Announcements

Economics Major Nidhi Nair is UConn’s First Schwarzman Scholar

Nidhi Jayakumar Nair in Oak Hall
Nidhi Nair in Oak Hall (Sydney Herdle/UConn Photo)

Economics undergraduate student Nidhi Nair has been featured in UConn Today as the university's first-ever recipient of the prestigious Schwarzman Scholar award.

Nair is an honors student double-majoring in economics and mathematics-statistics and was selected from more than 3,000 applicants to join a cohort of 150 other Schwarzman scholars from around the world in Beijing to complete a one-year master's degree. Recipients of this award are selected on the basis of leadership abilities and potential to bridge political and cultural differences.

Nidhi Nair founded last year's Invisible Hand Economics seminar series and is the president of the UConn Economics Society, as well as being involved in the Women and Minorities in Economics organization here at UConn. Nair has worked on multiple economics research projects here at UConn, and has completed several research and advocacy focused internships at different organizations.

Nair noted the support of her Honors advisor, Economics Professor Richard Langlois in her interview for UConn Today: "Dr. Langlois has also been a source of support and has provided invaluable advice on carving out a strong career in economics that advances my interests in socioeconomic mobility and microeconomic analysis."

Read the full article online: Nidhi Nair '23 Named UConn's First Schwarzman Scholar

Two Competitions for the Stamford Fed Challenge and FDIC Academic Challenge Team

UConn -Stamford Team 2022.
From left to right back row: Anthony Santiago, Neel Talati, Jonathan Portanova, Robert Martin, James McQuade. From left to right front row: Alyssa Pelletier, Briana Hardy

This Fall, Stamford students enrolled in ECON 3492 “Practicum” participated not in one, but in two national competitions: College Fed Challenge and FDIC Academic Challenge.

Dr. Natalia Smirnova, Stamford “Practicum” instructor, argues that each competition is unique and encourages students to develop different skills that are valuable to their future career. This year, she added FDIC Academic Challenge as a complementary activity to the existing “Practicum” structure. The timing works perfectly: Fed Challenge is heavy at the beginning of the semester (submission in October), FDIC Challenge starts in November. The skills that students learn are complementary: the Fed Challenge focuses on the oral presentation skills and macroeconomic knowledge; the FDIC Challenge focuses on the writing skills (students write an analytical report) and microeconomic analysis. Both competitions have learning goals of data literacy, analytical, research skills, teamwork, and economic analysis.

The Stamford 2022 team consisted of seven students.

Alyssa Pelletier (Team Leader) is a Junior majoring in Financial Management at UConn. This is her second semester on the College Fed Challenge team. Her interests include finance and data analytics, utilizing demonstrated collaboration, organization, and problem-solving skills. In her free time, she enjoys dancing and beach trips. Through this competition, Alyssa learned how to analyze economic / financial conditions, to formulate monetary policy recommendations. She developed a better understanding of how different sectors / industries contribute to the decisions of the Fed. Alyssa selected the Technology sector, as she was interested in researching how technology is reshaping productivity and employment opportunities. She focused on digital transformation, and how the nature of work is changing as a result of technological advances. In this course, Alyssa had the opportunity to gain insight into an industry of interest, while developing career-valued skills like leadership, critical thinking, and teamwork. Here is the link to Alyssa’s reflection at the end of the course.

Briana Hardy is a second semester Junior majoring in economics and minoring in psychology at UConn Stamford. Growing up in Stamford, she planned on transferring to Storrs for her junior year. However, as for many other people, the pandemic disrupted her plans and she decided to take a gap year. During that gap year she worked full time to help her family who were directly impacted by the recession of the pandemic. During that gap year she worked for a local community bank as a teller and then was given the opportunity to learn the beginning processes of credit risk management as a paid intern. This caused her to become more interested in economics and banking. During her gap year she also worked at a grocery store and was able to see firsthand how the pandemic disrupted many sectors of the local economy and supply chain as well. During her free time Briana is learning to speak Spanish, she enjoys investing in the stock market, and she loves to travel. After she completes her undergraduate degree, she plans on working in the banking industry. After obtaining some work experience, she wants to go back to school to obtain a graduate degree. For the College Fed Challenge, Briana decided to look further into the supply chain because of her firsthand experience in seeing how incidences outside of the financial world are, in fact, interconnected in our economy. Here is the link to Briana’s reflection at the end of the course.

Robert Martin is a current second semester Senior at UConn Stamford majoring in General Studies with a focus in Economics. He transferred to UConn his Junior year after attending Saint Joseph’s University where he majored in Business Intelligence and Analytics. He opted to switch to General studies at UConn to learn a wide variety of courses including economics, psychology, and communications to help him more in the wine industry. During his free time Robert enjoys golfing, going to the gym, and trying out new restaurants. After he completes his undergraduate in December 2022, he plans on working in the wine industry to continue to grow his wine knowledge. Throughout this challenge Robert selected the housing sector, to get a better understanding how the housing market affected the general economy and showed the growth and trends within the industry. Here is the link to Robert’s reflection at the end of the course.

James McQuade is a Senior at UConn, majoring in Economics. This is his first semester as a Practicum team member and his second semester taking coursework in monetary policy. James is interested in pursuing a career in analytics, most likely in financial services. However, he is open to opportunities in other fields conducting economic or financial analysis, i.e., credit analysis, insurance analysis, healthcare analysis, etc. He completed a summer internship in the Wealth Management department at Raymond James Financial Inc. under the Vice President of Investments in Westport, CT. He has utilized his aptitude for critical thinking as well as his knowledge of economic and financial markets to conduct research regarding the effects of commodity prices on macroeconomic forces including production costs and consumption. As the needs of team changed, he has also conducted research regarding consumer sentiment and its possible implications on the Fed’s policy to maintain price stability. He looks forward to getting more experience in analysis after graduation and hopes to find an opportunity to pursue a Master of Science in Finance or an MBA in the near future. He is also considering work on the Chartered Financial Analyst designation post-graduation. Outside of academics, James has a passion for singing, and spending time with family and friends. Here is the link to James’s reflection at the end of the course.

Jonathan Portanova is a Senior majoring in Political Science and minoring in Economics. His interest is to go into public policy and research developments in the private and public sectors. Being on the Fed College Challenge Team gave Jonathan a great opportunity to do research on the economy and learn new sources of information. Jonathan is also a community leader and has volunteered in his time in the community as members of organizations such as the Knights of Columbus, the Alzheimer Association, and on Campus. Being a part of two Honor Societies Delta Alpha Pi and Phi Theta Kappa, Jonathan enjoys spending time with family and friends, meeting new people, and going out. Here is the link to Jonathan’s reflection at the end of the course.

Anthony Santiago, “Santi” is a UConn Stamford Senior. Santi was originally a member of the class of 2020 but when the COVID-19 pandemic began, he took some time off from school to pursue a career as a plumber. After establishing himself locally in the trade industry, he decided that it was time to reenter the classroom and complete his degree. After leaving his company in January of 2022, he will graduate this December through UConn’s Continuing Studies program with a bachelor’s degree in General Studies, where most of his classes are of a business background. He is planning on trading his work boots for a suit and tie following the completion of his degree and hopes to find a finance opportunity in the NYC area early in 2023. Here is the link to Anthony’s reflection at the end of the course.

Neel Talati is a Senior majoring in Economics at UConn. This is his first semester participating in the College Fed Challenge team. Neel’s interests include stock trading, technical analysis, creating leadership opportunities and analytical thinking. In his free time, Neel likes to travel and go outdoors to play various sports like soccer and basketball. At the beginning of this competition, he has been able to demonstrate knowledge and skills to analyze economic climate forecasts and correlate them to monetary policy. He has been able to collaborate with his peers to help in all sectors of the Fed challenge. Throughout the course, he has been able to gain experience and insight to help prepare for the next semester fed challenge. Here is the link to Neel’s reflection at the end of the course.

Team’s video submission for the College Fed Challenge competition did not advance to the second round. But students kept pushing forward and worked hard on the next challenge. The written report analyzing profitability of banks in Fairfield County was submitted to the FDIC Challenge, and we are awaiting the results of the first round to be available in February.

Each student acknowledged that through the “Practicum” course they developed and refined a lot of career-transferrable skills such as critical thinking, analytical, and presentation skills in addition to teamwork and collaborative competitive spirit.

Dr. Smirnova adds that ECON 3492 “Practicum” supports Goal 3: Teaching, Learning, and Student Success of the CLAS Strategic Plan by enhancing, through experiential learning, opportunities for undergraduate education. It also helps students develop career readiness proficiencies stipulated by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) and supported by UConn’s Center for Career Development.

Congratulations to all students on the UConn – Stamford Team 2022!

MSQE Opens at Stamford Campus Beginning Fall 2023

Beginning in Fall 2023 semester, the Masters of Science in Quantitative Economics (MSQE) degree will be offered at the Stamford Campus.

The MSQE is a 30- credit (10 courses) program.  Average completion time for full-time students is three semesters.   We also offer an accelerated program for current UConn undergraduate students who wish to pursue a combined Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Master of Science (MS) in quantitative economics.  Students can simultaneously earn a Certified Business Economist® (CBE) professional certification.  MSQE teaches marketable skills in economic decision-making, statistics, data analysis, data visualization, and machine learning. Students learn relevant software and programming languages, like Python, R, and Stata. This program will help alumni pursue successful careers as financial and data analysts, ML engineers, data scientists, and programmer analysts with top employers in Connecticut and beyond.

To request more information about the MSQE Program click here.

Finance and Econometrics at Seminar Supported by Art Wright Funds

Art Wright SeminarWith support from the Art Wright Seminar Fund, Dr. Dong Hwan Oh, a senior economist and quantitative risk analyst at the Division of Reserve Bank Operations and Payment Systems of Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, spoke at the departmental Econometrics Seminar on Friday, October 7th.

Dr. Oh’s research focuses on analyzing financial markets and risk, as well as methodological development of forecasting and quantitative finance models. During this event, Dr. Oh presented his recent research paper, “Better the Devil You Know: Improved Forecasts from Imperfect Models”. The research paper proposes a new theory and empirical approach for improving the forecasting of financial and macroeconomic variables such as stock volatility, risk, and yield curve of the interest rates. The views expressed in this research are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Federal Reserve Board.

PhD students, MSQE students from advanced econometrics and programming classes, and a focused group of undergraduates were invited to participate in the seminar.  At the beginning of the talk, Dr. Oh recommended that students invest in quantitative data skills on the foundation of econometrics, which can give them great returns when they apply to research assistant/internship positions in the Federal Reserve and other financial institution. Also, through this opportunity, the faculty in the econometrics group were able to actively interact with an expert in financial market analysis, which can help them advise those students with career goals in financial industries.

Professor Prakash named Associate Editor with Journal of Development Economics

Professor Nishith Prakash has been named an Associate Editor with the Journal of Development Economics, which publishes “original research papers relating to all aspects of economic development – from immediate policy concerns to structural problems of underdevelopment.”

Information about the Journal, and about the Editorial Board, may be found online at:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/journal-of-development-economics/about

Professor Smirnova receives CLAS Broader Impacts, Service, and Visibility Award 2022

During the 2019-2021 academic year, the College undertook a collaborative strategic planning process. Among other things, the resulting plan articulated four overarching goals for the College to work toward in the coming years. The Strategic Goal Awards recognize recognize the efforts of faculty members in these areas:

  • Climate, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award
  • Innovative Scholarship Award
  • Teaching, Learning, and Student Success Award
  • Broader Impacts, Service, and Visibility Award

Dr. Smirnova has received the 2022 Broader Impacts, Service, and Visibility Award.

This award is granted for “outstanding initiatives that visibly impact the welfare of Connecticut and beyond, including but not limited to facilitating community engagement, developing strong connections to government or nonprofit agencies, and/or leveraging alumni networks”.

As a faculty liaison of the Early College ExperienceEconomics program, Dr. Smirnova oversees course comparability, academic programming, and professional development and evaluation of the UConn ECE instructors teaching ECON 1000, ECON 1201, ECON 1202 in high schools. The ECE Economics program is an important component of department’s academic outreach to the community, a part of the department’s recruitment strategy, and an important way to connect our colleagues in high schools with the University. The ECE Economics program is the largest at UConn. It serves on average 55 instructors who offer 66 ECE economics courses annually.

The impact on students who take ECE Economics courses is many-fold. They get acquainted with the academic rigor of CLAS, gain familiarity with the University as a whole, and publicize the prominence of UConn across the nation and around the world when gaining acceptance to institutions of higher education.

The community impact of the ECE Economics program is immense. Our partner schools serve urban and rural communities, inner-city pupils, immigrant populations, and first generation students. As Dr. Smirnova helps the ECE instructors build their courses with rigor and innovation, all these groups have the opportunity to learn economics concepts, develop economics way of thinking, and get their first exposure to the college-level curriculum. This opportunity has a profound positive impact on learners and their communities.

Starting at the local community, the visibility of the University grows in the national and international arenas. After high school graduation, some students attend the University of Connecticut. They contribute to UConn’s diversity and bring knowledge gained in high school to UConn. Other students go to colleges and universities around the country and around the world. They contribute to the visibility of UConn by transferring UConn credits earned through the ECE program, by bringing the knowledge they gained, and by spreading the word about the ECE experience they have had. International students who attend ECE-partner private boarding schools bring the knowledge about the University of Connecticut to their home countries.

Congratulations, Dr. Smirnova!

 

Spring 2022 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

Shuo Han
Samuel Jackson
Tamara Shelley
Grace Smith
Khoa Tran
Yinuo Xiang
Ziyun Zhou

Kathryn A. Cassidy Economics Scholarship

Nidhi Nair
SeSe Nguyen

Rockwood Q. P. Chin Scholarship

Nadine Fernando
Prasad Gosavi
Pin Lyi
Choyang Wang

Louis D. Traurig Scholarship

Adem Aksoy
Allen Cazeau
Jeremy Salyer
Benjamin Scudder

Paul N. Taylor Memorial Prize

Erin McKeehan

Julia & Harold Fenton and Yolanda & Augustine Sineti Scholarship

Shuyi Bian

Charles Triano Scholarship

John Doran
Beatrix Jordan

Dr. Joseph W. McAnneny Jr. Scholarship

Erik Choi
Ryan Durrel
Gregory Elmokian
Kevin Gabree
Prabhas KC
Joshua Waxman
Justin Wu

Albert E. Waugh Scholarship

Annaliesa Wood

Ross Mayer Scholarship

Cole Ensinger
Jordan Leonardi


Graduate Awards

W. Harrison Carter Award

Ruohan Huang
Ziyun Wu

Abraham Ribicoff Graduate Fellowship

Lindsey Buck

Timothy A. and Beverly C. Holt Economics Fellowship

Matthew Brown
Shangyue Jiang
Keuncheol Lee
Kunze Li
Lulin Li
Ghania Shuaib
Sirui Qiu
Zhengxuan Wu

Economics Department General Scholarship

Anastassiya Karaban

Best Third Year Paper Award

Jiaqi Wang

Graduate School Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

Sirui Qiu
Zhengxuan Wu
Heshan Zhang

CLAS Summer Fellowship

Erdal Asker
Matthew Brown
Jingyun Chen
Jinsoon Cho
Zhenhao Gong
Shangyue Jiang
Keuncheol Lee
Lulin Li
Yizhi Zhu


Faculty Awards

Grillo Family Research Award

Delia Furtado
Subhash Ray

Grillo Family Teaching Award

Mike Shor

 

Congratulations to everyone!

Lauren Munyard receives 2022 Outstanding Advising Award

Lauren Munyard, Academic Advisor in the Department of Economics, has received an Outstanding Undergraduate Professional Staff Advisor Award.

The goal of these awards is to recognize the extraordinary contributions of undergraduate academic advisors in supporting academic success and student development at the University of Connecticut.

Nominees have been evaluated on the basis of qualities and practices that distinguish them as an outstanding academic advisor. Award winners will have demonstrated sustained excellence in undergraduate advising and will have made a significant impact on their undergraduate advisees’ intellectual development through sustained academic advising relationships.”

https://advising.uconn.edu/outstanding-undergraduate-advisor-awards/

Information about the 2022 Undergraduate Advising Awards can be found here, along with Lauren’s bio:

Lauren Munyard
Academic Advisor, Department of Economics, CLAS

Lauren has been an advisor for 18 years, including at Boston University’s College of Communication and at UConn for 15 years as an advisor at the School of Business, Departments of Communication, Sociology, and Economics and at the CLAS Academic Services Center which serves as CLAS’ central advising office. She specializes in working with a large population of students, using techniques and tools she has learned through advising in different areas along with innovation to best serve the needs of many students while making them feel like an individual.  Currently she advises in Economics, one of the largest majors in CLAS. She started the Uconnomist undergraduate e-newsletter, has been working on developing a peer advising system in her department and has helped to create and put into place many new systems and processes to help make a large advising office run. In her past, Lauren developed an advising center from the ground up and hired and led its student workers, graduate assistants and advisors as the department doubled in size in majors. She has supervised many graduate assistants who were learning the advising profession. She has also worked with majors at the Regional campuses and works extensively with many international students who have unique needs given the pandemic and travel restrictions. She supervises student workers and manages the free tutoring program, manages the enrollment and permission number process, and is on the Undergraduate Programs Committee and the committee for the Economics Department Undergraduate Awards.

She also manages the Program Plan Change program for CLAS and processes major and advisor changes for the school, manages the ECE and non-degree courses for CLAS and their application to the students’ degrees, serves as the university contact for final plans of study issues and workflow and is on the University’s Nexus Steering Committee that works to help evolve the Nexus program to suit the needs of UConn academic advisors. Lauren has offered many workshops to the advising community, including instructional trainings on Student Admin, Nexus, Excel tips, and how to advise large majors and serves as an advisor resource for Nexus questions and troubleshooting.

Lauren studied Communication at Houghton College and Boston University as well as earned minors in Writing and Business.  Lauren attended the State University of New York at Oswego before transferring to Houghton College her sophomore year. As she understands the complexities transfer students face from changing colleges, she especially enjoys working with the transfer student population to help make their transition to their new school as seamless as possible. Throughout her advising career, she has been a student group advisor for multiple groups that do volunteer activities. Lauren’s passion is for animals and she volunteers her time working with animal rescues.

Brookings Event on Immigration and Care for Aging Baby Boomers

On Tuesday, April 19th , Professor Furtado will participate in a webinar, “Who will care for aging baby boomers? Immigrants,” organized by the Center on Children and Families at Brookings. She will discuss her research on the relationship between immigrant labor and the quality of care provided in nursing homes.  Others will discuss how immigrants make it easier for the elderly to “age-in-place” and for the children of elderly parents to remain in the labor force.

After the presentations, a panel of immigration and health care experts will discuss the country’s caregiving needs and policies that can help address them.

If you are interested in participating, register here. During the live event, viewers can submit questions via email to events@brookings.edu or on Twitter using #FutureofCaregiving.

Graphic for 'Who Will Care for Aging Baby Boomers?' Event

Leshui He (our own 2013 PhD) receives Tenure at Bates College

Leshui He has received tenure at Bates College.

Leshui completed his thesis at UConn in 2013 under the supervision of Professors Richard Langlois, Robert Gibbons, Christian Zimmermann, and Vicki Knoblauch.

He started his position as an Assistant Professor at Bates College in 2015, and works primarily in the fields of organizational economics and industrial organization. He is also working on research projects on education with Professor Stephen L. Ross.