Stephen Acquah, a 1st year student in the Masters of Science in Quantitative Economics (MSQE), was named a 2022-23 National Association of Business Economists (NABE) Scholar.
The NABE Scholars program provides scholarships to NABE conferences specifically to minority students and early-career economists to attend NABE conferences and events. Alex Gu (UConn MSQE 2022) was a 2021 designee of this award.
Stephen is one of 20 selected scholars and holds a Master of Science in Economics from the University of Verona, Italy, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Mathematics from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. He aspires to become a future Tech-economics expert and a Certified Business Economist (CBE).
The UConn MSQE Program is a participating partner and students can earn the CBE certification by completing MSQE courses, completing the CBE certification exam, and two years of work experience in applied business economics or in a related field.
Griffin O’Neill, a senior with a double major in Economics and Geography, presented a poster visualizing data on the topic of National Football League (NFL) Attendance and Anthem Protests in 2016.
Using the ArcGIS, software, Griffin plotted a base map representing the Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA) of each NFL stadium and the change in home game attendance between the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Then in separate maps he overlaid on the base map the number of player anthem protests for each team, the number of police shootings of unarmed black men in the SMSA of the home team, and voting results in the 2016 Presidential election in the counties comprising the SMSA of the home team.
The poster was part of an independent study project conducted with Prof. Oskar Harmon.
This year, marking the 25th anniversary of the Frontiers in Undergraduate Research Program at UConn, the Stamford campus had the first inaugural Frontiers event on April 12. The Frontiers program creates a culture of inquiry and engagement and enriches the undergraduate experience of our students.
At Stamford, students’ presentations were in-person and guests from the local community were invited. Twelve Stamford students from various disciplines delivered results of eight diverse research projects they have undertaken during this academic year.
Dr. Smirnova’s student, Matthew Gilshteyn, presented his research entitled “How Will Infrastructure Act Impact Nuclear Energy Production Costs?”, which stems from his work in ECON 3431W – “Public Economics” class. In his paper, Matthew conducted regression analysis on the data from U.S. Department of Energy and Nuclear Energy Institute and using the regression equation estimated the costs of nuclear energy production for 2022 and 2023. Matthew concluded that the Infrastructure Act’s allocation of resources towards alternative energy will decrease the cost of nuclear energy production by 8.2% by 2023. During the Frontiers event, Matthew answered questions from the audience and defended the nuclear energy as the safest energy source compared with other sources.
This year, the “posters” that students developed were in the electronic format and were projected on a big screen at the Welcome Center Atrium at the Stamford campus. Those posters will now be shown till the end of the semester on the monitors in the Concourse rotating among all eight projects.
The inaugural Frontiers event at the Stamford campus showcased the diversity of talent of our students and the continuing effort of the faculty to strengthen the undergraduate research program.
Professor Smirnova’s ECON 3431W – Public Finance Writing Intensive class was visited in March by a professional writer and entrepreneur, UConn Stamford Economics major alumna, Anne McAuley Lopez (CLAS ’96). Ms. Lopez, is a business owner of Agency Content Writer, LLC.
Writing-intensive courses are always challenging for students. Professor Smirnova’s class focuses on writing a scientific research paper in economics, which is often the first time a student is exposed to a scientific writing approach. It is overwhelming for students to face a fast-paced environment of selecting a topic, formulating a research question or a hypothesis, conducting literature review, obtaining and analyzing data to find the answer to the research question or accept or reject the hypothesis. All of that with the emphasis on scientific writing with in-text citations and a proper bibliography.
Ms. Anne Lopez volunteered to help with the inspiration of students several years ago. She worked with Dr. Smirnova to prepare a series of videos that motivate students along their research journey. These videos are now on HuskyCT site for this course. This year, Anne came to the class itself, albeit virtually.
On that evening in March, Anne started by sharing her story about how she changed her career from financial analyst (she was an Economics major!) to a writer. On her company website, Anne writes: “Since my earliest years, I remember loving writing. Teachers would give us options of telling stories visually with poster boards and markers or with words. I always chose words.” She told students that she discovered that people value her writing and would ask her for help. Eventually, she decided to change her career and since September 2010, she has been a professional writer, helping businesses get found online.
Students were appreciative to hear Anne’s wisdom about being open to change and being flexible. Another advice: find what you are passionate about, and that passion complemented by hard work will lead you to success.
In the second part of the evening, Ms. Lopez talked with students about their selected topics and recommended several strategies of how to cope with writer’s block, find inspiration in reading, and how to “eat an elephant” (you have to be in class to know what that means!). Students responded well to her allegories and had fun discussing their challenges with writing in this class.
Such visits from UConn alumni are very valuable. They connect students to the real-world and to UConn graduates, especially if those graduates pursued the same major while in college. The stories of career trajectories, the stories of workplace dynamics are inspiring and insightful. For the alumni, such visits give the opportunity to connect with younger generation, to share successes and challenges, and to give back to the University.
Nursing homes are really struggling. We all witnessed the devastating number of Covid deaths in nursing homes throughout the pandemic. Now, nursing homes are toiling with labor shortages that make it very difficult to provide adequate care for residents. While the immediate impacts of the pandemic will eventually stabilize, in the coming decades, nursing homes will need to cope with increases in the demand for their services as baby boomers age. How will an industry that has struggled to hire and keep enough workers even before the pandemic be able to address the increasing care needs of an aging population?
One potential solution: A more open immigration policy. Professor Delia Furtado’s new research shows that nursing homes in areas receiving more immigrants are able to provide better quality care for residents. She talked about why this might be on The Indicator Podcast. Part of this interview aired on All Things Considered.
In related work, PhD student Treena Goswami finds that older college-educated native-born women remain in the labor force longer when they live in areas with more immigrants. Her analysis suggests that when immigrants are available to provide inexpensive care-giving or housekeeping services, older women (who can afford these services) do not have to prematurely leave the labor force in order to provide full time care for loved ones. Further evidence that policies allowing for more immigration might help the U.S. address the care-giving needs of an aging population.
Congratulations to Economics student Elisa Shaholli, who is among the seventeen University of Connecticut undergraduates who have been selected as the 2022 University Scholars:
Major: Economics Project Title: Religious Identity and Diabetes: A Muslim American Perspective Committee: Brenda Brueggemann, English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Metin Cosgel, Economics; and Kelly Newlin Lew, Nursing.
“Open to undergraduate students from all of the University’s schools and colleges, the University Scholar Program allows students to design and pursue an in-depth research or creative project and to craft a learning plan that supports their interests and academic goals during their final three semesters. Each student is mentored by an advisory committee of three faculty.
Admission is based on an application submitted during the first semester of a student’s junior year. Applications are reviewed by an interdisciplinary committee of faculty members who may select up to 30 University Scholars in any given year. The strongest proposals will show exceptional breadth and/or depth and will bring together multiple fields of study, methodologies, and/or points of view. Graduation as a University Scholar recognizes a student’s extraordinary engagement with self-reflective learning and research or creative endeavors.”
This Fall 2021, UConn Stamford team participated again in the College Fed Challenge national competition. College Fed Challenge is a team competition for undergraduate students. Teams analyze economic and financial conditions and formulate a monetary policy recommendation, modeling the Federal Open Market Committee.
In 2021 the competition once again was virtual. Each team had to create and then upload a 15-minute video presentation encompassing the following:
An analysis of current economic conditions (as of the day of the competition); these conditions may include broad macroeconomic conditions as well as conditions experienced in different geographic areas, in urban/rural areas, or among different demographic and socioeconomic groups (e.g., racial and ethnic groups, age groups), borrowers and savers, etc.
A forecast of near-term economic and financial conditions relevant to the formulation of monetary policy.
A discussion of significant risks to the economy that should receive special attention in formulating monetary policy; these risks may include the possible effects (positive or negative) of monetary policies on different segments of the population.
A monetary policy recommendation, encompassing both traditional tools and newer approaches as warranted; presenters should give supporting reasons for their recommendation.
The Stamford team consisted of six students who divided their responsibilities for research, organization, presentation, and video creation according to their passions, skills, and interests. Here is the team:
Aidan Connolly (Captain) is a seasoned team leader with extensive experience in data-driven decision making. He is currently finishing his final semester at The University of Connecticut, where he will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics this December. Aidan was elected by his peers to lead the UConn College Fed Challenge Team. His areas of expertise include public speaking, sustainable economic practices, and quantitative modeling. Aidan enjoys cycling, skiing, and socializing in his free time. After graduation in December of 2021, Aidan will continue to consult with the UConn College Fed Challenge Team and begin his career in software sales. Read Aidan’s reflection about the course here.
Gabriella Barg is a senior majoring in Economics with a minor in Accounting. Taking part in the Fed challenge in her remaining semesters has been one of the most academically enriching adventures in her undergrad. The freedom to choose what to research in the current American economy within diverse themes is an informative experience. After spring 2022 graduation, she looks forward to carrying on her refined skills in her professional life, pursuing a Master’s in Accounting Fall 2022. Read Gabriella’s reflection about the course here.
Jorge Cuautla Jr. is a proficient researcher with substantive experience. Combined with the resourcefulness and analytical capabilities, the introduction of the College Fed Challenge was the perfect opportunity to showcase his research abilities. Jorge’s focus as a member of the College Fed Challenge team was the United States Gross Domestic Product (or GDP). The participation in the College Fed Challenge expanded Jorge’s employment opportunities. With positions offered by Amazon, PepsiCo, Northwestern Mutual, and much more, it was difficult to narrow down a future home. Post-graduation, Jorge will continue his macroeconomics research while working as an Analyst at TD Bank. Read Jorge’s reflection about the course here.
Matt Gilshteyn is a sophomore at UConn, majoring in Marketing Management. This is his second semester as a Practicum team member. This course helped him develop a better understanding of the Federal Reserve’s influence on our economy and how real-life projects are completed. The class also demonstrated how different sectors and industries contribute to the decisions of the Federal Reserve. Matt selected the energy sector in hopes of better understanding this sector and its operations. He focused on renewable energy because it showed serious potential for growth within the energy sector. Researching and interpreting data was very insightful, and the skills that he developed helped explain how the energy sector can impact the Fed’s decision. Read Matt’s reflection about the course here.
Sava Logvinski is an experienced negotiator, with an extensive background in team development. His ambitions are high, and dreams are endless. Sava is one who emphasizes the value of asking questions. He enjoys learning new concepts and is quick to grasp them. The Fed Challenge allowed him to gain a holistic approach to monetary policy, implementing his fundamental economic analysis obtained at UConn. He focused on the sector of employment, specifically on automation and future outlook. As a senior majoring in Economics, Sava interviewed this semester with several companies. After careful consideration, he decided to accept his offer with Celonis starting January 2022. Celonis is the world’s leading process mining software company. Process Mining is a new big data analytics technology designed to help customers optimize their operations. Process Mining goes through the already existing log data every IT system produces and finds out where improvements are needed. Why? In order to be more efficient than your competitors, get rid of bottlenecks, make your customers even happier and create processes that everybody loves to deal with. The Fed Challenge prepared Sava with public speaking and presentation skills needed to succeed in the world of sales. Through studying new AI technology and understanding the economic impacts, he was able to identify proper use cases, and deliver. He is excited to begin his journey post graduation, and help businesses unlock full execution capacity. Read Sava’s reflection about the course here.
Ashley Balta (alternate) grew up in Greenwich and graduated from Greenwich High School. Ashley is a first-generation college student, and she participated in the AVID program to help her with the process of higher education. At UConn, she majored in Economics. Ashley enjoys the arts as she has been dancing ballet at the Ballet School of Stamford since the age of 3. As a member of the diversity club, she continued her volunteering work for the AVID program as a mentor. Currently, Ashley is starting the foundation of her small-Hispanic-owned business. After graduation, she plans to pursue her master’s for further education. Since joining the Fed Challenge course over the summer, she realized it was the perfect opportunity to increase her knowledge of several sectors of the economy. Being a student-led class, this course taught her the fundamentals of planning, impact instructions, and work-related responsibilities. Read Ashley’s reflection about the course here.
All students worked diligently and cooperatively through two semesters. The final video presentation can be seen here. Even though, the Stamford team was not selected to advance into the final round, the team is proud of the work they have done.
As students’ reflections show, the participation in the Challenge is very rewarding. In addition to learning about the economy and monetary policy, students gain skills in research, analysis, and teamwork, all of which are transferable to their future careers and academic endeavors.
Congratulations UConn – Stamford College Fed Challenge Team 2021!
Photo (left to right): Jorge Cuautla, Gabriella Barg, Ashley Balta, Sava Logvinski, Dr. Smirnova, Matt Gilshteyn, Aidan Connolly.
FactSet creates data and software solutions for investment professionals around the world, providing instant access to financial data and analytics that investors use to make crucial investment decisions. The company was founded in 1978 and is headquartered in Norwalk, CT, a short distance from the Stamford campus.
All UConn Stamford students now have access to FactSet data portal through the terminals located in Jeremy Richard Library. Because students in Dr. Smirnova’s Financial Economics (ECON 3413) class are engaged in a project valuating a company of their choice, they used FactSet to get financial performance data and other information about the company they have selected, its competitors, and the industry, in which the company operates. However, there is a lot more depth to FactSet.
UConn Stamford Center for Career Development had arranged for a special (virtual) visit of FactSet’s Academic Specialist, Andi Huff, to Financial Economics class. On November 18, 2021, Andi demonstrated for students many features of FactSet portal. This knowledge will help students not only in completing the semester project, but also in developing skills in data analytics, and in utilizing this data source in other Economics courses as well as in other disciplines.
Ms. Andi Huff also introduces students to various career opportunities available at FactSet, such as Student Ambassador Program, Internships, and Client Solutions Associates positions.
Economics majors are prepared for a diverse range of careers, but jobs in data analytics are of a particular interest nowadays. Availability of FactSet’s platform at the Stamford campus plays an important role in enhancing our students’ readiness for careers in this field.
On November 11, 2021, Stamford Economics majors met a special guest. The visitor was Jeff Magnuson, Career Consultant and owner of Jeff Magnuson Consulting. Jeff talked to students about developing a strategy for their job search and about specific steps they should take to aid this process.
Students learned about developing an understanding of the role they want to play at a firm they are applying to. This step of thinking about one’s passions and personal goals and objectives should be the first one in the job search process. Drafting the resume and cover letter should come after that. The practice of thinking deeper about what one wants to do will help making resume more focused and cover letter more persuasive.
Jeff encouraged students to be open and truthful. He motivated them to not get deterred by the competition, and to concentrate only on things within their control. He gave hints about utilizing mailings to the actual hiring manager instead of relying solely on the electronic uploads of the materials. Overall, many good ideas and suggestions were discussed, and students were grateful for the wealth of information that Mr. Magnuson provided.
The visits of business community members to the Stamford campus are encouraged by the CLAS 2020-2025 Strategic Plan. Supporting “Goal 3 Teaching” and the “Student Support and Engagement” objective, we are creating ways to better connect students with various opportunities related to their career aspirations. In support of “Goal 4: Broader Impacts, Service, and Visibility”, we are facilitating community engagement and increasing the visibility of CLAS with and for citizens of the state.
Photo: Mr. Jeff Magnuson (left) and Dr. Smirnova during the Stamford campus visit on November 11, 2021