BA profile

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

Alumnus creates scholarship for Economics undergraduates

Most students begin their careers in earnest when they graduate from college. But Ross Mayer (BA Economics 1970) started his career in college, selling life insurance policies to students, Storrs residents and others in Connecticut and New York. He was so good at it that Connecticut General Life Insurance Company hired him right out of UConn, eventually making him a branch manager in Boston. Ten years later, he set out on his own.

His commitment to learning the business – and to connecting with his clients – defined his career. A full-service financial planner who is an associate of Commonwealth Financial Group, a MassMutual agency in Boston, he recently established a President’s Challenge Award for a UConn economics student in need.

Mayer had made a planned gift to UConn earlier, after he received a diagnosis of terminal prostate cancer. But with the help of a UConn Foundation development officer, who, Mayer says, “really had the kids at UConn at heart,” he created the scholarship to have an impact now, during his lifetime.

For a complete story, see Our Moment, the UConn Foundation’s e-newsletter.

Teju Owoye: Checking in from San Diego

Since graduating in May 2007, with a major in Economics and a minor in Business, Teju Owoye served as an Account Manager at Aetna’s corporate offices in Charlotte, North Carolina. Working in Aetna’s National Accounts division, she managed the company’s relationship with nine major employers that have health insurance contracts with Aetna. While at Aetna, Teju also directed activities related to the company’s $225,000 investment in the American Heart Association’s “Start Charlotte” program—an effort to promote better health habits within corporations and the community. Teju’s contributions to the program were highlighted in the September 2009 issue of Corporate Incentive Travel and the Spring 2010 issue of Ballantyne Magazine. In 2008, Aetna recognized Teju’s accomplishments by selecting her for the Aetna Way Excellence Award in Leadership.

During her tenure at Aetna, Teju developed a passion for helping individuals achieve their health and wellness goals through positive lifestyle changes. She is the founder of the Inspire Change Workshop, which is a seminar designed to teach corporate employees how make time for healthy eating and exercise during the day. Recently, Teju left Aetna to pursue her passion full time in San Diego, CA. She is currently working as a personal trainer in Solana Beach, CA. She also is piloting the Inspire Change Workshop in California, while starting a health and fitness consulting business.

Teju plans to continue her education by pursuing a master’s degree in health policy, and she is currently co-authoring a paper (“The Impact of Current Global Economic and Financial Crisis on the Economies of Emerging and Developing Regions”) with her father, Dr. Oluwole Owoye, a Professor of Economics at Western Connecticut State University.

Economics alumnus runs for Senate seat

Noted economist, fund manager, entrepreneur, race car builder, and UCONN alumnus Warren Mosler is seeking the office of US Senate to add ‘fixed the US economy’ to his long list of accomplishments. Mosler, a native of Connecticut who graduated from Storrs with a B. A. in Economics in 1971 is running for the US Senate seat being vacated by Senator Christopher Dodd.

Since graduation, Warren has spent 37 years in various financial institutions from Manchester, Hartford, New York, Chicago, and South Florida, including the founding III Offshore Advisors in 1982 and, in 1983, AVM L.P., a broker/dealer providing advanced financial services to large institutional clients. During these years he developed numerous investing strategies utilizing US Government securities and created the mortgage swap and euro swap futures contract. He maintains strong connections to the academic world as Co-Founder, along with L. Randall Wray, of the Center for Full Employment And Price Stability at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. Mosler also has supported research projects and graduate students at the London School of Economics, the New School, Harvard University, and the University of Newcastle, Australia. Additionally, Warren is an Associate Fellow at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Warren is the author of numerous publications, of which the latest is ‘The Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds of Economic Policy’ (Mosler, 2010), which challenges several contemporary assumptions about the relationship between government spending, federal debt, and taxation and opens the door to an immediate return to economic prosperity.

Warren is the original contemporary proponent of what has come to be called Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). MMT begins with the operational fact that Federal taxes serve to regulate aggregate demand, rather than to raise revenue per se, and that funds to pay Federal taxes indeed originate from government spending itself. Warren’s campaign platform is based on three proposals designed to fix the nation’s economy within 90 days. The three proposals are as follows:


  1. Declare a “payroll tax holiday” where the U.S. Treasury will suspend deduction of all FICA taxes. That means the take home pay of someone earning $50,000 a year will rise by approximately $325 per month, fixing the economy from the bottom up, vs the current top-down bailout method.
  2. An unrestricted $500 per capita Federal revenue sharing distribution to all the State governments. This proposal mean about $1.75 billion for Connecticut.
  3. Fund an $8/hr. National Service Jobs program for anyone willing and able to work to facilitate the transition from unemployment to private sector employment, as the first two proposals will cause the large increases in private sectors business sales that quickly translates into the millions of new jobs we desperately need.

Since leaving Connecticut for Wall Street in 1976, Warren has lived and worked in New York City, Chicago, South Florida, and the US Virgin Islands. Additionally, while in Florida, he founded Mosler Automotive, which produces the world’s top performing sport cars. Warren returned to Connecticut this year to run for the US Senate solely as a matter of conscience, and not ambition. He sees himself as uniquely qualified to fix the economic problems facing the US economy.

Honors alumnus to be honored by UConn Honors program

Roger Ballentine, 1985 Honors Economics BA, will be recognized on April 30 by the UConn Honors program as one of the 2010 Honors Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients. Mr. Ballentine is President of Green Strategies Inc., an environmental consulting firm based in Washinction, D.C., working with clients in the energy and environmental arena on public policy matters, investment guidance in the “clean tech” marketplace, marketing and business development strategies, sustainability, and capital formation. Mr. Ballentine was a senior member of the White House staff in the Clinton Administration as Chairman of the White House Climate Change Task Force and Deputy Assistant to the President for Environmental Initiatives. Previous to these duties, he was Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, where he focused on energy and environmental issues. He is a frequent radio and television commentator.

Mr. Ballentine graduated magna cum laude from UConn, then cum laude from the Harvard Law School. He is a member of the bar in Connecticut, the District of Columbia and the US Supreme Court. He serves on many boards, in particular as founding board member of the American Council on Renewable Energy and on the International Advisory Council of the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He is also a Lecturer at the Harvard Law School, teaching in the area of energy and climate policy, and a Senior Fellow at the Progessive Policy Institute.

When Stockton speaks, Bernanke listens

When Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke speaks about economic issues, the nation listens. But who does Bernanke listen to?

One person on the short list is David J. Stockton ’76 B.A., ’76 M.A., who speaks almost daily with Bernanke in his role as chief economist for the Fed, the agency that directs the nation’s central bank, establishes national monetary policy and monitors the country’s economic health.

As director of the Federal Reserve’s Division of Research and Statistics, Stockton oversees one of the world’s largest economic research teams – approximately 290 economists, financial analysts, computer scientists, research assistants and other personnel. Stockton and his staff sort through and interpret information streaming from the country’s financial markets each day. One of Stockton’s primary responsibilities is presenting periodic economic forecasts to the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) on job losses, housing wealth and business spending. These reports help to determine how much you pay in interest on your credit card and how much banks may charge you for taking out home or auto loans.

Read more in the UConn Alumni Magazine.