Each year, graduate students from the Department of Economics select representatives to serve as their voice in the department through the Graduate Economics Society (GES) and the Masters of Applied Economics (MAE) Student Leadership. Together, these envoys plan events, distribute information, and promote various opportunities on and off campus, as well as serve as point persons for other graduate students who have questions or concerns about graduate life and work.

The GES Co-Presidents this year are fourth-year PhD students Caitlin Hegarty, Max Huppertz, Leticia Jaurez, and Tyler Radler.

Caitlin Hegarty didn’t initially enjoy the field of economics until she began to see the connections between its topics and the real world, and its application of rigorous methods and principles to a wide variety of questions. In her time at UM as a graduate student, she has appreciated the work previous GES leaders did to make her feel included in the department and wanted to pay it forward. Caitlin sees how this age of COVID makes finding creating opportunities for GES to engage students more difficult than ever before, but she hopes to improve communications and help students feel connected through regular town halls and newsletters. She’d also like to prioritize DEI initiatives to incorporate those goals into the work GES is already doing.

Politics highlighted the power of the global economic system during the Great Recession in high school for Max Huppertz. Knowing he would have to understand the economy to understand the many important political decisions being driven by economic interests, Max applied for economics at Heidelberg University, Germany (In Germany, students apply for a major before college studies begin rather than trying different disciplines in the first year and picking one later on). Max sees the main role of GES as being a facilitator of communication, and hopes to not only use his role to help make sure students are talking to each other, but also serve as a point of contact for those who have concerns and need help advocating for themselves in the department. With most students and faculty working remotely during this time, this communication is only more vital for students to feel connected and engaged with the department, and Max hopes GES is able to remain accessible to students over the next year.

Leticia Juarez also discovered economics in high school, enjoying its mathematical rigor and simplicity, and how its abstract, structured reasoning and creative problem solving crosses disciplines, especially philosophy and psychology, to understand how personal beliefs and human reasoning relate to individual and social behavior. Seeing GES as responsible for fostering communication between students and the department, Leticia’s main goal for the year is establishing more formal channels of communication, including town halls and a newsletter, to keep students informed of the goings-on in the department, to make participation easier, and to motivate students to become more involved, as well. While she recognizes how COVID-19 has made connection more difficult in many ways, Leticia has also come to appreciate how the situation has facilitated more intentional communication and participation from graduate students in the department around their needs.

Though his father was an economics teacher, Tyler Radler didn’t have more than a vague understanding of the field until he took another course in college and discovered an interest for the real-world questions, credible analytical methods, and potential influence on policy of the field. Tyler chose to become involved in GES after seeing and appreciating the important work of those before him. Seeing how GES works to foster community amongst the graduate students in the department, Tyler looks forward to a year of finding creative ways to make sure people feel heard in this year impacted by COVID-19.

The Fall 2020 MAE Student Leadership are second-year masters students Eduardo Sánchez and Hongyu Dai.

This semester has been a challenging one for MAE students, with most off campus and attending classes remotely from their permanent residences. Community engagement has been limited by distance and time zones, but MAE student leader Eduardo Sánchez (pictured left) hopes that an academic Zoom event for MAE students to interact with faculty can be arranged this year before his term ends with the conclusion of the Fall 2020 semester. Eduardo’s counterpart for Fall 2020 is Hongyu Dai.