Business students present at Economic Scholars Program Conference

DALLAS, Texas — Nine Louisiana Tech University College of Business students recently attended the 12th annual undergraduate research conference for the Economic Scholars Program (ESP) at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. With more than 90 submissions from over 20 universities, seven College of Business students were selected as presenters, poster session presenters, and discussants.

Senior economics major Mallory Schwarz, of Houston, Texas, presented her paper, “The Impact of NAFTA on North American Business Cycle Volatility.”

“The experience was enlightening and thrilling,” said Schwarz, who also recently presented her research at the University of Louisiana System 2018 Academic Summit in New Orleans, La. “I really enjoyed talking about a topic that I had put so much time and effort into researching. Opportunities like this are extremely valuable because they allow you to experience what presenting in a real setting is like.”

Students developed their research as part of the ECON 451 “Research Methods for Economics” course taught over the winter quarter by Assistant Professor of Economics Dr. Patrick Scott.

“The students all chose the research topics that they examined so there is a relatively high degree of ownership and investment in these topics,” Scott said. “Participation in the class and the conference provides students the opportunity to study something they are passionate about deeply.”

Research topics in the course ranged from state-level minimum wage policies and the election outcomes on consumer confidence, to Bitcoin price volatility and the effect of cigarette taxes on smoking consumption.

Senior finance major Kishan Desai of Arcadia enjoyed the networking opportunities afforded to him through attending the conference. He was selected to present his research, “Analyzing Bitcoin Price Volatility,” in the poster session.

“The ability to gather different perspectives on the field of economics from undergraduate students across the country was extremely valuable,” said Desai. “The networking opportunities with the Federal Reserve at the conference were endless. I even had the senior vice president stop by my presentation and ask my thoughts on the future of Bitcoin.”

Other College of Business participants included senior finance major John Soileau of Gonzales (discussant), senior finance major Sydney Womack of Jackson (discussant and poster presenter), recent finance graduate Blake Beauregard of Rowlett, Texas (poster presenter), and recent finance graduate Taylor McCoy, of Ruston (poster presenter).

Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs Rob Blackstock, Ph.D., noted that participating in the ESP conference allows students to see first-hand the full research process. “It gives the students confidence in applying statistics to unique problems. Also, they present their results before a room of learned peers, an important skill in the workplace. Both are invaluable experiences in preparation for their first professional posting.”

The conference offers students the opportunity to share and gain feedback on high-quality undergraduate research. It is also designed to inspire other students to undertake their own projects. Since 2007, student scholars and faculty from institutions across the U.S. and Canada have come together to share undergraduate student-initiated or student–faculty coauthored works, ideas about the role of undergraduate research in the curriculum, and the challenges and concerns of undergraduates who conduct research.

“The ESP conference is a great opportunity for our students to present their research, practice their public speaking skills, interact with majors from schools all over the country, and develop the critical thinking skills that make economics majors some of the most sought after undergrads in the College of Business,” Scott said. “I have nothing but good things to say about our students during their time at the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank.

For more information on the Economics Scholars Program, visit dallasfed.org/outreach.