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Banking on Success: Rachel Lewis

Rachel Lewis StudentRachel Lewis chose to attend Barnard in part because of its commitment to developing female leaders. She wasted no time in becoming one, and now the junior and native of Duxbury, Mass., has been rewarded for her efforts with a Morgan Stanley Women's College Fellowship.

The highly selective fellowship is based on academic achievement, leadership qualities, and extracurricular activities. It will grant Lewis a scholarship for two semesters and an internship that will plant her on a trading floor at the global finance company for 10 weeks next summer, where she'll gain hands-on experience in the institutional equities division. Having spent last spring and summer interning at a hedge fund consulting firm, Lewis says she's looking forward to the challenge. "I enjoy working, and hearing about the markets every day," she says.

"A math and economics major, Lewis suspects her application to Morgan Stanley stood out because of her participation in the New York-based Athena Collaborative Group, a nonprofit organization that prepares undergraduate women to thrive in traditionally male-dominated math and science fields like investment banking. "That training taught me so much," she says. "I really learned how to go through the interview process and be prepared."

After taking a class on women in leadership with Professor Liz Abzug her sophomore year, Lewis joined Barnard's Athena Scholars program, which integrates coursework, internships, workshops, and a social action project to hone leadership skills.

"I chose Barnard because I loved that it was a women's college, and had the benefits of being a small college within a large university setting," she says. "I've been lucky to take advantage of so many of the opportunities here."

Her interest in finance also spills into her extracurricular life, where, in addition to playing violin in the Columbia University Orchestra and serving as an RA, she works with Columbia University Net Impact, a sustainable business nonprofit venture that focuses on providing microloans in developing countries. "It's a way I've found to apply my business skills to something that can help people, in terms of global poverty," she says. "That's really interesting to me."

After graduation Lewis hopes to continue working in sales and trading at an investment bank "The people I've met at Morgan Stanley seem so interesting and dynamic," she says. "And I've always wanted to work in an intense and competitive environment."

J. Collins