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Q&A with Yasi Bastaniasl '14

Yasi Bastaniasl ’14 works on the CCAR Audit Team at Bank of America. In her free time, she is a pilates instructor at [solidcore] and also volunteers with Children of Promise, NYC and Invest in Girls. She graduated from St. Joseph’s University with a bachelor’s degree in finance and risk management.

What interested you in finance?
I started out majoring in biology. My entire life I thought I wanted to go into medicine, so I did two years of bio until I realized that it wasn’t my passion. I realized that when I woke up in the morning I didn’t look forward to going to class, which was weird for me because I love school and I love learning. So it took me a little bit of time to figure out what my passion was, because I didn’t really know much else besides bio. I took a semester off from bio and took electives. I took a little bit of everything, and when I took my finance class, it really just clicked and everything finally fell into place. 

The first class I took was called Markets and Institutions, and it was all about the financial crisis and the stock market. I think it’s because it was something I was never familiar with that interested me. I never realized how many aspects went into the financial crisis. It was such a complex topic in a good way that I enjoyed solving the problems, and it was satisfying to get to that conclusion. It was challenging in a good way. I’ve always enjoyed the analytical side of things. It just made sense for the way my brain operates.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I enjoy volunteering a lot. I also teach pilates classes on the side. I teach early morning and evening classes at [solidcore], so it’s not something that affects my work schedule. It’s something that I love to do on the side, and it gives me a whole other community and a whole other hobby.

Tell me about your volunteer experience.
I volunteer with two different organizations. One is called Children of Promise, NYC, and that’s with children whose parents are incarcerated. We’re paired up with someone, and pre-COVID we would meet up once a week. It was really fascinating seeing how great these kids are, and it’s an unfortunate situation these kids are put in and it really affects their upbringing, but Children of Promise has done a really great job of providing them resources to be able to get a better opportunity than they normally would. In a normal year we would do fun events for the kids; last year we did a dodgeball tournament. This year we did a virtual event that I was in charge of setting up. We did a virtual 5K in July, and we raised close to $20,000, which was amazing. That’s really fulfilling.

I’m also involved with another organization called Invest in Girls, which is a mentorship program. This program partners with different private schools in the Northeast, and girls who want to learn more about financial services are paired with mentors. So I serve as one of the mentors. There’s a lack in financial education, so it’s great for girls who want to consider that career path, and all the mentors have different backgrounds in finance.

Was your interest in volunteering something that stemmed from your time at Tower Hill?
100 percent. It was something that was so emphasized at Tower Hill. That mindset was instilled in us as we were growing up, so after I graduated it was weird to even think about not volunteering. It felt like part of my life, so that’s why I went out of my way to find these organizations to be involved with once I was out of school.

What was your experience like at Tower Hill?
I loved my time there. I was an immigrant. We came here right before ninth grade; we moved here two weeks before I started at Tower Hill. I knew absolutely nothing about the school. It definitely taught me a lot, but it was honestly an amazing experience. As an immigrant coming into a private school where everybody knew each other since they were four years old, I thought it would be really hard to transition and I wouldn’t be accepted, but that wasn’t the case. There wasn’t a single day where I didn’t feel accepted and didn’t feel like part of the community. I learned so much. I built connections with my peers and my teachers. From an academic perspective, I noticed a huge difference when I got to college. When we were in high school I didn’t really know any different, but when I got to college I noticed how I organized myself and handled my classes versus other peers who also were super smart, but that difference was noticeable.