Jan. 11, 2010
Renee DeGross Valdes, 404-413-1353
Terrance Rogers hasn't even graduated but already he's defying the odds.
In the midst of a recovery from the nation's worst economic downturns in generations, the Georgia State University finance major lined up a job on Wall Street with one of the world's largest financial institutions - Deutsche Bank. Rogers also is a first generation college student and will be first in his family to graduate when he walks during commencement this spring.
"I received the job offer on the same day that unemployment numbers came out," said Rogers. "It was humbling to realize I would get a fresh start to begin a career make a difference in my family's life, and create a pipeline of opportunity for future Georgia State students."
Raised by his mother in a single parent household, Rogers - a native of Lawrenceville, Ga. - has an older brother and sister, nine nieces and nephews.
Throughout high school, Rogers received excellent grades which qualified him for a HOPE Scholarship for college. Upon entering GSU, he wasted no time becoming active and involved on campus. He didn't want to let the opportunity of a lifetime slip away.
"Throughout my life, I've been inspired by my mother's efforts to better her children's lives," he said. "Her unselfish love inspires me to continue to press forward towards my dreams, while still helping others reach theirs."
Almost immediately, Rogers helped launch the Georgia State chapter of the Economic Empowerment Initiative, becoming president and its founder during his freshman and sophomore years. The Economic Empowerment Initiative, based in Atlanta, is a nationally recognized non-profit that helps students, employees and faculty members with financial literacy.
During the course of his college career, Rogers taught financial literacy to more than 2,000 students. He taught them things such as how to survive on college budgets and understanding credit and debt. His hard work earned him the opportunity to address the 2007 CEO Roundtable Discussion and Awards Ceremony.
He went on to intern for the Economic Empowerment Initiative organization, which he continued to do throughout most of his college career during summers and breaks.
Rogers also was a resident assistant and volunteered with Panther Breakaway - an alternative Spring Break program. Two years in a row, he helped repair damaged homes in New Orleans and tutor 4th grade students in math and history after Hurricane Katrina.
"When I look back, I've seen the worst of situations, and the best," Rogers said. "This experience was life changing."
Rogers also is vice president for budget and finance with the Student Government Association, overseeing a budget of more than $140,000, among the largest in the state. He is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, known for its distinctive bow ties, where he made "Brother of the Year" for the state for his contributions, including work with voter education issues and mentoring.
But it was Rogers' work with the Economic Empowerment Initiative that attracted the attention of Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), which eventually landed him in a Wall Street internship with Deutsche Bank last summer.
Based in New York City, this non-profit provides educational and career development opportunities to high achieving students of color. Selected among a large pool of applicants, Rogers was one of only three students from GSU to ever take part in the program.
Out of the five undergraduate interns in the area where he worked at Deutsche Bank, Rogers said he was the only person from a state school. The majority, he said were from Ivy League institutions.
"Coming from a non-traditional background, Wall Street can be a difficult place to adjust to," he said. "But the company's culture made the adjustment easier."
Rogers was stunned - not to mention thrilled - when he landed a job offer.
"I was trying to get in the door and people were getting pushed out of the door," Rogers said. "With the market conditions healing slowly, the summer of 2009 was tough for interns everywhere."
He begins a job next fall as an analyst in Deutsche Bank's asset management division, after completing training in London. He's going apartment hunting in New York City this month.
"It's difficult not having a road map," Rogers said. "But looking back on my years here at Georgia State, I've realized that no one can do it alone. It takes a good group of friends, family members and mentors to help guide a person through their personal and professional growth. I'm grateful for everyone's help along the way, and I'll never forget to reach my hand back as I continue to climb."