Wall Street by Day, Weight Room by Night

When Tristan Lopez isn't crunching numbers, he's crushing world records.

The Franklin & Marshall College sophomore, who spent the summer as an intern at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), broke a world mark for his age and weight class during a New York powerlifting meet in July, deadlifting 500 pounds.

"When I was on the exchange floor, I was always thinking about what lifts I was going to do that night," said Lopez, who spent the summer learning the ropes of stock trading in New York City. "But at night, in the gym, I was thinking, 'Wow, I just shook hands with the CEO of the New York Stock Exchange.'"

After missing the final cut for F&M's baseball team last spring, Lopez was looking for a new physical challenge. "I decided to start lifting weights," he said. "I did a lot of research on powerlifting and nutrition."

Powerlifting consists of three lifts: the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift. To perform a deadlift, the lifter bends at the knees, back straight, picks up a loaded barbell and stands up, locking his knees before placing the bar back on the floor.

  • During a powerlifting meet in New York City this summer, Lopez hoists a 500-poind deadlift, setting a record for amateur males in his age and weight class. Image Credit: Courtesy of Tristan Lopez

Lopez joined Universal Athletic Club after seeing a flier for the local powerlifting organization. At his first meet, he lifted a total of 960 pounds across the three lifts. At his second competition this summer, he lifted a total of 1,025 pounds, including the record-setting 500-pound deadlift. Lopez's deadlift broke the Revolution Powerlifting Syndicate's world record for amateur males ages 18-19 in the 148-pound weight class.

Bonchek College House Dean Beth Proffitt said Lopez, a resident of Bonchek, is a good example of an F&M student pursuing new interests and forging his or her own path.

"Because of our small community (2,300 students and a 9:1 student-faculty ratio), a student can strive in a lot of different areas," she said. "And Tristan went the extra step to engage with the Lancaster community and take advantage of local resources."

Lopez's NYSE internship was an encore, of sorts.

"My high school had an internship program for people who might be interested in business," he said. "So my senior year, I went to work on Wall Street. And this summer, I was invited back for a second year."

During his internship, Lopez observed daily trading activity on the NYSE floor and attended lectures by prominent Wall Street figures, including former Goldman Sachs president John Thain and the NYSE CEO Duncan L. Niederauer.

"My first year, I was nervous and overwhelmed by the fast-paced environment," Lopez said. "But my second year, I was very comfortable and open to learning new things."

Lopez's internship was sponsored by Mogavero, Lee and Co., a trading firm with a seat on the NYSE trading floor. At the end of his two-week internship, Lopez delivered a marketing presentation to select exchange board members, explaining why potential clients should choose NYSE over its rival exchange, NASDAQ.

Lopez plans to declare a major in Business, Organizations and Society, with a minor in Hispanic Cultures. "When I first got to F&M, I didn't know what major I wanted to declare," he said. "But after this internship, I know what I want to do."

He said powerlifting has benefited him so much that he wants to introduce the sport to fellow students, perhaps by establishing a powerlifting club on campus.

Lopez said his F&M experience in the classroom has helped him focus in the weight room, too.

"Professors make you work hard, and this sport is also all about consistency. You have to be in the weight room five or six days a week. It's all about getting in the weight room and doing what you have to do."

  • F&M sophomore Tristan Lopez prepares for another day on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor. He spent his summer on Wall Street, interning with trading firm Mogavero, Lee and Co. Image Credit: Tristan Lopez
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