Inaugural Fellowship recipient Charles Schwab looks forward to giving back
By Kyle Mittan, University Communications
Gamaliel JimenezThe idea of having a good time is to research the used car market and analyze the numbers on monthly payments and interest rates – things that many people hate about the buying process. of a car.
This is what Jimenez has been doing for a few weeks on behalf of his twin brother, Ezequiel, who is looking to replace his car.
“It was really fun to accompany him on this trip, to explain the supply and demand, why it’s a tough market right now,” Jimenez said with a smile while recalling the experience as a example of a time when he knew he was on the right track.
Jimenez graduated from the University of Arizona in the Personal and Family Financial Planning program at the John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He said he found a home at the intersection of business and service to his community by choosing a career path that will allow him to help others plan for their financial future.
This passion has also earned him recent recognition: Jimenez will enter his final year as the first recipient of the university’s Charles Schwab Foundation scholarship. The $ 3.5 million scholarship program was created by the global financial services company in the spring to serve students from underrepresented communities. The University of Arizona was one of seven institutions in the United States that the company chose to partner with to offer the scholarship.
The program will provide Jimenez with approximately $ 10,000 in his final year, as well as mentoring from a representative of Charles Schwab. The scholarship is also accompanied by an invitation to apply for an internship at Charles Schwab.
“I don’t have the words to explain what it means to be recognized,” Jimenez said, adding that he was thrilled to connect with mentors in the financial planning field. “I’m just glad that there are resources to help first-generation low-income students pursue careers in this field.”
An early passion for finance
A native of Tucson and a first generation student, Jimenez grew up in the Southeast and spent most of his free time playing soccer with friends.
His passion for business and making sense of finances started early. In middle school, Jimenez started selling snacks to other kids in his neighborhood, buying chips and popsicles at family runs, and selling them at soccer fixtures.
“It didn’t go very well – I ate all of my inventory,” he said with a chuckle.
Jimenez then attended Desert View High School where he became interested in science, technology, engineering, and math classes. His older brother, a computer scientist with an interest in equity and mutual fund research, helped spark Gama’s passion for finance, and Gama often approached him with questions.
Jimenez’s other passion was finding ways to serve his community. Although he considered going to college outside of Arizona, he said he was intrigued by the opportunity to stay in Tucson and give back to his hometown.
“I just saw in my community that a lot of people were not paying attention to their personal finances,” he said. “I felt they had to acquire these skills or at least have the opportunity to learn them. And I saw that there was probably a way for me to provide that if I stayed here in Tucson.”
A new major and a promising start
Jimenez arrived at the University of Arizona in the fall of 2018 on a Dorrance Scholarship, which is for first-generation students attending one of Arizona’s three public universities. He started as a pre-business major at Eller College of Management and heard about the Norton School Personal and Financial Family Planning program during a general education personal finance class.
In this class, Jimenez met Richard Rosen, Associate Professor of Practice at Norton School and Chair of the Personal and Family Financial Planning Program. Rosen lectured on the program, which was new at the time, to educate students about the major.
The presentation piqued Jimenez’s interest, and he arranged to meet Rosen in person soon after. At this meeting Jimenez learned that the program was a perfect fit and changed specialization to second year.
The first memory Rosen has of Jimenez – who is called Gama – comes from a lecture.
“Gama answered a question with such a response that it literally stopped me dead,” Rosen said. “It was an incredibly smart answer to a question I never expected from a student so early in the program, so early in a class.”
‘Out of nowhere’
In the years that followed, Jimenez took every opportunity to make the most of his time at university.
In the fall of 2019, in his second year, he studied abroad in Orvieto, Italy. Being immersed in an entirely different culture gave him a new perspective on the importance of helping others, Jimenez said, specifically emphasizing riposo, or the midday nap period that closes stores across the country to allow workers to rest for a few hours.
“I thought it was really interesting because they put themselves in the center – they really don’t care about anything other than themselves at this point,” Jimenez said. “I like it because it’s a way to help people by making sure they help themselves.”
Jimenez also stayed focused on his mission to help others with their financial plans. Instead of finding an internship as part of his graduation requirements, Jimenez decided to create his own. He found the opportunity to work with Family Housing Resources, a non-profit organization in Tucson that helps families find quality and affordable housing, to establish a program of financial literacy workshops for clients of the organization.
While Rosen provided advice and served as a sounding board, he said Jimenez “did the lion’s share of all the research” to bring the workshops to fruition. The pilot program is expected to be launched in the fall.
One day in July, Jimenez was finishing a meeting with the organizers of Family Housing Resources when an email from Rosen arrived: Jimenez needed to call him back, and it was urgent.
Rosen had nominated Jimenez for the Schwab scholarship, and Jimenez had been selected to receive it.
“I didn’t know what to say,” Jimenez said. “It was out of nowhere.”
Jimenez easily met all of the paper requirements for the nomination, Rosen said, including a “phenomenal” GPA of 3.675. But it was his character, and especially his willingness to help anyone, that made him an obvious candidate.
“He’s one of the most respectful young adults I’ve ever met – that’s what I love about him,” Rosen added. “This is the kind of human being you want on Earth.”
Do your part
With one year of his undergraduate studies, Jimenez is already setting goals for the post-graduate. He hopes to work at TCI Wealth Advisors, a Tucson-based company with offices throughout the western United States. But he would eventually like to open his own business, especially one that provides financial planning advice to low-income communities.
When Jimenez looks back on his university experience and the scholarships that helped him get through this ordeal, he sees a duty to pay for it later.
“Giving back to my community is an important part of my life and something I want to accomplish at some point in my career,” he said. “Since university gives me the resources to be successful, and Dorrance and Charles Schwab give me these scholarships, I must do my part as well.”