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May 2, 2024

MSU Economics announces 2024 senior award winners

Seniors at the award ceremony from right to left: Ethan Fick, Sophie Handley, Maren Nicolaysen, Stephanie Tolly, Aria Muchhal and David Koster.

The MSU Department of Economics is pleased to announce and celebrate the following senior award winners of 2024:

Edwin A. and Eleanor B. Carlin Award

Sophie Handley

Stephanie Tolly


The Chalres "Lash" Larrowe and Walter Adams Award

Maren Nicolaysen


George F. McGregor Award

David Koster

Aria Muchhal

Ethan Fick


Ronald C. Fisher Award for Undergraduate Research Excellence  

Sophie Handley

Ethan Fick


Economics Outstanding Senior

Edwin A. and Eleanor B. Carlin Award

This award is presented to students with a major in economics who have demonstrated the capacity to achieve educational and professional goals, the motivation to achieve these goals, and the initiative to seek opportunities to further their progress. In selecting the recipient(s), the Department of Economics considers overall grade-point average, grade-point average in economics classes, and the nature of the student's economics program.

Sophie Handley is a recipient of the Carlin Award and has also been selected as the Department of Economics’ 2024 Outstanding Senior (link to story). She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and also received the Board of Trustees Scholarship. During her time at MSU, she participated in tutoring others in econometrics, a member of the department’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and was a member of the College Fed Challenge team. 

Next year, she plans to begin her career and work toward advancing her studies.

“I will work for PNC as a bank operations analyst and take classes at the University of Pittsburgh to prepare for a Ph.D. in economics,” she said. 

Stephanie Tolly is a recipient of the Carlin Award and has also received the MSU Board of Trustees Scholarship Award, the Peter M McPherson Scholarship Award and the MSUFCU Endowment Study Abroad Scholarship, and she was a Featherstone Award nominee. Additionally, she is a member of the Econ Scholarship Program and Phi Chi Theta, and she is also paddle chair. 

Highlights from her time at MSU include her study abroad program in Belize and her new business innovation internship at Steelcase. Tolly also hosts her own podcast (link to podcast and name here.)

“I’m going to be taking the LSAT shortly, then spending most of the summer with my older sister in Europe,” she said. “I’ll then start my job as a data analyst in August and work for a year before going to law school.”   

The Charles "Lash" Larrowe and Walter Adams Award

This award honors former MSU Economics professors Charles P. “Lash” Larrowe and Walter Adams. Recipients of this award are recognized for exceptional accomplishments in the classroom or in mentored scholarship or research activities.

Maren Nicolaysen is the recipient of the Larrowe and Adams Award, and she is also a member of the MSU Econ Scholars. During her time at MSU, she was president of the Women’s Council, an international law and natural resources research assistant in James Madison College and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, executive secretary of MSU CORES & COPS Coalition, and she was chair of the MSU Gender Advisory Committee to Student Life and Engagement. 

She received many awards including the MSU 2024 Inspiration Student Leader Award, MSU 2024 Women in Student Organization Leadership Award, MSU 2023 Rhodes Scholar Nominee, 2023 Marshall Scholar Nominee and the MSU James Madison College Student Recognition Award

“I plan to attend the George Washington University in Washington D.C. as a Wolcott Fellow to attain a Master of Public Policy,” she said. 

George F. McGregor Scholarship

This award is presented to undergraduate students who are pursuing degrees in economics. 

David Koster is a recipient of the McGregor Scholarship. During his time at MSU, he was captain of the debate team, a cru leader, the professional development chair of Kappa Alpha Pi, a research assistant, and a member of an intermural soccer team. He received the All-American Debate Award from the Cross Examination Debate Association, received the Summa Cum Laude Debate Scholar distinction twice, and he was a Truman Scholar Nominee, a Board of Trustees Scholar and an Econ Scholar. 

After graduation, he will attend Scalia Law School in Arlington, VA, to study anti-trust law


Aria Muchhal is a recipient of the McGregor Scholarship. During her time at MSU, she was a member of the department’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, an Econ Scholar the Vice President of Women and Minorities in Economics, a professorial assistant at Liang Laboratory, and a mentor for Spartan Consulting Academy. She was awarded the Alumni Distinguished Scholar, the 2021 PURI Grant Award, and first-place for her research at the University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum. 


Ethan Fick is a recipient the McGregor Scholarship. During his time at MSU, he was involved in military service preparation as an enlisted member, and later reserve officer training corps cadet in the Michigan Army National Guard. He was also an economics undergraduate learning assistant and the economics senior representative on the Dean’s Student Advisory Council, all while working 32 hours a week at Meijer in Okemos. 

Most notably, he received a military challenge coin from Governor Whitmer while conducting training in Latvia as apart of NATO’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

After graduating, Fick plans to be a research assistant for a year before beginning graduate school to obtain a Ph.D. in economics. He hopes to become a professor and researcher. Furthermore, he will be commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and plans on completing 20 years of service.

Ronald C. Fisher Award for Undergraduate Research Excellence

New this year is the Ronald C. Fisher Award for Undergraduate Research Excellence honoring Professor Fisher’s commitment to empowering undergraduate research and celebrating high-caliber, undergraduate research. He was able to attend the awards ceremony and celebrate with the first two students who received the award: Sophie Handley and Ethan Fick. Students were chosen on their research that they submitted at the end of their capstone EC 499 course. 

“We are extremely proud of our seniors and their accomplishments,” said Steven Haider, Ph.D. professor and chair of the Department of Economics. We have no doubt that they will take their economics training into their future endeavors as leaders and citizens. Congratulations to all of our senior award winners – we're rooting for you as you take your next steps into your careers and graduate studies.”