Stamford

Career Advice is Shared with Stamford Economics Students

Mara Gauger (’13) at the Stamford campus on April 9, 2024

Students in Professor Smirnova’s Financial Economics and Money and Banking classes were visited by UConn Alumna, Mara Gauger (’13) on Tuesday, April 9, 2024.

Mara Gauger graduated from UConn with BA degree in Economics in 2013. After graduation, she worked at Citi, and achieved the level of Assistant Vice President. Since 2016 she works at Deloitte.

Mara Gauger is currently a Senior Manager Deloitte’s Capital Markets practice with extensive experience supporting securities firms and broker-dealers. Mara focuses on assisting firms on topics related to securities operations, trading systems, and risk management programs. At Deloitte, Mara has been a lead in the SEC Rule 613 Consolidated Audit Trail project office as well as assisting firms in their design and implementation of the rule requirements. Mara is also a core member of the Deloitte team supporting SIFMA, ICI, and DTCC’s efforts to analyze the impacts of an accelerated settlement cycle (T+1) since inception.

The goal of Mara’s visit was to familiarize students with careers in the financial sector, and mentor them on how to get their first job upon graduation from UConn with the Economics degree. Mara generously shared her wisdom about how to navigate the process of job and internship search: what to showcase on the resume to stand out; how to network through LinkedIn and HuskyLink; how to prepare for and conduct interviews; how to utilize the Career Center and Career Fairs; and what skills and career competencies are in demand in the marketplace.

Students were able to ask questions pertaining to their career aspirations and their experiences with internships and job search. Students who are seniors were the most vocal and were able to ask the most pointed and specific questions. Students who are juniors and sophomores received a motivational advice to start their networking as early as possible. Mara suggested utilizing HuskyLink as the first step of connecting with the UConn alumni.

Mara Gauger and Natalia Smirnova
Mara Gauger (’13) (right) and Dr. Smirnova at the Stamford campus on April 9, 2024

Mara shared that her visit to UConn is the way to give back to her Alma Mater after working in the financial industry for 10 years. She was very supportive of students’ inquiries and honest about identifying the competitiveness of the industry and challenges of getting the first job out of college. Students took her advice and candid conversation in stride. They were encouraged by Mara to continue their studies, gain career competencies, and confidently showcase their strengths and skills to the employers.

Thank you, Mara Gauger (’13) for visiting us at UConn Stamford. We really appreciate it!

Professor Smirnova Receives Thomas E. Recchio Faculty Coordinator Award for Academic Leadership

Logo of the UConn Early College Experience Program

Professor Smirnova was selected to receive 2024 Thomas E. Recchio Faculty Coordinator Award for Academic Leadership for her work with the Early College Experience Program.

This award recognizes a University of Connecticut faculty member serving as the UConn Early College Experience Faculty Coordinator for their discipline in an exemplary or unique fashion.

With over 50 UConn ECE Faculty Coordinators, there is a very competitive nomination pool every year, and the review committee is challenged to identify the top candidates.

In addition to day to day work of innovation, inspiring and empowering ECE Economics instructors at our partner schools throughout the state, and promoting University of Connecticut resources that enhance UConn Early College Experience, Dr. Smirnova received a very strong nomination from the ECE Economics instructor, Colleen Peling from William Hall High School in West Hartford, making it clear that Natalia was a top candidate.

Economics is the biggest UConn ECE cohort with 58 ECE certified Economics instructors representing 42 different partner high schools across the state.

The ECE Office and all ECE Economics instructors from UConn partner schools congratulate Dr. Smirnova on this respected professional achievement and commend her for the steadfast dedication to UConn, all ECE students and Instructors, and the UConn Early College Experience Program.

Stamford Students meet Chairman Powell at the Federal Reserve Board

The UConn Stamford College Fed Challenge 2023 team attended the College Fed Challenge Open House at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington, D.C. on February 9, 2024.

At the Open House, students had the opportunity to network with their peers, hear from Chairman Jerome Powell and staff from the Monetary Affairs division – all in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Board hosting the College Fed Challenge finals.

This trip has an educational value that cannot be replicated through any other venue. Students’ learning outcomes included: 1) experiential learning at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors; 2) deeper knowledge acquisition of the structure of the Federal Reserve Board, conduct of monetary policy, and internship and employment opportunities at the Board; 3) networking with the Federal Reserve officials and students from other universities.

The highlight of the trip was the meeting with Chairman Powell and taking a picture with him.

Group photo of Fed Chairman Powell standing with Stamford students and Professor Natalia Smirnova
First row: (from left to right) Kiet Tran, Professor Smirnova, Chairman Powell, Adrien Vincent, Kevin Jankowski; second row: (from left to right) Noah Park, Felix Brito-Velazquez, Parth Trivedi

The trip was organized by Professor Smirnova, the faculty adviser to the team, and made possible by collaborative efforts of the Economics Department, CLAS Associate Deans Office, the Business School, and the Stamford campus. The students are grateful for the opportunity to expand their economics knowledge and career competencies such as teamwork, professionalism, and career and self-development.

We ate the cake too!

Cake

UConn Stamford Team Competes in the 2023 College Fed Challenge

The UConn Stamford team participated again this year in the College Fed Challenge national competition. 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 Fall 2023 Stamford team consisted of seven students who represent a diverse set of majors and minors at the Stamford campus.

UConn Stamford Fed Challenge team members
UConn-Stamford Team before the Orientation at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on September 12, 2023. From left to right: Kiet Tran, Noah Park, Danile Barreto, Dr. Smirnova, Kevin Jankowski, Adrien Vincent, Serhiy Kotsopey (TA), Felix Brito-Velazquez, and Parth Trivedi.

Daniel Barreto, Team Leader. He is a senior majoring in Economics. His passion lies in understanding the intricate workings of the economy, a skill he found invaluable in his ventures within financial markets. One of his primary career goals is to perpetually expand his knowledge and push his limits in life. His part-time position at a law firm, which commenced in the spring, has played a pivotal role in advancing his aspirations of becoming a corporate lawyer. Daniel’s summer fellowship at WaveAerospace provided him with invaluable insights into the dynamics of a small business startup. It was an experience that deepened his understanding of economics and business, further propelling him toward career goals. Upon graduation, Daniel plans to pursue further studies in corporate law. Read Daniel’s reflection here.

Felix Brito-Velazquez is a senior majoring in Economics. He has embarked on his journey in economics driven by a genuine interest in how money shapes our society. His passion for economics started as he experienced the consequences and witnessed the complexities behind Venezuela’s economic collapse, a crisis triggered by government intervention in the central bank and private sector. This early curiosity has since evolved into a broader interest including politics, finance, and history. In parallel to his academic pursuits, he has spent the last five years as a Personal Banker at Bank of America, where he has had the opportunity of helping individuals navigate their financial decisions. It’s his deeply held aspiration to merge his academic knowledge, real world experience, and enthusiasm to play a meaningful role in crafting a more equitable economic environment for all. Read Felix’s reflection here.

Kevin Jankowski is currently in his third year at the University of Connecticut, where he is studying Financial Management with a minor in Economics. Kevin is passionate about his academic pursuits and has plans to continue his education with a master’s degree in quantitative risk management. Kevin’s career goal is to enter the world of Investment Banking. He is dedicated to working hard and seizing opportunities to expand his knowledge and skills. Read Kevin’s reflection here.

Tuan Kiet Tran comes from Vietnam. He is a sophomore majoring in Marketing Management. The striking cultural contrasts between his homeland and the US have opened his eyes not only to the vast economic disparities but also to the power of decision-making on a global scale. His passion for economics stems not merely from textbook theories but from witnessing the profound impact that decisions made by a few can have on the lives of millions. This understanding deepened as his personal hobby of cooking confronted him with the stark reality of escalating grocery prices. The surge in daily expenses prompted his curiosity, leading me to participate in the Fed Challenge. Kiet’s involvement in the Fed Challenge further enriched his understanding, demystifying the forces behind inflation and potential countermeasures. As he continues his academic journey, he remains committed to bridging the gaps between theory, personal experiences, and real-world implications. Read Kiet’s reflection here.

Parth Trivedi is a senior majoring in Economics. As a teenager, he had a passion for economic theory which he was able to nurture with the guidance of the Econ department at UConn. The Federal Reserve Challenge has lived up to its name, testing Parth’s analytical and communication skills. Though Parth had hoped to win, he hopes that the experience of a competition itself will allow him to prove himself capable as a professional Economist.

Noah Park is the Student Body Vice-President and a senior majoring in Digital Media & Design and minoring in Economics. Noah was honored to represent our university’s economics team, especially for the prestigious College Fed Challenge competition at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. As a team member, Noah closely examined and forecasted trends within the current housing market. While his primary major may seem distinct from economics, he firmly believes in the importance of understanding financial markets across all sectors. His passion for economics was ignited by his fascinations with numbers, especially measuring statistics for his favorite sport, the NBA, as well as his desire to comprehend the complexities behind the 2008 housing market crash, a pivotal event that highlighted the far-reaching consequences of economic shifts today.

Noah’s commitment to both design and economics is a testament to the diverse and integrative education offered at UConn-Stamford, demonstrating the symbiotic relationship between design thinking and economic acumen. Post-graduation, his aspirations are both clear and ambitious. He intends to seamlessly weave business and economics in his personal endeavors, focusing on individuals, particularly those with ADHD. By tapping into the synergies of his academic background, Noah plans to devise strategies to empower individuals with ADHD to enhance their executive functioning skills, enabling them to lead more fulfilled and productive lives. In tandem with this venture, Noah is fervently pursuing a part-time position as a summer TA at Yale University. This role promises to be a keystone in his academic journey, facilitating his advancement in the management master’s program and allowing Noah to further delve into the confluence of design, economics, and impactful pedagogy. Read Noah’s reflection here.

Adrien Vincent is a sophomore pursuing Financial Management with a passion for entrepreneurship. Throughout his college experience, Adrien has strived for success in the business world through various internships and the Student Government CFO of UConn Stamford. His drive for business ventures has allocated his goals in various directions, which gratefully enabled him to join the Fed Challenge Team at Stamford. Aside from Adrien’s business ventures, he enjoys branching out into other interests and hobbies, such as playing in chess tournaments, producing music, and going camping. Read Adrien’s reflection here.

The 2023 competition was still virtual, but the Orientation at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was in-person. The 2023 team’s video is available here.

The experience of the College Fed Challenge competition is an extraordinary way to build career competencies. As students reflected in their essays, the course teaches them not only economics knowledge, but also critical thinking, communication, and team building skills. Participation in this competition becomes a cornerstone of their academic career at UConn and is offered as ECON 3492-Practicum course.

Stamford Student Presents Research at NYSEA

Matthew Dalzell (’25) (left) receives a participation certificate at the NYSEA annual conference on October 21, 2023. NYSEA officials from left to right: Dr. Platt, President, SUNY Old Westbury, Dr. MacDonald, Vice President, CUNY College of Technology, and Dr. Ikwueze, Board of Directors, CUNY Queensborough.
Matthew Dalzell (’25) (left) receives a participation certificate at the NYSEA annual conference on October 21, 2023.
NYSEA officials from left to right: Dr. Platt, President, SUNY Old Westbury, Dr. MacDonald, Vice President, CUNY College of Technology, and Dr. Ikwueze, Board of Directors, CUNY Queensborough.

Matthew Dalzell’s (‘25) research paper “The Impact of Privately Owned Buses on Carbon Dioxide Emissions in Connecticut”, written in the Spring 2023 during the ECON 3431W Public Economics course taught by Professor Smirnova at the Stamford campus, was accepted for presentation at the New York State Economics Association (NYSEA) as part of the undergraduate papers competition.

On October 21, 2023, Matthew Dalzell (‘25) presented his research to a panel of judges among seven undergraduate papers that were selected.

The submitted research papers are judged in two rounds. The first round consists of the assessment of quality of papers by judges, who are professors of economics, finance, and business at various universities-members of NYSEA. From a dozen submitted undergraduate papers, seven were selected for the second round and invited to present at the conference.

The second round, which consists of paper presentation, was held as part of the NYSEA annual conference. This year, the conference was held on the campus of SUNY Old Westbury on Long Island, NY. Seven selected papers were presented at an open forum in front of the panel of judges as well as of other conference attendees (professors, professionals, and graduate students). Within this round, the presentation skills, and the ability to defend one’s research were assessed.

Matthew Dalzell (’25) provided a thorough presentation and answered many questions from judges and audience as he passionately talked about the impact of transportation industry on climate change. He put forward several policy ideas about mitigation of CO2 emissions in Connecticut.

The exposure of undergraduate students to outside audiences as they present their research helps them develop such career competencies as professionalism, communication, and self-development.

Congratulations, Matthew, on the job well done!

Professor Smirnova Receives Stamford Faculty Recognition Award 2023

Dr. Smirnova (left) and Dr. Tropp, Director of Academic Affairs & Associate Director of the Stamford Campus, during the Award Ceremony in Stamford, October 10, 2023

Every year, UConn Stamford campus administration recognizes two faculty members and a staff member for their contribution to the campus community. This year, Dr. Smirnova from the Department of Economics was one of the Faculty Recognition Award recipients.

This award is given annually to a faculty member who made significant contributions through their scholarly activities or service benefiting the University community. Recipients demonstrate high standards for academic achievement, sincerity and enthusiasm in teaching, relate classroom learning to real life situations, motivate students to excel, and respect students’ opinions.

On October 10, 2023, Dr. Tropp, Director of Academic Affairs & Associate Director of the Stamford Campus, presented the Award and shared commendations from multiple students.

“Dr. Smirnova is an innovative, enthusiastic professor who nurtures creativity and stimulates critical thinking and self-reflection within her students. She strives to engage her students by employing active learning techniques, team-based learning, and real-world application of course topics. She helps students to embark on their career exploration early on by inviting alumni/employers into the classroom to give students information firsthand from industry experts.”

“Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to engage in Dr. Smirnova’s classes and experiential learning initiatives at UConn. She has made a profound impact on who I am as a student, and my future career path.”

Professional Writer Visits the Writing-Emphasis Economics Class

Anne McAuley Lopez, CLAS ’96, professional writer and business owner of Agency Content Writer, LLC, visiting Stamford Campus on Thursday, April 13, 2023

It is a rare occasion when a Writing-Intensive Economics class is visited by a professional writer. This is what the English classes usually can offer. It is even rarer when a professional writer is actually an Economics major.

Mrs. Anne McAuley Lopez, CLAS ’96, graduated from UConn-Stamford with an Economics degree and went on to a career in the banking and data-related fields, but her heart was in the research and writing aspect of the business. With one twist in her career, she decided to do what her heart desires – set up a writing consulting firm and help businesses to create content which is appealing to their clients. The mix of economics knowledge and the knack for presenting information in a concise and engaging way jolt her firm Agency Content Writer to success.

Now, Mrs. Lopez is giving back to UConn by participating in various career and alumni events. She is collaborating with Professor Smirnova on the writing-intensive course ECON 3431 W Public Economics. During the pandemic, Mrs. Lopez recorded several motivational videos that Dr. Smirnova embedded in the course on HuskyCT. This semester, though, Mrs. Lopez was able to come to ECON 3431W in person on April 13, 2023.

The students were able to ask questions about the place of writing skills in their future career. Mrs. Lopez explained that in any career path, communication competency (written and verbal communication skills) play a very important role. She also gave motivational advice to students regarding their current peer-review class assignment. She described the role of an editor and a publisher who use the same constructive criticism approach when evaluating papers, essays, and books for publication.

Students were excited for the opportunity to connect with the UConn-Stamford alumna who is generously giving her time and expertise to help them with their writing … and with their Economics career readiness.

We thank Mrs. Anne McAuley Lopez for her continuous interest in and the support of our students.

National Security Council Director Visits Public Economics Class in Stamford

Katherine Bradbury, Director for International Economics and Competitiveness program of the National Security Council, The White House

Stamford students in ECON 3431W Public Economics class were treated for a special visit from the UConn alumna, Ms. Katherine Bradbury, who is Director for International Economics and Competitiveness program of the National Security Council at the White House.

As the curriculum of the Public Economics course, taught by Professor Smirnova, includes such topics as Fiscal Federalism, and State and Local Government Finance, a visit from the White House staff seems like an excellent fit. Working with the Center for Career Development in Stamford and UConn Alumni Office, we were able to secure Katherine Bradbury’s virtual visit to this class on April 6, 2023.

Our discussion went much deeper than the curriculum topics, however. Students shifted it into the realm of career readiness and skills that are essential for a public sector job.

Ms. Bradbury talked about the importance of being a competent person, no matter what major you are pursuing in college. She shared her strive to be a well-rounded professional, the foundation of which was set by the liberal arts education she has gotten at UConn. At the White House, she said, the main trait is the ability to maintain composure under stress and the ability to critically think about a situation at hand.

Students understood that internships and extra-curricular activities will help them show a unique set of skills and experiences that they can leverage at a job interview. They were fascinated with Katherine’s story about taking the photograph with Mr. Joe Biden and the high-level description of what she does at the White House.

Such visits by alumni are very important for students’ career and self-development as well as growth in professionalism. The interactions with alumni open their eyes on various career paths that could be pursued with their major.

We thank Ms. Katherine Bradbury for the time she carved out for us and for her inspirational conversation with students.

Economics Alumna Visits Money and Banking Class

Professor Smirnova and Viviana Castillo at Money and Banking Class
Viviana Castillo, CLAS ’20, (right) with Dr. Smirnova after the class visit in Stamford, 2/14/2023

Stamford students in ECON 2411 “Money and Banking” class taught by Dr. Smirnova were treated to a special guest visit on February 14, 2023. UConn Stamford Economics alumna, Viviana Castillo, CLAS ’20, who is Principal Finance Analyst at GlobalFoundries shared her wisdom about building knowledge base and career-relevant skills while in college, about finding a job upon graduation, about graduate school, and about current job market in the intersection of economics, finance, and tech.

While at UConn Stamford, Viviana worked in the banking industry, but she managed her time well, which allowed her to participate in the College Fed Challenge competition in 2019 as Stamford team member. She graduated in the midst of the pandemic in the Spring 2020, but did not slow down and entered graduate school at Columbia University. She continued working in the banking industry, gaining experience. After graduating with a Masters in Risk Management degree, she moved to a more interesting job in FinTech.

Viviana Castillo shared with students her approach to gaining new skills in order to prepare for demands of ever-evolving job market. She encouraged students to become career ready. In addition to content knowledge in their academic fields, students need to develop career competencies that are in high demand in the workplace, such as critical thinking, communication, and professionalism.

Students asked a lot of questions, shared their anxieties, and were grateful for Viviana’s effort to meet with them. Business leaders’ and young alumni’s visits to ongoing classes are an exciting way to connect our students to the world outside the academy and prepare them for careers upon graduation.

Women in Economics Symposium

Women in Economics Group Photo at Stamford
Stamford students with Dr. Ritter at the start of the Women in Economics Symposium on February 23, 2023

On February 23, 2023, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis hosted the annual Women in Economics Symposium. This year the theme was “Role Models Matter”. The agenda included notable women-economists, who shared their love of economics, their research, and their wisdom about how to build and navigate a career path in economics.

The symposium was held in a hybrid format, in which the in-person conference in St. Louis was combined with Watch Parties across the country. Professor Natalia Smirnova arranged for the Economics Department to hold two Watch Parties, in Storrs and in Stamford.

In Stamford, the symposium was designated as the Honors Program event, and they provided pizza and other snacks. Honors Program Assistant Director, Ms. Heenehan, helped with all the logistics during the preparation stage. Economics Professor, Dr. Patricia Ritter hosted the event. Nearly 20 students from political science, economics, and business attended the symposium. We thank Political Science Professor, Dr. Ginsberg for promoting the conference in her classes.

In Storrs, the organization of the Watch Party was done by Women and Minorities in Economics Club. This Club’s activities include speaker series and various events focusing on promoting fruitful discussion about women and minorities’ issues among Economics majors.

At the 2023 Women in Economics Symposium, students heard from exciting role models with fascinating careers in economics while also learning some practical tips about job searching, finding a mentor, and more. As we aspire to develop in our students the career readiness competencies, an exposure to national leaders in economics profession allows students to navigate career opportunities, network to build relationships, and clearly and effectively exchange information and perspectives with persons inside and outside of their home campus. These skills are transferable to students’ post-graduation career and will help them showcase their professionalism during job search and interview processes.