PhD alumna to study the Russian Far-East

Dr. Natalia V Smirnova is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Business and Economics at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, Riverdale, NY. Her areas of expertise include Russian economic transformation, issues of women in the labor force and pedagogical matters related to active learning techniques. She holds BA in Economics and Ph.D. in Statistics from St. Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance, Russia; MA in Economics from Queens College/CUNY, and Ph. D. in Economics from the University of Connecticut, the latter under the supervision of Prof. Alpert.

Dr. Smirnova participated in the Teaching Innovations Program (TIP) sponsored by the Committee on Economic Education of the American Economic Association and funded by the National Science Foundation, and completed “Experiments” and “Cooperative Learning Exercises” modules. For outstanding teaching practices and overall command with students she received Wal-Mart Teaching Excellence Award presented by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), Region 1, in 2007.

She was selected in late May for the US Embassy Policy Specialist (EPS) program, which is coordinated through the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX). This program supports US embassies and consulates overseas by providing policy specialists-in-residence. Dr. Smirnova will be in the U.S. Consulate in Vladivostok, Russia, during March-April 2010 researching the current and future states of economic development in the Russian Far East and the opportunities for improvement of labor market participation of Russian women.

The Russian Far East is an important regional power, both within Russia and within the Pacific Rim. The infrastructure, economic diversification, competitiveness, entrepreneurship, environment and energy efficiency of the region are among the priorities cited by different sources. During this assignment, Dr. Smirnova intends to conduct economic analysis of policies and projects in these priority areas. The focus is to find ways to attract U.S. businesses and investors to the Russian Far East.

The second part of the project is planned to study women’s labor force participation with the aim of identifying policies that could increase the employment opportunities for American companies doing business in Russia. Dr. Smirnova would like to gain a better understanding of factors affecting women’s labor market outcomes, especially in foreign firms.