for the girls in Rock the Street, Wall Street.”

Invesco, an investment management company, is one of several groups that volunteers to answer any financial questions and give the club support to achieve its goals. Alicia Tran is the lead coordinator at Midtown.

“I got involved in Rock the Street, Wall Street through my company, Invesco, because they have a partnership with the program,” Tran said. “We’re a finance company and we think it’s really important to give back to the community. I was motivated to volunteer because I wanted to give back. I’m really passionate about women in finance and I think it is so important to have financial literacy.”

Tran thinks it is particularly important that high school students have access to financial tips before college and before they begin their independent lives.

“I think [learning about finance in high school] is so important because financial literacy means setting yourself up for success,” Tran said. “At the end of the day you’re going to have a job and make money and there are a lot of things you have to do with that money. Whether it is paying for housing, investing it, medical bills or groceries, students have to know how to manage money. Understanding how to manage money is the number one thing to making good financial decisions and living your best life.”

Junior Salaam Awad, the student CEO of Rock the Street, Wall Street, believes that the club prepares members to handle finance on their own.

“I think it is important for girls to have exposure to financial and investment literacy so that they can be independent,” Awad said. “Being financially literate will definitely help with everyday life. It is great to know the information that Rock the Street Wall Street provides regardless of what I want to do as a career.”

Rock the Street, Wall Street is a fairly new club to Midtown. Started in the spring of 2020, Tran has already seen growth in the students she teaches.

“My favorite aspect of Rock the Street, Wall street is the fact that we get to see the high school students grow,” Tran said. “I’ve done this program for two to three years now and it’s a lot of the same people in the classroom that I get to know.Getting to know everyone and to see how they grow through the program is the best part.”

The club has two seasons, one in the fall and a second in the spring. The curriculum, set by Rock the Street, Wall Street, is designed to help girls get the most out of the program. Material is often taught through conversations and questions.

“We have two types of sessions or seasons,” Awad said. “In the fall, it’s more financial literacy based so we learn about stocks, bonds, budgeting and college finance sometimes. In the spring, we do a mentorship program; so we’re learning professional skills like interview skills, resume writing and how to make a LinkedIn profile.”

Typically in the spring, there is also a field trip that the club goes on. In recent years, due to COVID, it has been virtual.

“The past two years, it’s been virtual, but generally there would be an annual field trip,” Awad said. “This year, we virtually visited Invesco. The plus to it being virtual, was that we got to see the firms in Texas and New York as well.”

Junior Sofia Vempala joined the club this year and has grown her understanding of finance. She thinks it is an extremely beneficial club.

“Right now there is a huge gender disparity in the fields of finance and math,” Vempala said. “Usually women are targeted to be taken advantage of in financial situations so they, and everyone, really need the tools to operate independently. The club encourages girls to pursue math and finance and it sets you up for life.”

Rock the Street, Wall Street aims to give girls access to financial and investment literacy and change the statistics. The club has an open door policy and encourages everyone to try it out.

“Rock the Street, Wall Street is probably one of the most important and beneficial clubs to join in high school,” Tran said. “There is so much to learn about things that aren’t in textbooks. Having a space where students can ask questions and talk to women who have dedicated their lives to being financial experts is so valuable because it’s not really taught anywhere else.”