Merging Economics and AI and Landing Internships

By Denise Gravatt | 06/28/2024

Tags: Bulletins | Economics
Categories: Academics | Accolades | Students

A Journey from Transfer Student to Leader and Innovator

In the bustling halls of FAU College of Business, Alex Aranda, an economics major with a minor in Artificial Intelligence, fueled his passion for a career in finance and technology, shaping his future and inspiring his peers.

As a transfer student, Alex's path was not without challenges, including moving across the country away from his family in California. However, his determination to integrate into a new academic environment led him to significant achievements, leadership roles, and landing a competitive internship with JPMorgan Chase & Co. His role as the Vice President of the newly revitalized Investors Association student club at FAU is a testament to his desire to lead and impact his peers and FAU community.

"As the faculty advisor for The Investor Association, I see first-hand how it embodies the spirit of collective ambition; each member's dedication and vision converge to create opportunities for their peers and sustainable growth. Alex Aranda along with Lorenzo Biondo and the rest of the Executive Board are dedicated to working tirelessly to transform potential into reality and create lasting success."

~Philippe Dubois (Dr. P), Ph.D.,  Finance Instructor

Aranda's dedication to his academic pursuits has included experiential learning and a focus on financial modeling using machine learning and artificial intelligence. He has not only advanced his knowledge, but he has also sought out practical applications, resulting in the internship with JPMorgan Chase, where he was part of the Advancing Hispanics and Latinos in Software Engineering program. His exceptional skill and initiative not only distinguished him as among his peers as one of only 26 students selected, and the only one of the from Florida Atlantic, selected for 2023, it also earned him a return offer for 2024 Summer Intern Class of JPMorgan Chase’s Software Engineer Program. 

The hands-on AI learning and experimentation happened in one of his favorite places on campus,The Gruber AI Sandbox in FAU’s library. Initially daunted by the intellect of his peers, Aranda's persistence and openness to learning transformed his experience in The Sandbox into a space of confidence and creativity, where he now builds and trains AI models:

"I met some of the professors and other students in the lab, and that put me in an environment with people who want to talk about AI and about technology, whether that's with finance, healthcare, or neuroscience. Most recently, I have created a proof of concept for a financial AI model that takes in real-time data (up-to-date) to analyze stock tickers and gives a financial analysis using historical data, balance sheets and other variables to produce predictive target price predictions and identify correlations.”

~Alex Aranda, Senior (Economics and AI)

As Aranda approaches the final year of his undergraduate studies, he stands poised to make significant contributions to the field of financial modeling using AI. His journey is an example for other students, showing them the opportunities available when they explore hands-on experiences and internships, engage in research that sparks their interests, and take on leadership roles and build relationships while at FAU.