Current students

Econ Undergraduate Students at the Boston Fed Challenge

Once again this fall the Economics Department sponsored a team of students to compete in the annual Fed challenge competition that was held at the Boston Federal Reserve. Again our students did very well, just barely missing the finals.

There were five groups with five universities competing in each group. The school with the highest score in each group moves on to the finals. Every year the competition level gets higher. In our group, the five scores ranged from 80 to a high of 91. We were close to making the finals, our team had a score of 88.5. We are proud of our students’ accomplishments.

The participating students were Sam Berkun, Tyler Dibrino, Michelle Grieco, Marisa Infante, Joe Mortimer, James Rice, Brianna Sullivan, Kyle Tesei and Ajshe Zulfi.

The faculty advisers were Derek Johnson and Owen Svalestad.

UConn-Stamford Team Participates in College Fed Challenge 2019

This year, the UConn-Stamford team participated again in the College Fed Challenge competition of the second district of the Federal Reserve System. Thirty teams competed on October 23 at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. This program is designed to bring real-world economics into the classroom. Teams play the role of monetary policymakers by analyzing economic conditions and recommending a course for monetary policy.

The UConn–Stamford team this year consisted of the following eight students.

Ignacio Gonzalez is a junior pursuing his Economics degree at UCONN-Stamford. This is his second year on the College Fed Challenge team. Through the program he has enhanced his understanding of economic indicators and how they interconnect in signaling the current state of the economy. This past summer he interned for the Treasury department at DZ Bank AG. He was able to use the experience gained in the Fed Challenge program as a base for assets and liabilities management as well as for bond pricing.

Viviana Castillo is currently a senior majoring in Economics. In addition to her studies, she works for People’s United Bank as a relationship administrator in their Commercial Real Estate department. Through her job, she has gained knowledge in the real estate lending market in the U.S. and how rates are affected by the current economic conditions. As part of the Women In Leadership program through her job she has been matched with a mentor who is the Chief Risk Officer of the company. With him, she has been able to gain knowledge of the different risk components of the bank. All of this being done while analyzing the risk appetite of the company regarding the current economic conditions and predictions for the future. After graduation, she is hoping to further her career by getting a master’s degree in the risk management field, preferably with a concentration in enterprise risk.

Alexander Giannico is a senior majoring in Economics. He is participating in the 2019 FED Challenge team in order to improve his understanding of macroeconomics, specifically labor economics and unemployment. He is helping run the Chess Club on campus as well as participating in the Debate Club.

George Angel Gonzalez is a senior majoring in Economics. As he will be graduating in the Spring of 2020, he is currently applying to graduate schools to further his education in Economics/Finance. He joined the team last spring after hearing a couple of his classmates discussing the competition in class; and, since, it has been one of the most academically enriching experiences of his undergraduate career. The Fed challenge has brought the lessons learned in class into the real-world application, as well as enhanced the understanding of the innerworkings of the American economy. Comprehending how the Federal Reserve operates and its hand in the economy are lessons that he will take beyond his undergraduate education- whether it be to graduate school or the work force.

Isaiah Montanez is a senior Economics student with a minor in Business Management. He is currently working as a business analyst for a small consulting firm. He chose economics because of the effect that the 2008 recession had on his family’s business. He wanted to better understand how the economy affects people. Now, he assists small businesses on recognizing economic trends to make good decisions and capitalize on them. The Fed Challenge has been the backbone of his studies allowing him to see real world applicability of his degree and has led him into the position he is in today.

You Kim is a junior majoring in Financial Management with a minor Economics. He is currently interning as a business development analyst at RIS Media, a real estate publishing company. Prior to this he interned at IBM as a financial analyst. He is passionate about learning and understanding what is going on with the world and the economy. This competition has taught him a tremendous amount about how to analyze different indicators to measure the overall health of the economy.

At UConn Stamford, students can participate in this program as early as their freshman year. The main criterion is one’s interest in economics, passion for research, and willingness to work in a team. This year, we had two first-year students supporting the team through research, collaboration, and constructive criticism.

Sisi Huang is a first-year student. She is studying within the School of Business and is currently a Digital Marketing and Analytics major and is an active member of the BCLC. Other clubs she is participating in are the Marketing Club and Huskies for Charity. Sisi enjoys the arts as well as sciences other than business. She participated in the FED Challenge team as a researcher this year with hopes to join the presenters’ ranks next year.

Francesca Merentie is another first-year student studying within the School of Business, majoring in Digital Marketing & Analytics. She shadowed the UConn–Stamford FED Challenge team and aided them in their research and presentation preparation. She plans on fully joining the team and compete in the Fall 2020 competition. She plans on using her degree in Digital Marketing & Analytics in being either a market research analyst, a marketing manager, or public relations specialist.

The whole team worked very hard preparing for the competition and developed and defended unconventional approaches to monetary policy implementation. The main learning outcome for students is the development of economic analysis, critical thinking and debate, and oral presentation skills. All of these are highly transferable to their future careers and academic endeavors.

This year, we did not advance to the semi-final round. However, the overall experience of visiting the New York Fed, listening to the presentation of John C. Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and competing with 30 teams was an amazing experience for students. Good job, UConn–Stamford Team!

Membes of the 2019 NY Fed Challenge Team

Photo: from left to right: Isaiah Montanez, Viviana Castillo, Dr. Smirnova, Angel Gonzalez, Ignacio Gonzalez, Alexander Giannico, and You Kim.

Deepak Saraswat presents at NEUDC

PhD student Deepak Saraswat presented his paper “Gender Composition of Children and Sanitation Behavior in India” at the North East Universities Development Consortium (NEUDC) Conference.

Hosted this year by the Global Poverty Research Lab at Northwestern University, the conference is considered one of the best in Development.

Information about the conference may be found online at: https://sites.northwestern.edu/neudc2019/

Stamford “Money and Banking” Class Visits the Gold Vault

On Thursday, October 3, 2019, a group of students from Dr. Smirnova’s “Money and Banking” class at Stamford visited the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The program included a visit to the Money Museum as well as to the Gold Vault.

In the Museum, students learned about the history of New York Fed, and saw old-time photographs and film footage of how the Fed looked and operated during the first half of the 20th century. The exhibit also includes the original trading board, the money cart that is used to transport currency, and the scale that is used to weigh the gold bars.

The highlight of the trip was the visit to the Gold Vault. Students learned that New York Fed holds many tons of gold bricks belonging to foreign countries. The vault is located on the bedrock of Manhattan, several hundred feet below subway level. The size of the vault is half of the American football field, and it goes on forever if you are standing at the entrance. We were able to see one compartment’s gold very close and almost touch it. The gold bricks are different shapes (trapezoid and rectangle) depending on where the brick was cast.

There was an opportunity to ask questions and discover more nuances about the Fed, about monetary policy implementation, and about the gold. Overall, a lot of learning and discovery occurred during the trip. We thank the Department of Economics for sponsoring it! The picture shows the group in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Taking pictures inside is prohibited, so we could not take a picture with the gold! 😊

Undergraduate, Mateen Karimi, Publishes Research

Mateen Karimi, a rising junior majoring in management, published his paper, “The Socioeconomic Integration of Second-Generation MENA Immigrants,” in the journal, Aisthesis, this past June. Each year, the journal publishes a compilation of scholarship completed by students in honors programs nationwide.

Supervised by Professor Furtado, Mateen conducted the analysis for the paper last summer as part of his Holster project.

The article shows that the native-born children of Middle Eastern North African (MENA) immigrants in the United States acquire more education and achieve higher salary incomes than both non-MENA whites and blacks, but falter on employment outcomes as a whole. Interestingly, second-generation Iranians and Yemenis acquire more education than both whites and blacks, but also have the highest unemployment rates.

Professors Harmon, Smirnova, and PhD Candidate Conant participate at Conference on Teaching and Research in Economic Education

Professors Harmon, Smirnova, and PhD Candidate Conant participated in the Ninth Annual AEA Conference on Teaching and Research in Economic Education (CTREE), in St. Louis, Missouri, May 2019.

Professors Oskar Harmon and Natalia Smirnova organized and moderated the panel “The College Fed Challenge: Discussion of Participating in an Existing Competition or Organizing a Competition in your Federal Reserve District”. The panelists were the faculty organizers of the regional Fed Challenge competitions in 4 of the 5 Fed Districts that sponsor a Fed Challenge competition, and the organizer of the finals round at the Fed Board of Governors in Washington DC. The discussion focused on two themes. One was a comparison of the similarities and differences in the structure of the competitions across regions and the effect on team outcomes in the national finals. Second was strategies to the geographic challenges and the difficulties facing the non-eastern states 8 reserve districts, only one of which competes (Chicago) relative to the 4 east coast districts, all of which compete.

Paul Conant and Oskar Harmon presented their paper “Teaching of Sports Economics by Reacting to the Past”. They presented a real-world scenario (RWS) assignment that is an adaptation of the “reacting to the past” teaching style. In this style students learn by taking on roles, informed by articles from the period of the event. They participate in a competitive game using the communication skills of speaking and writing, and analytical skills of critical thinking and problem solving. The specific RWS discussed in this paper will consist of students answering the historical event question: Should college athletes be allowed to unionize? The Case of Northwestern 2014. Students are assigned roles which can force them to combat their preconceived notion about the issue and help students consider different perspectives on the issue. We hope to merge the sociopolitical world with neoclassical economic learning in order to help students understand the nuance of pertinent world issues.

Natalia Smirnova also assumed an active role at the conference. She was a discussant of two papers. One paper presented the use of Excel for teaching students a Health Economics addiction model; and the second paper analyzed the reasons for female students’ attrition from the first Economics course they took and not becoming Economics majors at UC Berkley. Both papers were well received and generated debates among sessions’ participants.

Professor Smirnova extended her stay in St. Louis to explore Team-Based Learning (TBL) techniques. The TBL workshop was sponsored by the NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) initiative. Professor Smirnova is encouraged to bring new techniques into her classroom.

2019 Spring Awards Banquet

Uconn sealOn April 18, the department convened for an awards banquet that recognized the best among undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty. This year’s award recipients are:

Omicron Delta Epsilon inductees:

Kader Akpinar
Gianna DeMasi
Ryan Gilland
Michelle Grieco
Andrew Hendrickson Jr.
Christopher Holden
Andrew Humphrey
Marisa Infante
Yuansun Jiang
Megan Llewellyn
Colin MacDougald
Adam Patterson
William Poundstone
James Rice
Jeffery Sanawong
David Stanco
Brianna Sullivan
Mollie Swanton
Mary Vlamis
Nicholas Wehrle

Undergraduate Awards

Economics Department General Scholarship

Michael Goccia
Mathilda Hill
James Rice
Sharon Spaulding
Qingya Yang

Kathryn A. Cassidy Economics Scholarship

Tiffany D’Andrea
Zichen Shu
Zian Zhang
Harrison Zraly

Rockwood Q. P. Chin Scholarship

Arianna Dines
Sueing Ngov
Sheng Tian

Louis D. Traurig Scholarship

Fizza Alam
Dea Ballij
Marisa Infante
Ajshe Zulfi

Paul N. Taylor Memorial Prize

Harry Godfrey-Fogg

Julia & Harold Fenton and Yolanda & Augustine Sineti Scholarship

Michelle Grieco

Charles Triano Scholarship

Gianna DeMasi

Dr. Joseph W. McAnneny Jr. Scholarship

Elizabeth Miller
Alexander Mostaghami
John Peterson
Mary Vlamis

Ross Mayer Scholarship

John Cizeski
Tyler DiBrino


Graduate Awards

Albert E. Waugh Scholarship

Mark McInerney

W. Harrison Carter Award

Lindsey Buck
Huarui Jing

Abraham Ribicoff Graduate Fellowship

Wei Zheng

Timothy A. and Beverly C. Holt Economics Fellowship

Dingxian Cao
Jingyun Chen
Zhenhao Gong
Chuang Li
Chun Li
Heli Zu
Jinning Wang

Economics Department General Scholarship

Treena Goswami
Shilpa Sethia
Rui Sun
Kevin Wood
Haoxiang Xu

Best Third Year Paper Award

Umesh Ghimire

Roklen Graduate Research Scholarship

Xizi Li

Eleanor Bloom Trust Fund

Eniola Fasola

Graduate School Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

Xuejian Gong
Miranda Mendiola Valdez
Ziyun Wu
Hao Cui
Anup Tiwari
Ruohan Huang
Yizhi Zhu
Abdulmohsen Almuhaisen


Faculty Awards

Grillo Family Research Award

Jackie Zhao

Grillo Family Teaching Award

David Simon

Employee Appreciation Awards

Steven Lanza – 25 years
Richard Langlois – 35 years
Subhash Ray – 35 years

Congratulations to everyone!

 

Rui Sun and Zhonghui Zhang at Econometric Society Meeting (2019 AMES)

PhD students Rui Sun and Zhonghui Zhang have had their papers accepted at the 2019 Asian Meeting of the Econometric Society (2019 AMES).

Zhonghui Zhang will be presenting his paper “Mahalanobis Metric Based Clustering for Fixed Effects Model”.

Rui Sun’s paper “Bias-Corrected Estimators in the Dynamic Panel Data Model” has been accepted for poster session.

The conference, June 14-16, 2019 at Xiamen University, is held by the Econometric Society, the international society for the advancement of economic theory in its relation to statistics and mathematics.

https://www.econometricsociety.org

Graduate Students in the Big Apple to Present New Work

Graduate students Shiyi Chen, Edlira Cocoli, Treena Goswami, Xin Liang, and Patralekha Ukil presented papers at the Annual Conference of the Eastern Economics Association in New York, Feb. 28–Mar. 3. Paper titles are listed below. If you see them in the hallways, be sure to ask them about their research.

Shiyi Chen: Affirmative Action and Interracial Marriage

Edlira Cocoli: The Impact of Promise Programs on Student Enrollment: A Nationwide Analysis of Enrollment Impact by Gender, Race and Program Type

Treena Goswami: High Skilled Immigrant Inflows and More Managerial Natives?

Xin Liang: Early Retirement, Pension System and the High Saving Rate in China, University of Connecticut

Patralekha Ukil: Parental Economic Shocks and Infant Health

Have a look at a tweet about Patralekha’s presentation here, and you can see the full EEA program here.