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Stephanie Roddenberry

Trading Up

Longwood Student Investment Fund manager finds "ROI" in the market - and in class

Longwood classrooms aren't quite like the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, but Stephanie Roddenberry, a senior finance major, feels the pressure of the markets daily.

She's got real money on the line: hundreds of thousands of dollars seeking an ROI, or "return on investment."

Roddenberry runs the Longwood Student Investment Fund (LSIF), a volunteer organization of students responsible for growing capital for the Longwood Foundation. The Foundation, which works to support the university's goals, seeded the fund initially with $250,000, giving students an enhanced educational experience and benefiting Longwood - if students invest wisely.

Buying Low, Selling High

So far, so good.

"We've been very successful with our portfolio of 57 individual stocks. Since inception in 2002, we've earned a 65% return on the initial $250,000 investment, Roddenberry says."

As fund manager, Roddenberry is responsible for evaluating the fund's holdings and optimizing its asset allocation. She looks at the ten industry sectors of the S&P 500 and determines how to weight them in the portfolio.

Fund members then analyze stocks and meet weekly to vote on detailed recommendations to buy, hold or sell securities. Roddenberry works with the fund's broker to execute any trades members approve.

Like a real-world money manager, Roddenberry and the fund's assistant manager review performance with the Foundation Board once a semester. Talk about pressure.

"It's stressful because it's a lot of money - real money - and I'm responsible," she says. "Proving that the fund is seeing returns and value, however, makes my position valid and it's very rewarding. The board is very welcoming and genuinely interested in our experience and our decisions."

Outstanding Education

She's also quick to say the same of her economics and finance professors, who are genuinely interested in her future.

"My classroom education at Longwood has provided me with a foundation that has led to many opportunities."

"In addition to managing the fund, I've been able to work alongside my finance professor, Dr. Bacon, to complete Senior Honors Research that I presented at a conference in Las Vegas and saw published in the Journal of Finance and Accountancy."

Roddenberry also found an internship at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond with the help of her economics professor, Dr. Brastow, which led to a job I'll start there after graduation.

"The comprehensive education and relationships with faculty here are invaluable."