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December 2013 Newsletter


New “Econ Scholars” Program Provides Opportunities for Top Economics Majors

The number of economics majors at MSU has topped 1000, and each year about 400 students graduate from MSU with economics degrees.  Along with the growth in the size of the economics major has come a growth in the number of remarkably outstanding students studying economics, students who often seek, and can certainly benefit from, educational experiences beyond those offered in the classroom. This year the Department of Economics launched the “Econ Scholars” program, designed to recognize the achievements and potential of our top students. The inaugural class of Econ Scholars consists of 14 economics majors chosen on the basis of their academic records and an application essay. Each Econ Scholar is assigned a faculty mentor, and Econ Scholars get priority when applying for undergraduate teaching or research positions. They are also given access to a number of worthwhile opportunities for educational and career enhancement. Already this year,

  • A reception was held in honor of the new Econ Scholars, attended by economics faculty members and Dean Marietta Baba. Also attending were Don and Pat Spence, whose generous gift to the Department will support the Econ Scholars program for the first five years. 
  • The Econ Scholars are invited to meet in small group settings with distinguished alumni and visitors when they are on campus.  In September, two Scholars met with Stewart Zimmerman, Chairman of the Board and CEO of MFA Financial Inc.  In October, all of the Scholars joined the department’s Advisory Board for lunch when the Board was on campus for their annual meeting.  In November, six Scholars had breakfast with distinguished economist James K. Galbraith, who was on campus to give the department’s Solo Memorial Lecture. In the spring, Nobel Laureate Dale Mortensen will be giving the department’s annual Dunaway lecture, and he will also be meeting with Econ Scholars while on campus.
  • Econ Scholars are offered the opportunity to compete for attractive internship positions in business and economics that have been identified by Advisory Board members.
  • The department sponsored four Scholars who attended the Wall Street Training Workshop, a highly regarded program for teaching best practices in financial modeling. This spring, the department will sponsor Scholars interested in attending RISE (Redefining Investment Strategy Education), an internationally renowned investment conference for students conducted by the University of Dayton in association with the United Nations Global Compact.
  • Ten Scholars participated in the annual department-sponsored Chicago trip in November. Among other activities, they visited Incapital (hosted by Managing Director Jim Schaberg, MSU 1975), the Chicago Fed (hosted by Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Peg Koenigs, MSU Econ 1981) and Goldman Sachs (hosted by Vice President Jay Page, MSU Econ 1993).  They ended the trip by cheering the Spartans on to victory against Northwestern at Ryan Field.
  • Four Scholars are participating in our Undergraduate Assistantship Program, where they receive a stipend from the department and then provide free tutoring to students struggling in Econ 201 and Econ 202.  Two Econ Scholars represented the department as part of our Chicago Fed Challenge Team during the competition held Nov. 25th.


Below is a list of this year’s Econ Scholars, with their faculty mentors listed in parentheses:

Ruth Awor (Leah Lakdawala)     Sierra Kaufman (Charley Ballard)
Kathryn Beck (Stacy Dickert-Conlin)     Andrew Koprowski (Thomas Jeitschko)
Luke Bliss (Mike Conlin)      Steven Pawlak (Andrei Shevchenko)
Xavier Brumwell (Todd Elder) Katerina Powers (Ron Fisher)
Kelly Christopherson (Jeff Biddle)  Brian Scott (Carl Liedholm)
Ryan Erebia (Tony Doblas Madrid)     Brian Swets (Larry Martin)
Nick Ferguson (Steve Matusz)   Kenneth Welsh (Aeimit Lakdawala)


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Katherine Beck, Katerina Powers, and Ruth Awor representing the Econ Scholars in Chicago.



Back to December 2013 Newsletter

Michigan State University Department of Economics