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Elevate a Liberal Arts Education as Essential and Relevant to All Majors and Careers

Whitworth is committed to providing an education, grounded in the liberal arts, that empowers individuals for lifelong learning, professional development, and meaningful citizenship and service. Whitworth will deepen its connections to the liberal arts across the curriculum, equipping students to think critically, reason coherently and communicate clearly.

When Tia Kohs '19 attended her first meeting of the Whitworth Student Investment Group as a sophomore, not only was it a test of avoiding the "snooze" button – the group meets at 6:15 a.m. each Thursday – it was a crash course in investment terminology. Kohs was interested in business, but her academic pursuits led her to double major in chemistry and biology on a pre-med track, with plans to one day enter the medical field. For Kohs, WSIG bridged the worlds of business and STEM (science, technology, math and engineering) and provided a unique opportunity to gain valuable skills and knowledge.

Members of the WSIG and their faculty advisor, Duff Bergquist, will be quick to tell you this group isn't just about trading on the stock market, nor is it exclusively for business students. As students discern where to invest a portion of Whitworth's endowment, they become creative researchers, critical thinkers, and analysts who can communicate what they have learned clearly and objectively. They train for six weeks to become analysts and take the opportunity seriously.

Students' interests often guide their research into various market sectors as they select stocks to pitch to the group and report on those sectors. As part of her training to become an analyst, Kohs talked with her biology and chemistry professors about what would be big in science in the next few years and pitched a stock for a gene editing therapy company. The process helped her understand how research is driven by profitability, and how to explain complex medical concepts to a general audience.

WSIG President Derek Ramage '20 never imagined he'd stand in front of a group of peers, give a presentation without notecards and answer tough questions, let alone lead that group as its president. "When you're up there presenting, you have to be able to defend your position with facts and not opinions, and think on your feet," he says. Both Kohs and Ramage value the mentoring relationships that have grown among their peers and with Bergquist, and Bergquist's willingness to unpack unfamiliar terms and processes to bring students like Kohs up to speed.

Bergquist says he's had the vantage point of watching these students develop into savvy, passionate analysts who are ready to pursue meaningful careers. "You don't have to go to business school to do business things," he says.