Faculty activities

Two Stamford Students Present at Frontiers 2024

(left to right) Mitchell Velasco (’25), Dr. Smirnova, Matthew Dalzell (’25) at the Frontiers of Undergraduate Research Exhibition, Stamford campus, April 16, 2024

The Welcome Center area at the Stamford campus was crowded on April 16th as the Frontiers of Undergraduate Research 2024 exhibition was about to start. Thirteen undergraduate students from the Stamford campus presented their research on various topics within diverse fields of study.

Among the presenters, there were two students of Professor Smirnova, Matthew Dalzell and Mitchell Velasco. Both started their research in the ECON 3431W – Public Economics course. However, their interest in the topic grew and they continued working on their papers.

Matthew Dalzell’s (‘25) paper entitled “The Impact of Privately Owned Buses on Carbon Dioxide Emissions in Connecticut” written in Spring 2023 was presented at the New York State Economics Association (NYSEA) conference 2023 in October. Matthew’s trip to the conference was sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Research, for which Matthew is grateful. Matthew acknowledged in his speech the benefits of attending a conference outside UConn. He said that such exposure allowed him to see what students at other universities are doing in terms of research, “rub elbows” with professional economists and distinguished faculty, and gain confidence for his studies and future career aspirations.

Mitchell Velasco’s (‘25) paper entitled “Decarbonization of the US Power Grid and Cost Competitiveness of Renewable Energy Technology” was written in Fall 2023. The Frontiers’ presentation was the first outside-of-the-classroom presentation for Mitchell. Dr. Smirnova encourages Mitchell to continue improving his paper and to submit it to the undergraduate panel at the Eastern Economic Association, the annual conference of which is scheduled for February 2025 in New York City.

The Frontiers event showcased the dedication of the Stamford faculty to undergraduate students’ success and to students’ preparation for careers after graduation.

Professor Langlois at the Janus Forum Lecture Series

Professor Langlois recently participated in the Janus Forum Lecture Series at Brown University, joining Tim Wu, who was President Biden’s special assistant for technology and competition policy, in conversation about the regulation of Big Tech industries.

The lectures are sponsored by the Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Brown.

Women in Economics Symposium at Stamford

UConn-Stamford students at the Women in Economics Symposium Watch Party, April 4, 2024

UConn-Stamford was an official Watch Party for the Women in Economics Symposium 2024. The Symposium’s goal is to showcase the role of women in Economics profession and inspire students to pursue majors and careers in Economics.

This year, the agenda included interesting conversations about careers with BA and MA degrees, about getting the first job, and the keynote address by the newest Governor of the Federal Reserve Board, Adriana Kugler.

Women in Economics Symposium discussion group

Stamford students enjoyed the discussion about economics’ role in their career preparation, interactive activities provided by the organizers, togetherness, and camaraderie. And, of course, pizza and cookies provided by the Honors Program.

Jonathan was on hand to provide additional spiritual support!

Jonathan Husky

Professor David Cutler Talks to Students of the Department of Economics

David Cutler speaking about Epidemics and CitiesProfessor David Cutler was invited by Professor Patti Ritter to speak to the students of the Department of Economics on October 18th about his book The Survival of the City.

Approximately 120 students and faculty from the Department of Economics attended the talk in person at the Dodd Center in Storrs, and 20 students streamed the talk at the Stamford Campus in a watch party.

David Cutler is the Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied Economics in the Department of Economics at Harvard University. His work in health economics and public economics have earned him significant academic and public acclaim. He also has served on the Council of Economic Advisers and the National Economic Council during the Clinton Administration, and has advised the Presidential campaigns of Bill Bradley, John Kerry, and Barack Obama. He also served as Senior Health Care Advisor for the Obama Presidential Campaign.

In his talk, Professor Cutler discussed the importance and contribution of cities, the history of epidemics and how they have affected urban areas, how the particular problems of American cities make them vulnerable to epidemics and, finally, ways of minimizing the impact of future epidemics.

Students and faculty participated during the talk and had the opportunity to meet Professor Cutler in a small reception afterwards. It was a great opportunity for them to reflect about the consequences of the pandemic and lessons to be learned. A great opportunity also, to witness how a brilliant economist applies economics to the analysis of problems and derives policy recommendations. Finally, the talk was based on the book written by Professor Cutler and his colleague Professor Edward Glaeser, two thinkers with different political orientations. Thus, the talk provided an example of how good economics should not be politically biased, and will hopefully inspire students to put the welfare of our society above our political differences.

ECE Economics Workshop 2023

ECE Workshop Attendees
ECE Economics instructors at the annual professional development workshop on October 25, 2023, at Storrs

Finally in-person, emerging after the pandemic, 41 Early College Experience (ECE) Economics instructors participated in the annual professional development workshop on October 25, 2023 in Storrs.

The agenda was filled with active learning about resources for teaching three of the ECE Economics courses (ECON 1000, ECON 1201, and ECON 1202). Both micro- and macro- economics topics were covered, so every teacher was able to take away several ideas ready to be implemented in the classroom.

The presenters at the workshop were national experts in economic education: Scott A. Wolla, Economic Education Officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and Ariel Slonim, Curriculum Designer at the Marginal Revolution University (MRU).

The attending instructors enthusiastically participated in the following activities:

  • Teaching Market Structures with Gum.
  • Supply, Demand, Action! Harnessing interactive tools to teach supply and demand.
  • Monetary Policy has Changed. Has Your Teaching?
  • Cracking the Code: Understanding GDP and Inflation through interactive tools.

Professor Smirnova, who is an ECE Economics Liaison, concluded the workshop with an interactive presentation “Teaching Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Topics in Economics”.

Economics is the biggest UConn ECE cohort:

We have 58 UConn ECE certified Economics instructors representing 42 different partner high schools across the state.

Last academic year, we had 785 students enrolled in 64 UConn Economics courses (ECON 1000, 1201, 1202). Since some students take more than one course, there were 1225 total enrollments.

ECE Economics program makes a big impact across the State!

Professor Smirnova’s Career Faculty Fellowship

Professor Natalia Smirnova’s reflections on being the inaugural Faculty Fellow through the Center for Career Development in Spring 2023 have been posted by the Center for Career Development

Picture of Natalia Smirnova as Career Fellow

The full article may be found online at:

https://career.uconn.edu/blog/2023/06/12/career-faculty-fellowship-helps-students-become-career-ready/

 

Professor Smirnova Recognized by the UConn Center for Career Development

Professor Natalia Smirnova’s presentation of Career Readiness at the AEA 2023 Conference has been recognized by the UConn Center for Career Development in their most recent newsletter:

Presentation of Career Readiness at the American Economic Association Annual Conference

The full article may be found online at:

https://career.uconn.edu/blog/2023/04/02/presentation-of-career-readiness-at-the-american-economic-association-annual-conference/

Professor Smirnova is the first Faculty Fellow at the Center for Career Development

Natalia SmirnovaThe Center for Career Development announced its first Faculty Fellow – Dr. Natalia Smirnova. As the Career Center continues to move toward its vision of ‘creating a university-wide career readiness culture that prepares all students for post-graduation success’, they have been extending their reach to partnering with faculty and staff more intentionally over the past several years.

Dr. Smirnova’s work on career readiness is closely aligned with the mission of the Center for Career Development and its Career Champions program. Professor Smirnova in her courses encourages students to build skills that are transferable to the workplace. With her co-authors, she developed an instructional module where students learn about their major and career path by using publicly available large data set. At the Stamford campus, she collaborates with various departments to arrange career panels, builds a network of business community leaders to mentor her students, and encourages students’ participation in various national economics competitions and conferences.

As the inaugural Career Faculty Fellow, Dr. Smirnova will be developing materials related to integration of career competencies into syllabi, serving as an ambassador to academic departments and faculty, and creating a sustainable program of faculty fellowship.

Early College Experience – Economics: Workshop 2022

Kansas City Fed Picture
Two historical publications of the Kansas City Fed by Tim Todd. Snippets of cover pages are courtesy of Tim Todd.

Connecticut high school teachers who are certified instructors with the UConn Early College Experience (ECE) – Economics program gathered (virtually) on October 26, 2022, for an annual professional development workshop. The Economics Department sees these instructors as our colleagues and values their participation in the University mission. We see our relationship with the high school partners as important for the academic discipline and for developing Economics major and minor at UConn.

Professor Smirnova is faculty liaison for the ECE-Economics program. In this role, she oversees the course comparability, academic oversight, and professional development of the ECE instructors teaching ECON 1000, ECON 1201, ECON 1202 in their high schools.

The October workshop is an annual professional development opportunity. The goal is to share pedagogical innovations in the economics field in order to keep instructors informed and energized in delivering engaging classes to their pupils.

The workshop was opened with a dynamic presentation “5 Key Economic Concepts that Popular Media Can Teach” delivered by Dr. Kim Holder, Director, UWG Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy, Senior Lecturer of Economics, Richards College of Business, Director of Financial Literacy, University of West Georgia (UWG).

In the next presentation “Building Human Capital – College and Career Exploration”, Princeton Williams, Senior Outreach Advisor of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, introduced teachers to Navigate, a portal that helps students navigate college application process and focus on selection of their future academic major and subsequent career. Instructors were excited to learn about several lesson plans and classroom-use-ready materials available for teachers through this site.

Intriguing presentation “4 Tools to Make Your Teaching Stick” was delivered by Matt Hill, Curriculum Designer at the Marginal Revolution University. ECE instructors were engaged in several exercises helping them experience the interactivity of the tools suggested by Matt.

The final presentation “The Vibrant History of Black-Owned Banks” was given by Tim Todd, Executive Writer and Historian of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. As the author of two books on bank ownership, which are written as a historical reference on Black community banks, Tim showed photographs related to his research and invited ECE instructors to download the books for classroom use. Instructors can also request hard copies of the books for their classroom use for free.

28 ECE Economics instructors attended the workshop.

Economics at the Major Fair at the Stamford Campus

Photo (left to right): Economics Seniors Miriam Salazar-Rey, James McQuade, and Gerson Jacinto at the Economics Major table on September 15, 2022.

On September 15, 2022, there was a buzz around the Rich Concourse at the Stamford campus. Various academic fields, representing majors and minors offered at UConn Stamford, were showcased. The Economics Department was represented by students majoring in Economics with Professor Smirnova in attendance as well.

The Economics table was one of the most visited through the two-hour period. Economics seniors Miriam Salazar-Rey, James McQuade, and Gerson Jacinto enthusiastically shared information about the academic course of study, about various economics paths within the profession, and about the College Fed Challenge competition, a popular extra-curricular activity at Stamford.

Students also shared various career readiness events that they have attended on campus and competencies that they have developed in Dr. Smirnova’s classes. Business community leaders’ visits, career panels, Career Development Center professionals’ presentations, and other events – all of these, in students’ view, contribute to the satisfaction with the Economics major at Stamford.