Student Spotlight: Joy Kalua C’21

Joy Kalua C’21

What attracted you to Drew? 

I was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya and was attracted to Drew’s small classes and the ability to interact with professors.  I was also attracted to the Semester on Wall Street.

Why are you drawn to the field of Economics?

I like that it offers vast opportunities. I could go into finance, economics research, the non-profit sector, and so much more. I also like that the field of economics works to solve world problems. It’s also a great starting point for a lot of different grad programs.

Have you done any internships?

I did an externship with the AT&T Summer Learning Academy. It was a 4-week program where we learned a variety of skills and how the 5G technology will impact the world.  This experience taught me about business writing, data visualization, personal branding, communication, 5G technology, advertising analytics, design thinking, project management, diversity and inclusion, and time management.

I did the Semester on Social Entrepreneurship. I liked that it was divided between the nonprofit sector and the corporate world. My favorite part was when we critically looked into the rising concept of corporate social responsibility. Additionally, I was placed in a group that produced a report for The Bowery Mission on data visualization and social engagement. Besides what I learned during this semester, I enjoyed being around the other students, taking the train into NYC, learning how to navigate the city, and dressing up and feeling like a professional.

I also did the Semester on Wall Street. I enjoyed the networking aspect of it and learning about all the opportunities and sectors in finance and how challenging it can be.

This summer I was so supposed to work at a nonprofit that teaches financial literacy to students, educators, and at-risk adults but unfortunately Covid-19 canceled that opportunity.

Do you have any mentors at Drew?  

I have two mentors. – First is Makana Agcaoili, Coordinator of Residential Engagement. He helped me navigate stress and grow as a person.  My second mentor is Economics Prof. Jennifer Olmsted.  I have taken a few classes with her and she encouraged me to be open to other opportunities. Most people see Economics majors in finance careers but she encouraged me to do the Social Entrepreneurship Semester and that has inspired other potential career paths.

What are some of your favorite memories at Drew?

Favorite memories always involve doing activities with my friends. I love the Fashion shows coordinated by the Drew African Association. I’ve been planning them since my freshman year and I’m so amazed at what we can do as students.

What issue(s) in the world are you most passionate about?

I am passionate about the importance of teaching financial literacy to communities that don’t have access to that information and providing free quality education for students around the world. This is so important to breaking barriers and reducing economic inequality.

Do you have any advice for first-year students?

Try to learn what your strengths and weaknesses are as early as possible. Discover yourself. Once you get to your second year, build your skills and begin to reach out to people who intrigue you in terms of career path. Learn from them and create genuine relationships. Remember, your network is your net worth.

What are your career goals? Where do you hope to be in 5 years? 

In 5 years I see myself in a grad program either in economics or business analytics but till then I would love to gain experience in the economics department of KPMG or a similar firm.

Are there any fun facts you would like to share? 

I’m learning how to ride a motorbike. So far, it has been a great experience and can’t wait to get to bigger bikes.

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