Utah student’s national second place financial literacy essay focuses on ethical investing for refugee aid

Treasurer David Damschen has announced that Skyline High School student, Abby Bowler, placed second in the high school division of the national InvestWrite essay competition.

The competition tests students’ knowledge of concepts learned while playing The Stock Market Game, such as portfolio construction, capital markets, stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

The spring 2019 InvestWrite prompt for high school students, grades 9-12, focused on sustainable investing and creating a hypothetical ESG (environmental, social and governance) fund that would deliver long-term social and financial returns. Nearly 1,800 essays were submitted in the high school division.

Bowler, a former student in Syd Lott’s financial literacy class at Skyline High School, submitted her essay proposing an investment portfolio to “support refugees and asylum seekers worldwide.” Bowler’s essay took second place in the national high school division and first place in the state high school division. The SIFMA Foundation has specific scoring guidelines for judging the student essays, which can be found here.

Bowler’s inspiration to create an ESG fund that aids refugees came from “the high number of individuals and families worldwide who are struggling to rebuild their lives or who are still facing violence and discrimination.” Her background in competitive swimming also played a role in her essay topic. Bowler said, “Last year, I organized a swim clinic for refugee children in Salt Lake, and that experience sparked my interest in the worldwide refugee crisis. I think creating an ESG fund that allows investors to play a role in helping refugees rebuild their lives, while also making a profit, encompasses what sustainable and ethical investing is all about.”

Treasurer Damschen presented Bowler and Lott with prizes on June 25 in the Treasurer’s Office at the State Capitol. 

“The Stock Market Game and InvestWrite competitions pique student interest in important concepts taught in the classroom by adding an element of competition,” Treasurer Damschen said.  “I appreciate the incredible efforts of teachers and students to improve financial knowledge.”

“I am excited to be a national winner in the InvestWrite competition, and I have to thank my financial literacy teacher, Syd Lott, who encouraged all of his students to participate in the contest. Writing this essay helped me realize the incredible impact investing can have when it is focused on positive social change,” Bowler said. 

The winners of the state InvestWrite competition are:

High School Division: Grades 9-12

First Place – Abby Bowler
Advisor: Syd Lott, Skyline High School

Second Place – Lucas Zagal 
Advisor: Syd Lott, Skyline High School

Third Place – Angelina Skedros
Advisor: Syd Lott, Skyline High School

Junior/Middle School Division: Grades 6-8

First Place – Caleb Barrow
Advisor: Loren Brinkerhoff, Legacy Jr. High School

Second Place – Jocelyn Martinez
Advisor: Loren Brinkerhoff, Legacy Jr. High School

Third Place – Brody White
Advisor: Loren Brinkerhoff, Legacy Jr. High School

Elementary Division: Grades 4-5

First Place – Jesse Peterson
Advisor: Rosanne Porter, Lincoln Elementary School

Second Place – Lucas Norton 
Advisor: Rosanne Porter, Lincoln Elementary School

Third Place – Kayla Willardson 
Advisor: Rosanne Porter, Lincoln Elementary School

For more information on InvestWrite, visit: https://www.investwrite.org/.