Major: Personal Finance
Elston, a Los Angeles native and Posse Foundation scholarship recipient, switched from the Wisconsin School of Business into the School of Human Ecology’s Personal Finance for its smaller class size structure and emphasis on the communication aspect of money management. Last year, Elston also founded Impact VC, the university’s flagship venture capital student organization. “The Midwest is often underrepresented in the venture capital and startup scenes.”
Internship Experience: Elston spent his spring semester as an intern with American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact, a venture capital firm committed to addressing equity gaps and investing in low-income communities. His work was concentrated on the area of Learning & Academic Achievement, in which companies are innovating and improving content delivery and virtual learning solutions — something that’s become more important than ever after more than a year of remote school for millions of children. This area is also personal: Elston’s mother teaches fifth graders in Los Angeles Unified School District and heard firsthand how teachers were impacted by the shift from classroom to video chats.
Working a few hours every day, Elston was responsible for researching potential investment opportunities, setting up informational calls to learn more about the companies and passing promising leads up the ladder. “For me, this experience confirmed for me that I love this space and want to have a career in venture capital,” he says. “They gave me a lot of autonomy and I felt like a real part of the team. I truly loved it.”
What’s Next: Long-term, Elston’s goal is to launch his own venture capital fund. “We need to democratize access to capital. A lot of people — in Black communities, low-income communities — have exceptional ideas but just need capital or connections to get started.”