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Student Investors’ Success Leads To Scholarships

Student Investors’ Success Leads To Scholarships

SOCORRO, N.M. – The Pat Miller Student Investment Club has reached a new milestone. The club awarded $9,000 in scholarships this year, a direct result of the club’s success in the market.

Launched in 2007 with a $100,000 seed donation from alumnus Pat Miller, the club has grown its portfolio over the years to more than $180,000.

“That’s what one of Pat’s objectives was – to give scholarships,” club advisor Dr. Peter Anselmo said. “The balance is up to the point where Pat wanted to start giving scholarships from the fund.”

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Miller is a Socorro native who graduated from New Mexico Tech in the 1960s with a degree in petroleum engineering. After a successful career in engineering and investing, Miller decided to support his alma mater by providing a learning opportunity to budding investors.

“The other fundamental objective is to give students experience managing and making decisions about real money,” Anselmo said. “Pat told me that when he graduated from Tech, he was making a good salary almost immediately. He started investing in the stock market and he did not do well until he learned a bit about how the market works.  With the Club, he wanted to give students the chance to go through the learning process while still in school. That way, when the students graduate – and we all know that many Tech students start at high salaries as soon as they finish up here – they will be in a better position than he was to start making investment decisions.”

Club president Elijah Hammond said the group offers a great introduction to students who are interested in learning about investing, market research, and much more. The club meets at 7 p.m. Mondays in Speare 4. 

“If you’re curious about investing, just come by and pop in to a meeting,” Hammond said. “Our meetings are highly discussion-based. Sometimes if we have newer people, we’ll do more education. We pitch new stocks every week and find out about them.”

Hammond joined the club as a freshman. He’s now a junior studying mechanical engineering. He said the club’s scholarships are merit-based – and based on involvement in the club. Recipients must attend a majority of meetings each semester and be involved in conversations and discussions.

The club gave four $1,000 scholarships for the fall semester, plus Anselmo decided to award $500 to Hammond, as the president. The club will do the same this semester. The other scholarship winners are club members Joachim Lohn-Jaramillo, T. Daniel Barnhouse, Matthew Kelly, and Xavier Chavez.

Miller established a formula to determine the amount of scholarships to be awarded each year, which is based on fund performance.  So the better the Club members do, the more money is available to fund scholarships – for themselves.  Club members set the criteria for the awards themselves.

While the club meets every week for discussion, the investment portfolio doesn’t necessarily change that often. Anselmo said the club’s namesake, Pat Miller, is interested in seeing students be patient – buy and hold. Anselmo said the club makes five or six trades each semester.

“We have different groups of kids passing through the club every year,” Anselmo said. “Some are more risk-averse, some are less risk-averse.  But that mostly impacts the stocks they select; the number of trades doesn’t change much. … Pat’s objective is to buy and hold. He’s a fundamental research investor, not a big trader.”

Anselmo said the Pat Miller Student Investment Club is unique for several reasons: undergraduate students make all the decisions, they are using real money, and there is no bureaucracy to slow down decisions.

“This is the only club that I know of that operates like this,” Anselmo said. “They meet and make decisions. They tell me want to do and I buy and sell. I might challenge their decisions or ask them questions, but they’re still working with real money. It’s a fantastic opportunity for students to learn how to invest. And now you throw in the fact that they are funding their own scholarships with their investment success – it’s another example of the unique student opportunities available at New Mexico Tech”.

– NMT –