Alumni

MSQE Alumni Panel on April 29, 2021

MSQE Program alumni Claudia Rodriguez (MSQE December 2019) and Jonathan Gonzalez (MSQE December 2019) participated in a virtual MSQE Alumni Networking Panel on April 29th.

Claudia currently works at Moody’s Investor Service, as a Structured Finance Associate Analyst, where she works on the Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities team, and the Collateralized Loan Obligations team.

Jonathan currently works for a Connecticut Non-Profit advocacy group.  He is currently providing data analytics research support for advocacy of Connecticut Senate Bill 842 An Act Concerning Health Insurance and Health Care in Connecticut.

They spoke highly of their MSQE training in Python, and R, the value of networking and recommended applying for summer internships.  In conversation about deadlines, it was mentioned that in industry meeting deadlines is crucial, not like class deadlines where professors’ give extensions.

The panel was moderated by Professor Harmon.

Spring 2021 Awards

Uconn sealWhile the department is not able to celebrate with an awards banquet this year, we still are able to recognize the best among undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty! This year’s award recipients are:

Undergraduate Awards

Economics Department General Scholarship

Jasmine Kuyateh-Banks
Melissa Mendez
Kelly-Anne Moffa
Joslin Valiyaveettil
Clare Wieduwilt
Linge Yang
Michael Zhu

Kathryn A. Cassidy Economics Scholarship

Lauren Pawlowski

Rockwood Q. P. Chin Scholarship

Ryan Durrell
Cole Ensinger
Yue Sun

Louis D. Traurig Scholarship

Kader Akpinar
Susan Bailey
Prasad Gosavi
SeSe Nguyen

Paul N. Taylor Memorial Prize

Brendan Adams

Julia & Harold Fenton and Yolanda & Augustine Sineti Scholarship

Linge Yang

Charles Triano Scholarship

Matthew Petridis

Dr. Joseph W. McAnneny Jr. Scholarship

Kelly-Anne Moffa
Benjamin Scudder
Kira Smith
Alexander Taylor
Joslin Valiyaveettil
Clare Wieduwilt
Michael Zhu

Robert J. Monte Scholarship

Isadore Johnson

Ross Mayer Scholarship

John Peterson
Ajshe Zulfi


Graduate Awards

W. Harrison Carter Award

Jinsoon Cho
Jingwei Huang

Abraham Ribicoff Graduate Fellowship

Miranda Mendiola Valdez

Timothy A. and Beverly C. Holt Economics Fellowship

Yijia Gao
Anastassiya Karaban
Ha Kyeong Lee
Kunze Li
Ghania Shuaib
Jiaqi Wang
Yangkeun Yun

Albert E. Waugh Scholarship

Umesh Ghimire

Economics Department General Scholarship

Tiange Du
Xuejian Gong
Ruohan Huang
Benjamin Taraskevich
Ziyun Wu
Yizhi Zhu

Best Third Year Paper Award

Lindsey Buck, awarded for her paper “Head Start Improves Health and Welfare 25 Years After Participation”

Graduate School Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

Faisal Algosair
Abdulmohsen Almuhaisen
Erdal Asker
Birenda Budha
Dingxian Cao
Jingyun Chen
Zhenhao Gong
Treena Goswami
Huarui Jing
Chuang Li
Chun Li
Xizi Li
Tongan Liu
Deepak Saraswat
Rui Sun
Victor Volkman
Jinning Wang
Haoxiang Xu
Heli Xu
Heshan Zhang
Wei Zheng


Faculty Awards

Grillo Family Research Award

Jorge Agüero

Grillo Family Teaching Award

Natalia Smirnova

 

Congratulations to everyone!

MSQE Alumni Panel

Two alumni of the MSQE Program participated in a virtual MSQE Alumni Networking Panel on March 18th:

Louis Booth: MSQE Dec 2018

John Rolfe:  MSQE Dec 2019

Louis currently works at Travelers, as a Consultant Analytics and Research Development, where he is on the  Advanced Tools and Technologies Team.  John  currently works at Spreetail as a Demand Planner where he does demand forecasting.

They spoke highly of their MSQE training in Python, R, and Tableau, and gave several examples of how they use these skills in their current positions.

The panel was moderated by Professor Harmon.

Diverse Journeys: Social Sciences Alumni Career Panel

On Thursday, February 25th, 2021, UConn Stamford students were treated to a special discussion “Diverse Journeys: Social Sciences Alumni Career Panel” featuring UConn Stamford alumni of color who majored in social sciences and now work in a variety of interesting and diverse careers.

The panelists were:

Daniel Caceres ’14 (CLAS), Real Estate Agent, YB Realty.

Saif Syed ’16 (CLAS), Investment Banking Associate, Goldman Sachs.

Destini Pereira ’19 (CLAS), Associate Project Manager, Lockwood.

Andrea Lopez ’14 (CLAS), Research Associate, Teachers College, Columbia University.

The participants shared candid insights and perspectives about job search and navigating the workplace as a person of color. Panelists also provided perspectives on how their educational experiences at UConn Stamford shaped their career journeys and put them on the path to success.

This event was organized by UConn Stamford — Department of Economics, Department of Political Science, the Center for Career Development, and the Honors Program in partnership with the UConn Foundation.

The recording of the event can be watched using this link.

Econ PhD Alumnus is Chief Economist for Macro Policy at the CEA

Aaron Cooke, a 2018 PhD graduate of the UConn Department of Economics, recently became the Chief Economist for Macroeconomic Policy at the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA).

The CEA, an agency within the Executive Office of the President, is charged with offering the President objective economic advice on the formulation of both domestic and international economic policy.

Aaron earned his PhD degree from the Department of Economics in 2018, specializing in macroeconomics and public policy. His PhD dissertation, “Three Essays on Wealth and Income Inequality”, studied the causes of U.S. wealth and income inequality, and was completed under the supervision of Professor Kai Zhao.

Prior to joining the CEA, Aaron was an economist at the Office of Management and Budget.

Wei Zheng’s research on the Child Tax Credit featured by Niskanen Center

PhD candidate Wei Zheng’s job market paper “Child Tax Credit and Maternal Labor Supply” has been featured in a post by the Niskanen Center:

New research finds the Child Tax Credit promotes work

From the post:

“The work incentive created by the Earned Income Tax Credit has been the subject of extensive study for decades now, with generally positive results. The pro-work potential of the Child Tax Credit (CTC), in contrast, has been relatively ignored.

A new job market paper from Wei Zheng, a PhD candidate at the University of Connecticut, attempts to fill this gap in the literature. Using event study and simulation techniques, Zheng provides new and detailed estimates of the effect of the Child Tax Credit on maternal labor supply. The headline finding: a $1000 increase in the average CTC is associated with a 1.1 percentage point increase in labor force participation for single mothers.”

More information about Wei Zheng and her research may be found online at https://weizhengecon.wixsite.com/website

Stamford Team Competes in the College Fed Challenge 2020

This year, the College Fed Challenge competition was virtual. It was a challenging transition to understand the intricacies of new rules and regulations and to pivot in September to be ready by October 9. But the UConn-Stamford team was well-organized, enthusiastic, and well-prepared to put forward the arguments that the current economic situation warrants keeping the target federal funds rate unchanged.

The 2020 team consisted of five Stamford students: Cullen Murphy (ACES, sophomore), You Kim (Financial Management and Economics, senior), Shayla Siljkovic (Linguistics and Philosophy, sophomore), Eileen Zhu (Economics, junior), and Rashana Weerasinghe (Business Data Analytics, sophomore). They worked virtually; very diligently, creatively, and collaboratively. They describe the challenges of this new environment as the loss of a camaraderie of in-person interactions, technical difficulties, and physical isolation. However, the presentation that they put forward combines the intellectual rigor of each member, deep research of economic indicators, and a collective vision of what the forecast of current economic conditions looks like.

You can watch their presentation here.

Our team did not make the next round of the competition this year, which is, of course, disappointing. However, the learning that has occurred was a worthwhile experience. First, each student has developed an expertise in a selected economic indicator or industry: each team member researched, constructed graphs, and made connections with overall economic development as well as with monetary policy implications. Furthermore, students gained highly valuable skills such as critical thinking and teamwork. These are the skills that are transferable to other professional environments such as a graduate school or a workplace.

You can read the students’ reflections here:

Cullen Murphy – Stamford Fed Challenge 2020

You Kim – Stamford Fed Challenge 2020

Shayla Siljkovic – Stamford Fed Challenge 2020

Rashana Weerasinghe – Stamford Fed Challenge 2020

Eileen Zhu – Stamford Fed Challenge 2020

The course that will be used to prepare a team for the next year’s competition is ECON 3492 – Practicum. It is offered every semester. Stamford students who are interested in joining the team should contact Dr. Smirnova. The student’s major does not matter – all majors are welcome! What matters is the desire to learn about the economy and monetary policy, and to be open-minded to work well in a team.

 

Stamford Campus Hosts Women Alumnae

Students at Stamford campus were treated to an amazing event on November 12, 2020. A virtual panel discussion featuring UConn Stamford alumnae who majored in social sciences (COMM, ECON, HDFS and POLS) called “Breaking the Mold: Women in Social Sciencesattracted almost 100 students.

A recording of the event may be found online at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQK8qMAPrXs&feature=youtu.be

The five UConn Stamford alumnae who were featured work in a variety of interesting and diverse careers. These women created their own paths, in unconventional ways, in areas where women are often underrepresented. During the event, they provided insights into how their educational experiences at UConn shaped their career journeys and put them on the path to success!

Panelists:

  • Harriet Munrett Wolfe (’76 CLAS) is the Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Webster Bank and Webster Financial Corporate. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from UConn and a J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law.
  • Maureen Hanley (’92 CLAS) is the Senior Vice President of The First Bank of Greenwich. Maureen has a bachelor’s degree in political science from UConn.
  • Anne McAuley Lopez (’96 CLAS) is the lead writer and owner of McAuley Freelance Writing. She has a bachelor’s degree in economics from UConn.
  • Katherine Velez (’10 CLAS) is a Research Coordinator at Columbia University Medical Center. She has a bachelor’s degree from UConn in Human Development and Family Studies and an MSW from Fordham University.
  • Brianna Walston (’17 CLAS) is the Founder of Brianna Regine Visionary Consulting, LLC. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications from UConn.

Students learned how one’s career evolves post-graduation, how to find a mentor, and how to navigate the job search environment during the pandemic. During the Q&A, students asked questions about challenges that women face in the workplace and how to leverage one’s education and mentorship relationships for the successful steering of a career.

Overall, the panelists offered many positive and constructive suggestions, helping students keep faith in themselves even during the uncertain times of a pandemic.

This program was hosted by UConn Stamford: Political Science and Economics Departments, the Center for Career Development, and the Honors Program in partnership with the UConn Foundation.

By Natalia V. Smirnova

Recent PhD Ria Bhattacharya publishes on COVID-19

Recent graduate Ria Bhattacharya (PhD 2019) has published an article “COVID-19: G-20’s Response to Education” in the August 2020 volume of G-20 Digest.

Abstract: This paper examines the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on education. It discusses G20 current status in the education sector and its response to COVID-19 impact on education. The paper highlights the challenges thrust upon the G20 economies concerning education, a crucial sector in any economy. Currently, there are over 23 million confirmed cases globally, with the United States leading the death count at 176000 deaths and counting, due to COVID-19. As the entire world braces itself for a severe recession comparable to the Great Depression which will have long-lasting effects on every sector of the global economy, we examine how G20 nations can provide leadership in provision of education during the current crisis.

The article may be found at https://www.ris.org.in/journals-n-newsletters/G20-Digest, and is also linked online at https://mobile.twitter.com/RIS_NewDelhi/status/1303781794030862340

Pilot Project Approved for Professor Agüero and PhD Student Mendiola

Professor Jorge Agüero and third year PhD student Miranda Mendiola’s proposal “Role models: Information and Gender Stereotypes” for a pilot project, sponsored by the Innovation Laboratory for Cost-Effective Educational Policy – MineduLAB in the Peruvian Ministry of Education, has been approved.

Their project has the objective of reducing gender stereotypes and improving grades for high school students through the use of role models. Traditionally, efforts to reduce gender gaps have focused on empowering women. Professor Agüero and Miranda’s project focuses on changing the perception of both genders’ abilities by showing students movies that have young main characters being successful in careers that are nontraditional for their gender. They hope to improve women’s scores in STEM courses, where they traditionally perform worse, and also to improve men’s scores in courses they traditionally struggle with (Spanish and history). They will measure changes in gender bias through a questionnaire and a game, with the objective of measuring both explicit and implicit biases. 

This project will hopefully be a pilot for a larger project in Peru, aiding in the reduction of gender bias in Peruvian schools.