RUSTON — Two Louisiana Tech University College of Business students recently presented original research at the 13th annual undergraduate research conference for the Economic Scholars Program (ESP) at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
Senior economics major Sam Dinnat, of Alexandria, Louisiana, examined the impact of Fed excess reserve policy on interest rate volatility and its impact on macro variable forecasts, while senior finance major Grant Nelson, of Lake Charles, Louisiana, researched exchange rate pass through (the effect of international pricing on exchange rates) in NAFTA countries.
“Participation in the ESP conference provides an unparalleled opportunity for students to present their original research,” said Assistant Professor of Economics Dr. Patrick Scott, who accompanied students to the conference along with Assistant Professor of Economics Dr. Nono Gueye.
“They get to practice their oral communication skills and network among some of the brightest undergraduate researchers in the country. This experience serves as a jumping-off-point to graduate studies for some while others go on to work at the Fed or other governmental/regulatory agencies,” Dr. Scott said.
Students developed their research as part of the ECON 451 “Research Methods for Economics” course taught over the winter quarter by Dr. Scott. Research topics in the course ranged from the impact of interest rate shocks on insurance premiums and measuring the gateway drop effect using the National Survey on Drug Use and Health to estimating the effects of state mandated financial education programs among high schools and exploring the effects of high school start times on academic performance.
“Dr. Scott’s research methods class is very valuable to students of all disciplines, not just economics,” said Dinnat. “He teaches you how to take any research question and formulate a method to find an answer. The advantage for economics and finance students is that we learn how to apply econometrics.”
Dinnat noted that participating in the Economic Scholars Program is a worthwhile experience for students across disciplines, as well, particularly those with an interest in research.
“At this conference, there were many undergraduate students from around the nation presenting their own research,” said Dinnat. “I enjoyed seeing the different research questions they were able to come up with, and what econometric methods they used to find their results. I was also able to interact and network with students and professors from around the nation.”
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.
“All the students that participated and attended the conference did exceptionally well representing Louisiana Tech, the College of Business, and the Economics and Finance Department,” said Dr. Scott. “This competitive, juried process is a remarkable achievement for those that are chosen to present. I’m proud of all of them.”