Georgia native, KSU alum only full-time woman trader at New York Stock Exchange

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2017's stock market gains saw the average bonus paid to Wall Street workers up 17%. The average 2017 bonus was $184,220. The median wage for U.S. workers was $44,564 per year. Pre-tax profits for NYSE member firms was up 42% as well.

Lauren Simmons, 23, graduated from Kennesaw State University in 2016

The finance industry is a male-dominated business. However, one Georgian is making history as the only full-time woman trader at the New York Stock Exchange.

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Lauren Simmons is an equity trader for Rosenblatt Securities. At 23-years-old, she isn’t just the sole full-time woman employee. She is also the youngest.

"When I tell people what my job is they are always surprised," she told CNBC Make It. "It's surreal."

Simmons didn't originally pursue a career in finance though. She had planned to go the medical route. In December 2016, she graduated from Kennesaw State University, where she majored in genetics and minored in statistics.

But she realized medicine was not her passion and decided to tap into her other interests, such as finance. That’s how she landed her current position, which she began in March 2017.

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It was no easy feat. She had to pass the Series 19, the exam all floor brokers must pass to earn their badge. About 80 percent fail it.

“When everyone kept saying, ‘It's a hard test. Don't worry if you don't pass.’ For me, I needed to pass to prove to myself that I could do this.”

Now Simmons is living out her dreams.

"The one thing that I love about numbers and statistics, and kind of one of the reasons I came to the New York Stock Exchange, is because numbers are a universal language," she explains. 

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While Simmons acknowledges that the financial services industry is making slight shifts, she said there’s still a long way to go. That’s why she encourages women in finances to not limit themselves.

“Be uncomfortable and go after what you want,” she advised. “Apply for the job — you have no idea what lies behind the door. And if you don't get the job, it's OK. Apply for the next job and move forward. Don't let that be a stop in your career, your life or whatever you want to do. I think it's important to just keep going.”

Read Simmons full story here

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