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Banking on Success

NC State alumna balances working for the Federal Reserve Bank with attending graduate school and promoting her first book.

Alumna Elizabeth Medlin

On any given day, NC State alumna Elizabeth Medlin is busy juggling multiple responsibilities.

Working for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
Completing assignments for her master’s degree.
Promoting her first book, which she started as a college student.

Medlin, who graduated with degrees in Spanish and international studies, thrives amid the hustle and bustle of her daily routine. She always has.

For the 2014 graduate her undergraduate experience was the springboard to her diverse personal and professional pursuits -— from discovering new cultures and realizing her passion for international volunteering to carving out a career in financial services and writing a book.

“It (her time at NC State) was such a wonderful four years of my life, and it really set me up for success, both in and out of my career,” she added.

Medlin works as a senior business analyst for the Federal Reserve Financial Services (FRFS) organization within the Federal Reserve System, where she said she helps identify and manage risks for FRFS. The Richmond bank is one of 12 regional banks that comprise the Federal Reserve System, the central bank of the U.S.  

That’s a hefty responsibility but Medlin is up to the task. She has worked in different positions at the bank since 2019, rising to her current role in 2023.

Elizabeth Medlin
Elizabeth Medlin

Before that, she held various jobs in the financial services industry, including as a data analyst for the London Stock Exchange Group in Charlotte, North Carolina, and as a consultant for Columbia University’s Impact Investing Initiative.

Additionally, she earned a graduate certificate from Columbia University focusing on math and economics and is pursuing a master’s degree in business analytics. She also volunteers (virtually) as a data analyst for Statistics Without Borders, an international nonprofit that provides pro bono statistical consulting and assistance to groups or governments to help deal with health issues.

Of following a financial services path she said, “I realized I wanted to combine the qualitative skills I learned with the Spanish and international studies degrees with more quantitative pursuits, such as math, economics and data analytics.”

Since then, Medlin said she has used her international studies degree in a quantitative manner.

Here’s how: She worked for a North Carolina startup that developed technology to purify foods and beverages, which she helped market in North Carolina and Africa.

Then, she moved to the London Stock Exchange and worked on the Financial Times Stock Exchange indices. “I considered stocks in various countries around the world for potential inclusion in the indices,” she noted.

As for her language skills, Medlin said she speaks Spanish a few times a week. “So, that degree is getting good use,” she added.

NC State is also where she jokingly said she was bitten by the travel bug.

 “I am grateful for all the life skills they gave me, and the curiosity about the world they imparted that has motivated me to keep reaching for new successes and adventures.

“I got my first passport at the passport fair on campus, and I’ll always be grateful for that,” she said.

It was a study abroad trip to Guatemala that also inspired her passion for international volunteering and to write, The New International Volunteer: A Hands-On Guide to Sustainable & Inclusive Development. The author penned the initial draft in her dorm room the summer after her sophomore year.

Medlin, who has volunteered and traveled throughout the Americas and Europe, reworked that early book draft on and off over the next several years. Her book was published last spring.

What’s the book’s main point? “Volunteering is about the people who will be impacted by it, not the volunteers and what they want their experience to be like,” she said. 

Looking back on her time at NC State Medlin said she enjoyed her classes and professors. She also emphasized that she is grateful. 

“I am grateful for all the life skills they gave me, and the curiosity about the world they imparted that has motivated me to keep reaching for new successes and adventures,” she said.

So what’s ahead?  Medlin said she will continue to combine her quantitative skills with the qualitative skills she learned at NC State through her volunteer work at Statistics Without Borders and other similar organizations — like Microfunds and DataKind — she hopes to help once she completes her graduate work in August.

When asked how she balances her different interests and responsibilities, Medlin said consistency and time management are key. She added that it is also important to have an outlet, which for her is to go salsa and bachata dancing each week.

Her advice to those with similar career aspirations is candid and direct. “Persistence will get you anywhere you want to go,” she said. “You don’t have to be the most skilled, just the most dedicated and unwavering.”

Elizabeth’s views are hers and do not necessarily reflect those of the Richmond Fed or the Federal Reserve System.