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When Kyla Scanlon graduated from Western Kentucky University (WKU) in 2019, she received a bracelet from a professor. She wears it every day as the message engraved on the piece of jewelry holds a special meaning. It reads, “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”

On Wednesday, November 15, she had a chance to reconnect with the professor who gave her that special item–Dr. Cathy Carey, Professor of Economics in the University of Southern Indiana Romain College of Business. Carey taught Scanlon while at WKU, and the two founded the Women in Economics Club, which has since transformed into Women in Business.

“She’s always been supportive. I’d always come to her with these different ideas, and she’d be like, ‘Go ahead’,” Scanlon said. “She’s just always been there for me and helped me in a lot of different ways. A professor is someone who teaches you, but they can also be a mentor, and she was one of my first mentors. I’m very grateful.”

Scanlon, Social Content Creator and Founder of the financial education company, Bread, presented “In This Economy? How Money and Markets Really Work” in front of a full house of students, faculty and administrators on Wednesday. The presentation was made possible by the generous support of Berger Wealth Services at Baird Private Wealth Management and the USI Foundation.

Just a few years ago, Scanlon was in the same shoes as the students who watched her presentation. Now, she has the opportunity to visit different colleges and talk to students about the economy. Her journey has taken her all over the country over the past couple of years as she’s chatted with business students at institutions such as the University of California, Berkeley and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“I think showing people there’s a different career path in finance and economics is always really helpful,” Scanlon said. “You can do things your own way. It’s always a joy to come and talk with students.”

Scanlon has garnered a wide following on a variety of social media platforms by sharing financial knowledge in quick video segments aimed at the Gen Z audience. She has more than 423,000 combined followers and subscribers on Instagram, X, TikTok and YouTube. In addition to her social media content, she has her own podcast called “Let’s Appreciate,” a newsletter with over 51,000 subscribers on SubStack and a book, In This Economy? How Money and Markets Really Work, that will be released in April 2024.

Her presentation at USI focused on several different topics in economics such as inflation, the Federal Reserve, the housing market, recessions and how people’s emotions impact how they view the economy.

“People are the economy, and the economy matters,” Scanlon said. “The economy is an important thing to understand because it can help you make better decisions if you understand what is happening and why.”

She also discussed how her quick TikTok videos were initially created to provide people insight into everything that happens with the economy on a daily basis. Her videos have become a way for people to better understand the technical language and themes of economics.

Her hope is that through becoming a financial educator on a variety of platforms, viewers of all ages--especially the Gen-Z audience—can unwrap what’s going on within the economy.

“There’s so much jargon that it can cause confusion in finance and economics,” Scanlon said. “There are so many words that don’t make sense. How can you break it down for people when weird things happen? I try to make it more tangible for viewers.”

Scanlon started her career as an Associate at Capital Group, a financial services company, conducting macroeconomic analysis and modeling investment strategies. She earned bachelor’s degrees in economics, finance and data analytics from WKU in 2019.