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Justine Gearin poses with Shannon O'Mara and Holly Young
Justine Gearin '20 (left) with Holly Young (center) and Shannon O'Mara (right), founder of the UWIN program.

A partnership with Loomis, Sayles, & Company again this year offers Bentley undergraduate women a unique opportunity for an inside look at a coveted career path where they historically have been underrepresented. The Loomis Sayles Undergraduate Women’s Investment Network introduces undergraduate students to the field of investment management through mentorship and paid internship opportunities, with the goal of inspiring, developing, and recruiting talent to the field. Loomis Sayles, which serves clients in approximately 20 countries across six continents and manages around $335 billion in assets, began the program nearly 10 years ago with Bentley as its first university partner.  

Known as UWIN, the program offers mentoring, workshops and internships at Loomis Sayles. It was originally launched after an internal review at Loomis Sayles from 2014-2015 found that only 18 percent of applications for junior level research positions at the company were from women.  

"I was conducting searches for junior-level research positions at Loomis Sayles and I noticed that the applicant pool lacked diversity," recalls Shannon O'Mara, Loomis Sayles credit research associate director and founder of UWIN. "Eighteen semesters later, Loomis Sayles has had 250 students benefit from the opportunity. Entering 2024, we are as committed as ever to aligning firm resources to inspire participants and continue building a pipeline of talent for the industry and Loomis Sayles."

Every year since its inception in 2015, Bentley women — like Kate Sturmer '21 — have participated in the program. Sturmer, who heard about the opportunity through Bentley’s Pulsifer Career Development Center, applied after taking some finance classes at Bentley that piqued her interest in the industry. "The analytical skills, project management experience and client-oriented strategies I was able to focus on during the UWIN program are skills I use in my career today," said Sturmer, who followed the UWIN program with an internship with Cowen (now TD Cowen) as an Investment Banking Summer Analyst. She was then hired as an analyst before receiving promotion into her current associate position. "The experience I had working with my team members and mentors at Loomis Sayles during the UWIN program prepared me for my future internship and helped me establish skills I will continue to use throughout my career."

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The long-lasting benefits of the UWIN experience are echoed by Justine Gearin ’20, a Business Economics major with a concentration in Management. Gearin discovered the program when she happened upon an information session on the Bentley campus. "As I heard Shannon and the rest of her team explain the UWIN program, I felt certain that I wanted to be involved," she recalls. "The program offered exactly what I was looking for — real, impactful internship experience in a place where successful mentors are willing to share their experience and advice." 

During the UWIN interview process, Gearin shared her passion for sustainability, which she had focused on as a student at Bentley in classes in her Earth, Environment, and Global Sustainability program as well as in an independent research project on sustainability through the Valente Center. Gearin went on to complete two UWIN internship rotations where she was specifically assigned projects related to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) concepts. 

"I was pleased that the committee recognized my strengths and interests and made the effort to incorporate them into my experience at Loomis," Gearin says. "My projects gave me the opportunity to bring my own knowledge to the discussion while learning about how my academic pursuits apply to investment management. My supervisors consistently helped me bridge the gap from sustainability in science to ESG in investing. Throughout my participation, I felt that the strengths and knowledge I gained from both Bentley and Loomis played off of each other really well." Gearin started her career at Loomis after graduating from Bentley.  

Diversifying the candidates in the pipeline to jobs in investment management — not just at Loomis Sayles, but in the industry at large — is a goal of the program that Bentley students have realized firsthand. "This program gives its members experience and an in-depth understanding of what it means to have a career in investment management," says Nadia Son ‘22. "This knowledge, along with the skills learned throughout the program, encourage and support women as they join the industry. Diversity is integral in any industry. Having a diverse workforce allows for a broader range of perspectives, a stronger sense of community and more innovative ideas.”" 

UWIN applications are open until March 8. Learn more here 

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