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At the 2017 graduation reception this Mother’s Day, we recognized two undergraduates for their sustained excellence and accomplishments in the Economics degree.

Economics major and minor in Geography, Ariana Vaisey (pictured at left, with Department Chair Patrick Conway) was awarded the Outstanding Undergraduate in Economics award; this award is given each year to the graduating Economics major with the highest grade-point average in Economics courses.  Ariana was also recognized  for having written an outstanding senior thesis.  Her work was entitled “The Impact of Roads on Land-Use Change in Ethiopia: Evidence from Satellite Data.”  Ariana saw the senior thesis as a way to bring together her collegiate interests.  “I wanted to write a senior thesis in order to apply the tools I learned in my economics classes to explore how transportation infrastructure impacts economic growth (at the intersection of my major in economics and minor in geography).”  Her advisor, Professor Simon Alder, describes Ariana as “…great pleasure to work with. Ariana showed tremendous enthusiasm every time we met to discuss her work, she is very bright and also effective in managing her work and achieving ambitious goals. I am convinced Ariana will succeed in whatever career she chooses and hopefully she will consider graduate school after gaining some experience in the private sector.” Starting in June, Ariana will be an Economic Research Analyst at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, NC.  Reflecting upon her senior thesis as a research opportunity, she says, “In my job at Wells Fargo, I will be applying the research skills I learned writing my thesis.   In the future, I also hope to go to graduate school where I can further develop my research skills.”

Double-major in Economics and Math, Andrew Castro (pictured at right) was also recognized for having written an outstanding senior thesis.  His work was entitled “What Economic Factors Drive Connectedness in Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs)?”.  “…the [honors] thesis is an excellent starting point to further develop my research skills and a foundational basis for future research that I will be conducting in the fall” says Castro. He will be attending Michigan State University where he will pursue his PhD in Economics. “Andrew is a diligent, hard-working, intuitive thinker that knows his strengths and isn’t afraid of learning more” says his faculty advisor Professor Neville Francis, “I have no doubt that he will succeed in whatever path he chooses.”


Congratulations, Ariana and Andrew, and the best of luck in your future endeavors!


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