The UConn-Stamford FED Challenge team earned honorable mention in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York 2018 College FED Challenge competition. This marked the third consecutive year of participation in the competition by the Stamford Campus team and the first time advancing to the semi-final round. The competition started with 39 teams in the initial round on October 24. The UCONN-Stamford team advanced to the semi-final round held on November 14 among only eight teams. Rutgers University-New Brunswick placed first and advanced to the final round held in Washington DC November 29. Columbia University placed second. UConn-Stamford earned Honorable Mention along with Fairfield University, Fordham University, Siena College, and SUNY-Oneonta.
The 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. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is one of four Federal Reserve Banks that host the College Fed Challenge Competition. The regional winners go to the final round at the Board of Governors in Washington D.C.
UCONN-Stamford team was comprised of 3 presenters: Ignacio Gonzalez, Jonathan Herrick, and Brendan Armburst-Mulcahey. The team coach was Di Yang, (Stamford Business School MBA). The researchers who helped prepare the team for the competition were Aditya Dadavai, Sijie Hu, Lingyi Zhu, and Roma Roma (all in the Stamford Business School BPMA Program). Faculty advisors were professors Natalia Smirnova, Steven Lanza, Kanda Naknoi, and Oskar Harmon. The team benefited from practice sessions of challenging questions with volunteer members of the Fairfield Business Community.
The team participants shown in the picture at the awards ceremony at the FRBNY are (from left to right): Brendan Armburst-Mulcahey, Di Yang, Natalia Smirnova, Jonathan Herrick, Ignacio Gonzalez, Oskar Harmon.
The Economics Department Early College Experience Program held its annual workshop for teachers on November 1 at the Storrs Campus. The workshop was attended by 25 teachers from high schools across the state who hold the positions of instructor and preceptor of economics responsible for teaching high school students Principles of Microeconomics (Economics 1201), Principles of Macroeconomics (Economics 1202) and Essentials of Economics (Economics 1000) in their high school.
The teachers who attended, learned from a program they inspired by suggesting topics in the spring of 2018. Highlights of this year’s program included Professor Nishith Prakash presenting his work entitled “Gender, Crime and Punishment”, which provided a peek at original economics research. The teachers were excited by this work and raised numerous questions.
Professor Prakash’s paper was followed by a presentation by Professor Natalia Smirnova (a UConn Economics Ph.D.) entitled “Oligarchs and Ivans: A Changing Russian Economy 1990-2020” in which Professor Smirnova provided both background and predictions for the modern Russian Economy including a look forward.
Professor Oskar R. Harmon, who is doing research and teaching about sports economics, presented an exciting session entitled “Sports Economics and Principals of Economics” over lunch. Professor Harmon was followed on the program by Mr. Paul Conant explaining the Kyoto Treaty to the teachers in a session titled “Kyoto and Beyond.”
ECE Economics Coordinator and Emeritus Professor of Economics Bill Alpert capped off the day with his discussion “Income Distribution: What’s the Matter?”
After continuing discussion the workshop was adjourned.
At the 2018 Sports and Society Conference Oskar Harmon participated in the panel “Activism in the 21th Century”.
He presented his work on the confluence of patriotism, race, and politics in the 2017 NFL season.
The conference was hosted by the College of Mount Saint Vincent, NY on October 26, 2018.
The conference program is available at:
At the annual meeting of the American Association of University Professors in Washington DC, June 14-15, 2018, Professor Harmon participated in the panel: Taking a Knee, Raising a Fist: Race, Sport, and Politics in Historical Perspective, with Professors Joseph Cooper, Sport Management, and Jeffrey Ogbar, History.
The panel discussed free speech and social protest in sports from the historical, economic and cultural perspective. Professors Ogbar and Cooper looked at the intersection of Sports, Race and Politics traced from the advent of American organized sports in the 1880s to the social protest of Robeson and Ali. Professor Harmon presented results of a study of the effect of anthem protests on NFL gate attendance.
Professor Oskar Harmon and Robert Szarka (Visiting Assistant Professor, SUNY Oneonta) co-authored the article “Using Google Drawings to Create Homework Exercises” that appears as the lead article in issue number 2 (2018) of the Journal of Economics Teaching.
The article shows how Google Drive’s Drawings tool can be used to create homework exercises suitable for both online and face-to-face classes. This approach allows students to create graphs actively “from scratch,” similar to the traditional pencil-and-paper approach, with a minimal investment of time and money. This could be a useful active-learning tool for online, blended, and traditional courses. The tools presented in the article have been adapted by the publisher TopHat in a recently published Principles of Micro/Macro online textbook.
Using Google Drawings to Create Homework Exercises (Harmon & Szarka)
The New York FED is one of five Federal Reserve Banks that host the FED Challenge Competition. The regional winners go to the final round at the FED in Washington D.C. 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.
The 5 team participants were:
Front row: Ryan Dodd, Olga Jaramillo; Middle row: Chris McLaughlin (a two time participant), graduate assistants PD Aditya and Gul-e-Rana; Back row: Esteban Peralta, Randall Giles.
The students were assisted in their preparations by Professors Oskar Harmon, Kanda Naknoi and Steven Lanza.
The team received invaluable assistance from three graduate student assistants (PD Aditya , Di Yang, and Gul-e-Rana from the Stamford Business School MBA.
Professor Oskar Harmon has been invited to serve a three-year term on the American Economic Association Committee on Economic Education, ending December 31, 2020.
The Committee organizes the program for the annual Conference on Teaching and Economic Education (CTREE) and the Economic Education session for the annual ASSA meetings that goes into the AER P&P.
During the UConn Metanoia on Racism November 8. 2017, Professor Oskar Harmon participated in the panel: Taking a Knee, Raising a Fist: Race, Sport, and Politics in Historical Perspective, with Professors Joseph Cooper, Sport Management, and Jeffrey Ogbar, History.
The panel topic was the protest act of taking a knee during the pre-game ceremony of a football game was started in Sept 2016 by NFL player Colin Kaepernick. President Trump’s Tweet: The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this! ignited a national referendum, and in the following weeks, taking a knee became a widespread event at professional football games.
At UConn, Metanoia has become tradition wherein the University community sponsors workshops and panels around an important issue confronting the university, the state, and the nation. This semester the issue for Metanoia Day was racism.
On February 21, 2017 Professor Oskar Harmon provided testimony before the Connecticut State Senate Labor and Public Employees Committee, in opposition to SB 596 – An Act Concerning the Definition of Managerial Employee.
On March 9, 2017 Professor Harmon provided testimony before the Connecticut State Assembly Higher Education Committee in opposition to HB 971 – An Act Concerning the Promotion of Transfer and Articulation Agreements.
At the symposium “Understanding Our Neurodiverse World: Teaching Business and Economics to Students Who Learn Differently,” on Saturday, October 1, 2016, Professor Oskar Harmon gave an invited presentation on Universal Design in Online Instruction.
The keynote speaker was Paul McCulley, former chief economist and managing director at Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO). The other speakers at the day long symposium included Peter Fisher, J.D., senior lecturer at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, and Manju Banerjee, Ph.D., VP of Research and Innovation at Landmark College.
The symposium was sponsored by the Morgan Le Fay Center for Advances in Business, Economics, and Entrepreneurship, Landmark College, Putney, VT.