Smirnova

Early College Experience – Economics: Workshop 2021

On Wednesday, October 27, 2021, Dr. Smirnova conducted annual professional development workshop for teachers participating in UCONN Early College Experience (ECE) Economics program. Dr. Smirnova, who is the Economics Department coordinator of this program, welcomed 34 teachers and presented the summary of NACEP (National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships) accreditation requirements. Dr. Smirnova emphasized the importance of course comparability such as student learning outcomes, syllabus, assessment, and grading standards. Dr. Smirnova proudly mentioned that University of Connecticut was the first institution in the nation that received NACEP accreditation in 1999.

Next on the agenda was an important topic of Highlighting Diversity and Inclusion with FRED® Data. This segment was presented by Dr. Diego Mendez-Carbajo, Senior Economic Education Specialist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Participants learned how to leverage FRED Blogs in their classes by accessing FRED Blog posts through EconLowDown and using multiple-choice questions addressing data literacy, numeracy, and econ analysis. Several examples highlighting the topics of diversity and inclusion were discussed, such as labor force participation of workers with disability and women’s employment losses due to COVID-19, among others. Dr. Mendez-Carbajo suggested possible uses of FRED Blogs such as pre-lecture independent exploration, in-class application exercises, assessment, and out-of-class assignments.

Contemporary monetary policy changes were addressed by Dr. Scott A. Wolla, Economic Education Coordinator at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. His presentation called “Monetary Policy Has Changed. Has Your Instruction?” highlighted new information about changes of primary monetary policy tools, flexible inflation targeting, and nuanced changes in the wording of the Fed’s dual mandate. Dr. Wolla carefully explained the contemporary implementation of monetary policy and shared classroom resources, which address these changes ahead of changes inside economics textbooks.

UCONN Library is a great resource for getting access to databases, reading materials, videos, and teaching our students about legitimate sources, citation styles, and research skills in general. In her presentation “UConn Library Resources for You and Your ECE Students”, Sheila A. Lafferty, Information Literacy & Social Sciences Librarian, showed various research tools as well as familiarized participants with the notion that there are “not only books” that are available at UCONN Library. She guided teachers to video recordings, data sources, academic journals, popular journals, and many other things that are part of the library collection. Ms. Lafferty created a special ECE Library Guide, which summarizes her presentation and can be accessed any time.

In conclusion, Dr. Smirnova encouraged teachers to continue perfecting their craft of teaching economics in an engaging way. To aid with that endeavor, every workshop participant will receive a complimentary electronic copy of the book “Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning” by Brown, Roediger III, and McDaniel (2014).

Thank you, Early College Experience Office, for making this professional development workshop a success!

Professor Smirnova Receives Stamford Faculty Recognition Award 2021

During the Stamford campus Convocation ceremony on September 9, 2021, Professor Smirnova received the 2021 Faculty Recognition Award given to faculty member who goes above and beyond the call of duty to serve the students and the campus. According to the Award criteria, the nominee should have a balanced and thorough record of achievement in the areas of scholarship, teaching, and service.

In addition to teaching various Economics courses, Dr. Smirnova was recognized for her work with students as academic adviser, as club advisor to the College Fed Challenge Stamford team, as Career Champion, and the organizer of several community outreach events.

During 2020-2021 academic year, Dr. Smirnova collaborated with Political Science Department, Center for Career Development, Honors Program, and UConn Foundation to bring two well-attended career-focused events to Stamford campus:

Dr. Smirnova also serves as the Economics Department liaison to the Early College Experience Program, which works with high schools across Connecticut. In 2020-2021, the Economics was the largest discipline of the ECE program, working with 68 instructors teaching 52 courses.

The scholarship of Dr. Smirnova encompasses her work on pedagogy, promotion of women in economics, and supporting students with their research aspirations. To this end in 2021, Dr. Smirnova was instrumental in sending her students to the Diverse Economics conference and the National Conference on Women in Economics WE are Resilient.

Her own research on data visualization use in the undergraduate classroom was showcased at the TeachECONference2021 organized jointly by Cornell University and the University College of London.

At the Convocation, Dr. Smirnova shared her passion for teaching and working with students and encouraged students to seek resources that will help them succeed.

Spring 2021 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

Jasmine Kuyateh-Banks
Melissa Mendez
Kelly-Anne Moffa
Joslin Valiyaveettil
Clare Wieduwilt
Linge Yang
Michael Zhu

Kathryn A. Cassidy Economics Scholarship

Lauren Pawlowski

Rockwood Q. P. Chin Scholarship

Ryan Durrell
Cole Ensinger
Yue Sun

Louis D. Traurig Scholarship

Kader Akpinar
Susan Bailey
Prasad Gosavi
SeSe Nguyen

Paul N. Taylor Memorial Prize

Brendan Adams

Julia & Harold Fenton and Yolanda & Augustine Sineti Scholarship

Linge Yang

Charles Triano Scholarship

Matthew Petridis

Dr. Joseph W. McAnneny Jr. Scholarship

Kelly-Anne Moffa
Benjamin Scudder
Kira Smith
Alexander Taylor
Joslin Valiyaveettil
Clare Wieduwilt
Michael Zhu

Robert J. Monte Scholarship

Isadore Johnson

Ross Mayer Scholarship

John Peterson
Ajshe Zulfi


Graduate Awards

W. Harrison Carter Award

Jinsoon Cho
Jingwei Huang

Abraham Ribicoff Graduate Fellowship

Miranda Mendiola Valdez

Timothy A. and Beverly C. Holt Economics Fellowship

Yijia Gao
Anastassiya Karaban
Ha Kyeong Lee
Kunze Li
Ghania Shuaib
Jiaqi Wang
Yangkeun Yun

Albert E. Waugh Scholarship

Umesh Ghimire

Economics Department General Scholarship

Tiange Du
Xuejian Gong
Ruohan Huang
Benjamin Taraskevich
Ziyun Wu
Yizhi Zhu

Best Third Year Paper Award

Lindsey Buck, awarded for her paper “Head Start Improves Health and Welfare 25 Years After Participation”

Graduate School Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

Faisal Algosair
Abdulmohsen Almuhaisen
Erdal Asker
Birenda Budha
Dingxian Cao
Jingyun Chen
Zhenhao Gong
Treena Goswami
Huarui Jing
Chuang Li
Chun Li
Xizi Li
Tongan Liu
Deepak Saraswat
Rui Sun
Victor Volkman
Jinning Wang
Haoxiang Xu
Heli Xu
Heshan Zhang
Wei Zheng


Faculty Awards

Grillo Family Research Award

Jorge Agüero

Grillo Family Teaching Award

Natalia Smirnova

 

Congratulations to everyone!

Diverse Journeys: Social Sciences Alumni Career Panel

On Thursday, February 25th, 2021, UConn Stamford students were treated to a special discussion “Diverse Journeys: Social Sciences Alumni Career Panel” featuring UConn Stamford alumni of color who majored in social sciences and now work in a variety of interesting and diverse careers.

The panelists were:

Daniel Caceres ’14 (CLAS), Real Estate Agent, YB Realty.

Saif Syed ’16 (CLAS), Investment Banking Associate, Goldman Sachs.

Destini Pereira ’19 (CLAS), Associate Project Manager, Lockwood.

Andrea Lopez ’14 (CLAS), Research Associate, Teachers College, Columbia University.

The participants shared candid insights and perspectives about job search and navigating the workplace as a person of color. Panelists also provided perspectives on how their educational experiences at UConn Stamford shaped their career journeys and put them on the path to success.

This event was organized by UConn Stamford — Department of Economics, Department of Political Science, the Center for Career Development, and the Honors Program in partnership with the UConn Foundation.

The recording of the event can be watched using this link.

Stamford Team Competes in the College Fed Challenge 2020

This year, the College Fed Challenge competition was virtual. It was a challenging transition to understand the intricacies of new rules and regulations and to pivot in September to be ready by October 9. But the UConn-Stamford team was well-organized, enthusiastic, and well-prepared to put forward the arguments that the current economic situation warrants keeping the target federal funds rate unchanged.

The 2020 team consisted of five Stamford students: Cullen Murphy (ACES, sophomore), You Kim (Financial Management and Economics, senior), Shayla Siljkovic (Linguistics and Philosophy, sophomore), Eileen Zhu (Economics, junior), and Rashana Weerasinghe (Business Data Analytics, sophomore). They worked virtually; very diligently, creatively, and collaboratively. They describe the challenges of this new environment as the loss of a camaraderie of in-person interactions, technical difficulties, and physical isolation. However, the presentation that they put forward combines the intellectual rigor of each member, deep research of economic indicators, and a collective vision of what the forecast of current economic conditions looks like.

You can watch their presentation here.

Our team did not make the next round of the competition this year, which is, of course, disappointing. However, the learning that has occurred was a worthwhile experience. First, each student has developed an expertise in a selected economic indicator or industry: each team member researched, constructed graphs, and made connections with overall economic development as well as with monetary policy implications. Furthermore, students gained highly valuable skills such as critical thinking and teamwork. These are the skills that are transferable to other professional environments such as a graduate school or a workplace.

You can read the students’ reflections here:

Cullen Murphy – Stamford Fed Challenge 2020

You Kim – Stamford Fed Challenge 2020

Shayla Siljkovic – Stamford Fed Challenge 2020

Rashana Weerasinghe – Stamford Fed Challenge 2020

Eileen Zhu – Stamford Fed Challenge 2020

The course that will be used to prepare a team for the next year’s competition is ECON 3492 – Practicum. It is offered every semester. Stamford students who are interested in joining the team should contact Dr. Smirnova. The student’s major does not matter – all majors are welcome! What matters is the desire to learn about the economy and monetary policy, and to be open-minded to work well in a team.

 

Stamford Campus Hosts Women Alumnae

Students at Stamford campus were treated to an amazing event on November 12, 2020. A virtual panel discussion featuring UConn Stamford alumnae who majored in social sciences (COMM, ECON, HDFS and POLS) called “Breaking the Mold: Women in Social Sciencesattracted almost 100 students.

A recording of the event may be found online at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQK8qMAPrXs&feature=youtu.be

The five UConn Stamford alumnae who were featured work in a variety of interesting and diverse careers. These women created their own paths, in unconventional ways, in areas where women are often underrepresented. During the event, they provided insights into how their educational experiences at UConn shaped their career journeys and put them on the path to success!

Panelists:

  • Harriet Munrett Wolfe (’76 CLAS) is the Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Webster Bank and Webster Financial Corporate. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from UConn and a J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law.
  • Maureen Hanley (’92 CLAS) is the Senior Vice President of The First Bank of Greenwich. Maureen has a bachelor’s degree in political science from UConn.
  • Anne McAuley Lopez (’96 CLAS) is the lead writer and owner of McAuley Freelance Writing. She has a bachelor’s degree in economics from UConn.
  • Katherine Velez (’10 CLAS) is a Research Coordinator at Columbia University Medical Center. She has a bachelor’s degree from UConn in Human Development and Family Studies and an MSW from Fordham University.
  • Brianna Walston (’17 CLAS) is the Founder of Brianna Regine Visionary Consulting, LLC. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications from UConn.

Students learned how one’s career evolves post-graduation, how to find a mentor, and how to navigate the job search environment during the pandemic. During the Q&A, students asked questions about challenges that women face in the workplace and how to leverage one’s education and mentorship relationships for the successful steering of a career.

Overall, the panelists offered many positive and constructive suggestions, helping students keep faith in themselves even during the uncertain times of a pandemic.

This program was hosted by UConn Stamford: Political Science and Economics Departments, the Center for Career Development, and the Honors Program in partnership with the UConn Foundation.

By Natalia V. Smirnova

Early College Experience Economics Workshop

Every year, the Economics Department hosts the professional development workshop for high school teachers of economics who are part of the UConn Early College Experience (ECE) Program. This program provides opportunities for high school students to take a UCONN course for credit at their high school. The teachers who offer such a course attend the annual workshop and are certified by the Department. Dr. Smirnova is a new coordinator for the ECE Economics program.

On Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 29 teachers from all over the State of Connecticut attended a virtual professional development workshop organized by Dr. Smirnova, the Department of Economics, and the Office of Early College Programs. The agenda was packed with useful and up-to-date information that could be used in the classroom right away.

Dr. Diego Mendez-Carbajo, Senior Economic Education Specialist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis presented a talk “Remote Active Learning with FRED Interactives”, which demonstrated new approaches of using the FRED database for teaching various topics.

Dr. Scott A. Wolla, Economic Education Coordinator at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis talked about “Teaching New Tools of Monetary Policy”, which presented the up-to-date information about monetary policy tools that have changed substantially in the past couple of years and especially since August 20202. Dr. Wolla showed various resources that could be used in teaching and studying Macroeconomics and Money and Banking.

Dr. Carlos J. Asarta, Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship at the University of Delaware presented his new research “Teaching Digitally-Minded Students during the Pandemic and Beyond”. The data collected by Dr. Asarta indicates that the profession has not yet successfully pivoted to using engaging strategies in teaching and, therefore, there are challenges in recruiting and retaining economics majors. Dr. Asarta suggested several ways of making economics more interesting, more applied, and more fun for contemporary students.

The feedback from teachers was overwhelmingly positive. Everyone learned a lot and took away many resources to be used in the classroom.

By Natalia V. Smirnova

Women in Economics Symposium

On February 27, 2020, two Economics students from the Storrs campus (Daija Brunson and Pershae Gilling) and one Economics student from the Stamford campus (Viviana Castillo) got the chance to travel to Cleveland, OH, for a Women in Economics Symposium. In the morning of the event the students got the chance to meet Research Assistants for the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and ask them questions about their journey so far. A lot of insight was given by the Research Assistants and they were very helpful in providing guidance to the students about what they should do in the future.

The students also got the chance to tour the bank and they were even able to go down to the cash processing center where they could see how automation plays a big role in their daily processes.

The symposium was held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and included keynote addresses from Dr. Lisa Cook, Director of the AEA Summer Program and Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Founder of Economic Education Institute. In addition, during the symposium the students got the chance to sit through different discussion panels with topics about what to do with a degree in economics, how to get a PHD, and how to navigate the workforce as a female.

During the reception they got a chance to meet other students and employees from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, including Dr. Loretta Mester, the President and CEO of the bank. Overall, the full day was filled with a lot of information and it provided the students with a lot of guidance as to what they should do in the future. The students came back feeling very energized and excited as to what the future holds for them.

 

Written by Viviana Castillo and Dr. Natalia Smirnova

Women and Girls’ Day at the Capitol 2020

On March 6, 2020, Dr. Natalia Smirnova and Dr. Tianxu Chen represented the Economics Department at the “Women and Girls’ Day at the Capitol 2020” cohosted by The Governor’s Council on Women and Girls, The Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity & Opportunity; and The Women’s Suffrage Commission.

The theme for the event was CELEBRATE – CONNECT – INSPIRE:

To CELEBRATE the progress made by women in honor of Women’s History Month and the 100 Year Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage.

To CONNECT the state community to resources and opportunities that are available to the public, such as:

  • Career information.
  • Health & safety services and information.
  • Women leaders in STEAM and underrepresented fields — hence Economics!
  • Resources for women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs.

To INSPIRE women and girls to design their own paths (providing a broad scope of role models for them to become inspired).

The intended audience for the day was female high school juniors and seniors, and women from across Connecticut. A total of 300 individuals attended, with half of them being high school aged girls. Both Dr. Smirnova and Dr. Chen were excited to share their love of economics with the attendees. The event was worthwhile for everyone!

Early College Experience Economics Workshop

The Early College Experience Economics program (https://ece.uconn.edu/) held its annual workshop this fall for 30 Connecticut high school economics teachers who are teaching UConn’s Principles of Microeconomics (ECON 1201), Principles of Macroeconomics (ECON 1202) and/or Essentials of Economics (ECON 1000).

Early College Experience Workshop Presentation with Shor

Leading off the workshop was Professor Mike Shor, presenting “Patent Holdup” in which he explained the limits monopoly power conveyed by patents. The complementary relationships among patents and the price determination of purchasing or licensing of patents. He went on to explain the idea of the patent hold up.  He also provided the workshop participants with a classroom exercise in which students discover how patents are priced.

Early College Experience Workshop Presentation with Smirnova

There followed a presentation by Professor Natalia Smirnova, “Using Data in the Classroom: FRED database.” Professor Smirnova demonstrated several empirical uses of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank’s FRED database including both Macro and Micro economic examples.

Professor William Alpert presented a lunch time talk about the “Perils and Pitfalls of Prediction” highlighting the famine predictions of Paul Ehrlich for the 1980 (100’s of millions die) and the failed predictions of The Club of Rome from 1973. Professor Alpert also “predicted” the rise to more than 600 million in the number of horses in the United States if 18th Century trends had continued, assuming no alternative means of transportation.

Early College Experience Workshop Presentation with Alpert

Professor Steven Lanza then followed up with a presentation entitled “Rediscovering Lost Arts: Economic Index Numbers” in which he stressed the importance of index numbers and the biases in those numbers.  He also demonstrated how to calculate them using data that is easy to access and readily available.

Professor Nishith Prakash rendered the concluding presentation concerning a natural experiment concerning the harassment.  In India 79% of women living in cities have experienced harassment in public spaces.  Professor Prakash and his coauthors set out to determine the effect of street patrolling that targets harassment, on the type and frequency of incidents and women’s proactive responses.  They also are trying to determine the impacts of targeting perpetrators of harassment and what drives these changes — visibility, and/or quantity of a focused taskforce?

All of the presentations were well received and the workshop was among the most successful offered by the ECE Economics program.