Fall 2020 Newsletter

Greetings, fellow Slugs! It’s been a unique quarter for all of us. We hope you’re staying positive and testing negative. For our returning Slugs, the trees are still green, the turkeys are still fat, and the views are still beautiful. For our new Slugs, we hope you get to experience campus soon. As we continue to work remotely, staying connected to one another becomes increasingly important. How else are we to know about the wonderful events taking place in the Economics Department?

This issue serves as an informational guide for prospective and continuing students, staff, faculty, and all others interested in learning about what makes the University of California, Santa Cruz a respected and valuable institution to study economics. Fall 2020 highlights alumni, award recognitions and various events that enhance the quality of the undergraduate experience at our university. For further information, please feel free to contact our wonderful peer advisers as well as our amazing undergraduate coordinators!

As we finish up our first year in the new decade, we thank all of you for supporting the Economics Department and wish you the best in the coming year. Keep the mask on, maintain that six feet distance from others, and stay safe.

- Your Fall 2020 Economics Peer Advisers

Letter from the chair
Alumni highlight
Alumni corner
Field study
Course update - Econ 113 prerequisite change
How to get involved with research
Events recap from our peer advisers
Future events
Peer advising team
Reflections on remote learning from faculty and students
Summer session 2021
Stay connected

 Letter from Chair Alan Spearot

-Dear Economics Community,

Greetings from the chair's (remote) office!

As we close what has been a fraught and eventful 2020, I continue to be amazed by the hard work of our students, faculty and staff during this unprecedented time. This year brought a multitude of challenges, both inside and outside of the classroom, and we have been heartened to witness all members of the community meeting these challenges head on.  

The department has continued offering a diverse set of courses through remote instruction, and while this period has been challenging for all, we have used this opportunity to learn and adopt best practices that will shape our approach to online instruction in the long term.  Please reach out to me personally if you have any comments and recommendations regarding how our department can improve its remote and online delivery of the curriculum. While we are dedicated to the traditional mode of in-person instruction (and very much look forward to getting back to it), the current environment has made aware the potential benefits of remote instruction, or at least aspects of it, that can improve access to economics courses, and a university education more generally. We are open to integrating what has worked into our curriculum as we move forward.

Outside the classroom, I hope that everybody is keeping well. Needless to say, the combination of unprecedented wildfires, the COVID-19 pandemic, and a very tense election season has worn on many of us indirectly, and has affected some of us very directly. Undoubtedly, there are members of the economics community who have friends, family, and loved ones who have been affected by all of these events. Our hearts are with you as we all try to recover as a campus, and broader community.

All this said, I am very happy to report that our department is strong, and moving forward on our key initiatives to improve our programs at all degree levels. We’re very happy to be recruiting three new faculty members this year, focusing on the fields of development/health, econometrics, and microeconomic theory. We are currently working toward updating our quantitative curriculum, to ensure that we are providing the very best in training to prepare our students for industry-leading jobs (and graduate studies if they choose).  And, we are of course extremely proud of UC Santa Cruz’s first Rhodes Scholar, Garima Desai, who graduated last year with a double degree in economics and environmental studies. We are so happy for Garima and her family, and wish her great success at Oxford!

Best wishes to the entire economics community, and I hope that everybody is able to enjoy a wonderful holiday season with friends and family. Please stay healthy, be sure to continue to follow all advice from public health and government offices, and have a wonderful winter!


We are pleased to announce the hardworking economics students at the graduate and undergraduate levels who were recognized and earned awards for their academic achievements. These awards are made possible by the generosity of many donors who bring effusive joy to the recipients! We are grateful for their philanthropy and support of economics at UC Santa Cruz! (Additional information about donating can be found here.)

Ph.D. Graduate Student Research Awards

Gregory Klevans
-Gregory Klevans
Research project, "The Effect of Strategic Uncertainty on Contributions in a Public Goods Game"
naresh kumar
-Naresh Kumar
david park
-David Sungho Park
Research project, "Coping with Increased Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence During COVID-19 Lockdowns: An Experiment with Disadvantaged Women in Monrovia"
yilin li
-Yilin Li
shuchen zhao
-Shuchen Zhao
Research project, "Informational Entry Barrier and Fractional Searching"
zhaoqi wang
-Zhaoqi Wang
Research project, "How Does the Knowledge of the Precisions of Traders’ Beliefs Affect Information Aggregation? Evidence from Lab Experiments"
-Jiayi Xu
Research project, "The Effect of Property Taxes on Governments, Local Businesses and Residents" 

Eileen Brooks Award
anirban sanyal
-Anirban Sanyal
harrison shieh
-Harrison Shieh

Undergraduate Student Awards

Economics Department Award in Business Management Economics
audrey lin
-Audrey Lin
giselle reyes
-Giselle Reyes
Economics Department Award in Economics
tamar sasson
-Tamar Sasson
rose svonkin
-Rose Svonkin
isabelle voix
-Isabelle Voix
Economics Department Award in Global Economics
madeline yang
-Madeline Yang
xueqing zhang
-Xueqing Zhang

Alumni Highlight

We are pleased to share some amazing news about one of our recent graduates, Garima Desai. In spring 2020, Garima graduated with a double major in environmental studies and economics (with highest honors earned from economics). In November, 2020, Garima was elected one of 32 American Rhodes Scholars for 2021. We congratulate Garima on her receipt of this outstanding scholarship and on becoming the first UC Santa Cruz Rhodes Scholar! You can read the full story here.

Alumni Corner

Daniela Gorrino, a graduate of the 2016 class, majored in global economics and is currently working for Southwest Strategies, a public affairs firm in San Diego. When asked about why she decided to pursue global economics, she highlighted that she wanted to delve deeper into her Latin American culture, which is why she valued traveling to Chile for her study abroad program. Daniela emphasized the leadership trainings available through campus resources and the countless clubs and organizations students can join to learn workforce skills and to meet new people. Taking advantage of these opportunities and capitalizing on them made the difference in preparing for her career. A piece of advice Daniela offered was that “you can't always plan out your future, but you can always prepare for the one you want.”

Henry Lopez, a graduate of the 2020 class, majored in combined economics and mathematics. He originally came in as a mathematics major but after taking Economics 1, he grew an understanding and a liking towards the discipline. Through this, Henry was able to earn an internship at Skywalker Properties Ltd. as a finance and property management intern. After graduation, Henry went on to be a performance analyst for an investment consulting firm named Meketa Investment Group. When asked about what advice he has for undergraduates, Henry stated that networking with your peers and professors definitely helps. It is also important to take on leadership roles and to take courses that challenge you.

Kelsey Rasmussen, also a recent graduate of the 2020 class, double majored in global economics and politics. When asked why she chose global economics as a major, she stated that she grew up in a Chinese immersion school, which sparked her interest in doing business not only in China, but around the world. Through her college career, Kelsey wanted to highlight her study abroad experience in Shanghai, as well as her UCDC experience. In fact, Kelsey was able to work for the Federal Trade Commission in Washington D.C., which gave her the opportunity to work for her current employer, Forge Global. When asked about what tips she has for our current students, Kelsey emphasized that networking is key.

Field Study

Field study is offered every quarter to provide students the opportunity to earn academic credit while working in the local community, Economics 193 (or 193F for two units). Students also earn credit for the PR-S (service-learning) general education requirement. Students are responsible for finding their own internship, where they can work in a professional business setting and learn valuable skills in an area of interest. This allows students to work hands-on with the knowledge they have acquired in the classroom. There is a two-unit, five-unit, and 10-unit option for field study. Each student is sponsored by an economics faculty member who provides support and guidance.  

Orientations for field study are held every quarter. Be sure to attend to find out more information about this great program. For more information and orientation dates, please refer to the Economics Field Study Program on our website. If you have any questions about field study please email econintern@ucsc.edu

Course Update -- Economics 113 Prerequisite Change

Given the importance of statistical training for our curriculum, and the future careers of our undergraduates in business and economics, we are pursuing a prerequisite change for Economics 113, Introduction to Econometrics, to be implemented in the next academic year to require STAT 7/7L as prerequisite instead of STAT 5.

If you have not already taken the prerequisite statistics course the department strongly recommends that you enroll in STAT 7/7L rather than STAT 5 to strengthen your statistical background. All UC Santa Cruz students with catalog rights 2021-22 or later will be required to take STAT 7/7L, or equivalent, prior to taking Economics 113.

How to Get Involved With Research

Working with a professor as a research assistant is a great way for undergraduate students to get firsthand experience in economics research. There are different ways this position is offered at UC Santa Cruz:
Paid either as employment or fellowship (more common for graduate students)
Independent Study course given as a two or five-unit course

You can approach a professor during class or office hours to ask about any opportunities they may have to offer to get involved with research. The faculty page on the Economics Department website also shows all the professors’ research fields which is helpful in determining what field you may be interested in.

Events Recap from Our Peer Advisers

Meet the Firms
Meet the Firms is held annually at the beginning of fall quarter and provides job opportunities and internships for all economics majors looking to work for an accounting firm or government entity as an audit or tax associate. For students who haven’t attended before, it is a great exposure to the professional inner-workings of the business world. It is also an opportunity to hear from professionals and former UC Santa Cruz graduates who have a variety of experiences.

Some of the firms that participated were: Moss Adams, Sensiba San Filippo, the Peace Corps, Deloitte, Frank, Rimerman + Co. LLP, Seiler, Wheeler Accountants, Petrinovich Pugh & Co. LLP, and Capital Insurance Group.

“From someone who has no knowledge or driven interest in accounting specifically, it was still an important learning experience. I was able to hear from accountants themselves, as well as the role of values and standards firms like Sensiba San Filippo decide to stand by. In a way, it opened my eyes to the importance of understanding the priorities of whatever business you go into. I had always been interested in joining the Peace Corps, and it was a great chance to learn from someone who has been through the process. It was an experience that I would not have otherwise gotten if I had not participated in Meet the Firms. Meeting with the Peace Corp, also gave me insight on how economics works globally and not just nationally.” -Chloe Honkoski

“Before I went to Meet the Firms, I was super overwhelmed. I was really nervous going into the event and I felt like no one talked about being scared in these professional settings. I was glad to be exposed to a low-pressure environment because when it comes down to the real thing, I know I will feel more prepared.” -Alexis Tran

Graduate School Workshop
The UC Santa Cruz Career Center hosted a graduate school workshop, “Is it right for me?”, which was hosted by Yeng Yang and Kara Snider. It highlighted the difference between undergraduate and graduate studies, as well as the differences between graduate programs. Many UC Santa Cruz alumni shared their experiences applying to and attending graduate school. They also provided advice as to what one should look for in a program. Multiple alumni recommended that people take a gap year between their undergraduate and graduate programs so that they can take time to develop their career goals and to get some work experience under their belt. This helped solidify many attendees' decisions to take a gap year in the hopes of returning to an in-person program with some additional experience guiding their academic careers.

Overall, this workshop was a great experience for anyone even remotely interested in pursuing a graduate degree. Thankfully, the Career Center recorded the workshop and posted both the slides and Q&A text. They are linked here: Video Recording Workshop Slides Q&A Text

Fall Quarterly Faculty and Undergraduate Colloquium
This quarter, we welcomed Lecturer Robert Baden and Department Chair Alan Spearot to present, by way of Zoom, at our faculty and undergraduate colloquium. Lecturer Baden began by asking: “Why do economies succeed or fail? Why do financial crises occur? And why should we care?” These questions are answered in the course he instructs every fall quarter, titled Economics 126, Why Economies Succeed or Fail: Lessons From Western and Japanese History. The topics covered range from hunter gatherer economies, all the way to the 2008 financial crisis and pandemic.

Department Chair Alan Spearot presented on the importance of data analysis, and the use of this data in modern economic models. However, these models are useless if meaning cannot be extrapolated from them. These points are emphasized in an example he provided from his own research in Tanzania where Department Chair Spearot, Associate Professor Jonathan Robinson, along with other researchers modeled how market access (quantified by prices, travel costs, and farmer decisions from a data set they collected) impacts agricultural productivity.

Dean’s Undergraduate Advisory Council
As the majority of undergraduates continue with online classes this quarter, it is important to ensure fairness, flexibility, and accessibility for students during the pandemic. The dean of the Social Sciences Division, Katharyne Mitchell, met virtually with a student representative from each of the departments across the division. One of the lead peer advisers, Jacqueline Martinez, was asked to speak for students from the Economics Department.

During this Zoom meeting student representatives were asked to express their concerns with online learning. One of the worries discussed was the wide range of accommodations professors are willing (or unwilling) to give students. Another concern was focused on students outside of California struggling to keep up with their coursework due to time zones. Time zones can cause huge issues when trying to meet deadlines. A consequential issue from this is that while lectures are being recorded for those unable to attend, in-class quizzes are still being held at normal lecture time. Students are forced to wake up in the middle of the night to keep up with the material.

The dean has promised to tackle these issues with faculty and department chairs. If you are meeting with our peer advising team and have any comments or concerns with how online learning is going, please let us know by emailing econpeer@ucsc.edu!

UCSC Economics: Let’s Talk Internships
The UC Santa Cruz Economics Department hosted a Q&A discussion with two special professionals representing two different perspectives about internships. April Marie Castro, employer relations and internship specialist at Otis College and Marc Rand, American Nonprofits interim executive director, Community Capital Advisors founder & director and UCSC economics field study program employer. During the Q&A, students were given the opportunity to ask specific questions about internships, past experiences, advice for interviews, how to write your resume, etc. Both Marc and April answered the questions based on their past experiences, as well as what they currently do at their jobs. The conversation was very interactive and insightful since it helped many students that are, for the first time, applying for internships.

Future Winter 2021 Events

Winter Quarterly Faculty & Undergraduate Colloquium
Monday, February 22, 2021 from 12:00 noon-1:00 p.m., by way of Zoom
Guest speakers: Professor Laura Guiliano and Associate Professor Grace Gu

Public Service & Helping Professions Career & Internship Fair--Hosted by the UC Santa Cruz Career Center
Wednesday, January 27, 2021 from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Peer Advising Team

Hana Braitsch

Hi I'm Hana! I am a senior majoring in economics with a statistics minor. I am originally from Tokyo, Japan and love to travel. I really enjoy getting involved in economics research, and I have been working as an undergraduate research assistant since last year. I look forward to meeting you all so don't hesitate to ask me any questions and research ones as well!

Chloe Honkoski

Hey guys! I am currently in my final year as a double economics and art history major. I am interested in film, surfing, and politics. In the future I hope to work in an art museum and then go into the film industry, specializing in documentary style film to spread awareness of political issues.

Courtney Liang

Hi, I'm Courtney and I am a fourth-year studying business management economics and technology information management. In my free time, I enjoy thrifting, sewing/knitting/crocheting, and journaling! You can also find me at a local park picnicking with my friends!

 jacqueline m
Jacqueline Martinez (Lead)

Hi folks! I’m a fourth-year business management economics major with an accounting concentration. These past two summers I’ve had an internship at Deloitte and really experienced what it’s like to be part of one of the “Big Four” accounting firms. In my spare time I like to make music, read, surf, and hike. Hope to see you around! 

Sebastian Reyes

My name is Juan Sebastian Reyes and I am an international student currently studying economics and computer science. I love engaging in interesting conversations with friends and meeting new people that share my same interests. I love to play sports such as basketball, golf and crossfit, but I am also a passionate nerd that loves to code. I enjoy helping people and as an economics peer adviser and I hope I can solve problems or answer any questions for any economics student at UC Santa Cruz.

Joseph Siu (Lead)

Hey guys! My name is Joseph Siu and I am currently a fourth-year double majoring in business management economics and sociology. I am also a John R. Lewis College affiliate from Los Angeles. My post-graduate goal is to work in the television and film industry. In my later years, I hope to create my own non-profit to help fight climate change and world hunger.

Tim Tantivilaisin

I am a fifth-year business management economics and technology & information management double major affiliated with College Nine. Some activities I enjoy in my free time include fitness, violin, road cycling, and programming. A few of my favorite musical artists are Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean. After I finish my undergraduate degree, I hope to continue to graduate school for a master’s in applied economics or statistics.

Scott Tomlinson

Hi, my name is Scott Tomlinson and I use He/Him/His pronouns. I am a fourth-year business management economics major from Cowell College. In my free time I enjoy working out, playing video games, and spending time with friends. I thoroughly enjoy getting involved in new activities and organizations which has led me to become an active member of the UC Santa Cruz student government, and of a social fraternity. There are so many opportunities and resources available to students and I am glad I could help be a part of it. As a peer adviser, I will do my best to answer all questions you have pertaining to the Economics Department. After I graduate from UC Santa Cruz I plan to return to school for postgraduate studies. 

Alexis Tran

Hello. I am affiliated with John R. Lewis College and due to COVID-19, I’m now based back home in Los Angeles. I get to graduate (hopefully) in spring 2021 with my economics major and statistics minor. In the far future, I’ll be in medicine. Right now, I’m available to help you sort out whatever it is. Supply and demand, you know?

 jacqueline y
Jacqueline Yeh

Hi everyone! I am currently a fourth-year business management economics major and a technology information management minor. I’m affiliated with John R. Lewis College and my hometown is Walnut, California. Some of my hobbies are cooking, working out and watching Netflix. In the future, I hope to work in the management/consulting field!

Reflections on Remote Learning from Faculty and Students

Since online learning has recently become a huge part of our everyday lives, we have surveyed a handful of students and reached out to a couple of faculty members to hear about their experiences with online learning and how they have adjusted to it. 

“Asynchronous delivery of large lecture has been both a challenge and a learning experience. I miss the personal connection I have with students. In a normal quarter, I meet with many of them in person, after class, around campus, and in office hours. Online, I have only met some of them in office hours and review sessions, but interaction is limited. Interestingly, a deeper connection is almost immediate in a one-on-one Zoom call. Probably because many of us are in similar situations, and we can relate to being isolated from our peers. I can't wait to return to the classroom and feel the energy of new students eager to learn from me and from each other.” -Julie Gonzalez, Lecturer

“I've taken this quarter as an opportunity to convert my class to an entirely new, permanently online format. It has been a titanic undertaking. I've worked 12 hours per day and seven days per week since August. And just like you, we faculty are not insulated from the events of the world. Course prep had to pause for 10 days in August when I evacuated from the CZU Lightning Complex wildfire. Like many of you I have also lost a relative to the coronavirus. Many of the other faculty are juggling online teaching with homeschooling their children. When we tell you that we understand how hard it has been these past few months, we're not just offering empty platitudes. The only way through is together. Hang in there with us, and we'll do everything we can to give you the education you deserve.” -Ajay Shenoy, Assistant Professor

“Online learning has impacted me because it has caused me to have less motivation to go to class and have the want to learn. However, it makes it easier for me to attend class but when classes are asynchronous, I have to spend more time learning the material myself instead of the professor teaching me.” -Anonymous, 4th Year

“I have learned how to manage my free time more efficiently. One thing that I miss the most is going to in-person classes and having a more set schedule. Since classes are online now, my schedule is more flexible and I can attend classes more conveniently, but I also feel like this makes me slack off a bit.” -Anonymous, 4th Year

In summary, after surveying a handful of students on their thoughts and experience with online learning, the conclusion is that both faculty and students have shifted to an entirely different mode of focus. Although some people prefer the freedom of online classes, the majority of the people who filled out the survey agree that online learning is more difficult when it comes to time management and focus. While there is too much freedom being in the comfort of your own home, distractions are inevitable. Some people even mention that they find it easier to slack off when attending class since it is so convenient. In terms of interacting with other peers and professors in their classes, the majority of students agree that not much has changed because office hours and additional learning services are still being offered. 

Campus resources for remote learning/instruction: LSS, MSI, etc.
Remote Learning Lab (offers remote access to computer workstations and software):

Summer Session 2021

Our economics summer courses offer an opportunity to fulfill prerequisites and major requirements all with the comfort of smaller class sizes. Most summer session courses will be offered remotely unless noted otherwise. For the first time ever, we are offering two courses in the 10-week session! Enrollment begins May 1st. More information can be found at summer.ucsc.edu.

Summer Session 10-week (June 21 - August 27)
Econ 100A Intermediate Microeconomics (online)
Econ 113 Intro to Econometrics

Summer Session 1 (June 21 - July 23)
Econ 1-01 Introduction to Microeconomics {PE-H/IS}
Econ 2-01 Introduction to Macroeconomics {PE-H/IS}
Econ 10A Economics of Accounting I (online)
Econ 100A Intermediate Microeconomics
Econ 101 Managerial Economics
Econ 133 Security Markets & Financial Institutions (online)
Econ 136 Business Strategy
Econ 140 International Trade
Econ 197-01 Economic Rhetoric {DC}

Summer Session 2 (July 26 - August 27)
Econ 1-02 Introduction to Microeconomics (online){PE-H/IS}
Econ 2-02 Introduction to Macroeconomics {PE-H/IS}
Econ 10B Economics of Accounting II (online) 
Econ 100B Intermediate Macroeconomics
Econ 104 Is There Truth in Numbers: Role in Statistics {DC}
Econ 113 Intro to Econometrics
Econ 125 Economic History of the U.S.
Econ 161A Marketing (online)
Econ 197-02 Economic Rhetoric {DC}

Stay Connected

Undergraduate students, please join our LinkedIn Group:  UCSC Economics

Master's students, please join our LinkedIn Group:  UCSC M.S. in Applied Economics and Finance

Doctorate students, please join our LinkedIn Group:  UCSC Economics Ph.D. Program

Alumni and students, please join the Career Advice Network (CAN) for free career advice.

Visit our Economics Department Calendar for upcoming events.

List of Classes for Winter Quarter