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From FGI-Harvard to Harvard Undergraduate: A Conversation with Peirce Ellis




Originally from the Greater Philadelphia area, Peirce discovered First Generation Investors through his brother, a rising Sophomore at Harvard. Peirce plans to attend Harvard this fall and is interested in pursuing a major in Economics, joining business and finance clubs on campus, and working in the Harvard Innovation Lab. He is also a skilled Violist and hopes to continue his musical journey with the New England Conservatory. Peirce’s biggest takeaway from FGI was the importance of strong mentorship. With this sentiment in mind, Peirce will return to FGI-Harvard as a tutor and a strong community role model for other budding student innovators in the Boston area. Below is our conversation with Peirce:


Elizabeth:

I would love to hear about you or your background, where you went to high school and how you heard about FGI.


Peirce:

Yeah, sure. So my name is Peirce, hi. I'm from Greater Philadelphia. I was technically homeschooled for my high school years, but not really, because I took the vast majority of my classes dual enrollment at different colleges. So I took classes at Drexel in the two different community colleges and some other places too. That's where I got my education, and I just used those credits for high school credits. So I wouldn't technically call it homeschooling, I just don't know what it is.


I heard about FGI Harvard because my brother is a freshman at Harvard right now. So through, just watching how he was navigating the spaces and learning about the different things that he was learning about, Harvard seemed great. There's like Black Student Association, and then also some other stuff in finance that I was really interested in because I'm interested in going into finance. I also learned about FGI, which is offered for high school students, and then my brother was one of the student mentors of FGI and he was like, “Hey, you should, you should join this program. It's kind of cool. Plus, I'm teaching here.” So you know, so I joined that program. And then I met Seven and I met some of the other people there. And through that, I've kind of been introduced to some of the other things about it, as well. So that's kind of how I heard about it.


Elizabeth:

Did you always know you wanted to go to Harvard or did like the FGI-Harvard program, sort of allow you to lean that way a little bit more?


Peirce:

It definitely helped influence me. The week I got in -- I got in early decision-- at that point, I really liked but, you know, some of these other schools, they offered different things. One school actually had a finance major, better food, and a business school, you know? Or I've never been out in California, so I could go to this other school, or I could go down to Georgia.


So it's like, Okay, what do I do? What should I do? And then definitely after meeting some of the students at Harvard and seeing them there, you know, I was starting to get the vibe and see how much they were trying to recruit me. So I was like, okay, I think this is where I want to be. So that definitely helped in that sense. Yes.


Elizabeth:

That's awesome. I know, one of my favorite things about FGI is just the community aspect. Do you have any plans for when you get to Harvard? You said you're interested in finance and music?


Peirce:

Yeah, those are my biggest interests: finance, business, and music. I'm planning to pursue an Econ. major, but I think as I look into the future, it seems like CS might creep up a little bit. At this point, I'm kind of scared of CS at Harvard, especially, you know, all that comes with that type of major, but we'll see what happens. I might take a couple of classes to get a minor or something like that, or some sort of sub concentration in that.


But yeah, I'm planning on going into finance. One of the other things that I planned to do at Harvard is to use the innovation lab and see if I can work with some people that have already started talking to and, you know, try and generate and create something. That has been something that I've wanted to do, so if I can get that checked off the bucket list in college, that would be really nice to see.


And then for music, I plan to continue music at Harvard. I've already met some students that I want to form chamber groups and stuff with. And then some of the students at the music program that I just came from are also going to Harvard. So we've been talking about our plans for that as well. And then, I also plan to apply for the NEC program, the dual Harvard NEC program at the New England Conservatory. And hopefully, you take lessons with some of my Viola role models, I guess, there and that's awesome to have that environment as well.


Elizabeth:

It sounds like you'll be very community-oriented. Do you think you'll be in FGI?


Peirce:

Definitely, and I think that comes from the communal aspect. It seemed like all the mentors already knew each other, probably just from being at Harvard. And just seeing that type of thing, seeing how well everyone got along with each other, seeing how well everyone was able to build a community together, I definitely want to be a part of that again. And then also, you know, help out the kids that are in Boston, hopefully, teach them something about investing as well. That's really interesting to me.


Elizabeth:

That's awesome. That's mostly the questions that I have, I don't know if there's anything else that you’d like to say?


Peirce:

About the program, I think one thing that I can't understate, something that was very beneficial to me is don't underestimate how much the mentor can really help you. And I think that's one thing that I was able to take advantage of through meeting Seven, the FGI president at Harvard, and then seeing everything else he was doing, he introduced me to another program that he was president of, so then I joined that program as a high school student, where it's meant for college students, you know, he's so he's really been helping me get and get my foot in the door early on. So I think that's something that other students should take advantage of, as well. So definitely, definitely talk to your mentors and keep those relationships.


Elizabeth:

Yeah, definitely. I think there’s a very important connection to bridge between the FGI students and the College mentors. I wish you the best of luck. Congrats, again, on your acceptance. Thank you so much.


Peirce:

It's good to meet you and talk to you. Thank you again. Have a good day.