Spring 2020 Newsletter

Hello fellow economics students and faculty! Welcome to the Economics Department’s spring 2020 newsletter. This issue serves to inform everyone about the various highlights that occurred this quarter. Spring 2020 saw the university's transition to a remote-based, virtual platform due to actions aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus announced by Chancellor Cynthia Larive. To date, the campus reports only five cases of the virus; however, that count includes one tragic death, for whom we extend our deep condolences to the family, friends and acquaintances. Through these challenging times, our advising team put in our best efforts to ensure student satisfaction. We hope we were successful in our endeavor.

I am very grateful for my two years working with economics advising. Myself and the graduating peer advisers are excited to begin the next chapters in our lives, but we will always be appreciative of our time helping students. I encourage students to always come in or seek our advising as peer advisers have and always will welcome anyone who needs someone to talk to.

- Henry Lopez  

Letter from the chair
Faculty highlight
Scholarship highlights
Field study
Events recap
Graduation news
Graduating peer advisers: upcoming journeys
Summer courses
Stay connected

Letter from Chair Alan Spearot

-Dear Economics Community,

Greetings from the chair's (remote) office. I hope you are keeping well during this unprecedented time at UCSC.  

Needless to say, this has been an eventful year. Fall brought us severe wildfire conditions across California, and preemptive power outages that disrupted campus and our community for multiple days. Winter brought us unprecedented labor actions on campus that impacted all students, faculty, and staff across the university. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended daily life as we know it, endangering the health of many, and casting great uncertainty on all aspects of our lives. Most recently, our attention has been held by racial violence and abusive policing, and subsequent protests and unrest, forcing us all to think about, understand and find ways to resolve systemic social inequities and unequal justice, especially affecting people of color. The ensuing dialogue and actions across the world are more examples of unprecedented behavior, with many for positive change.

Undoubtedly, there are members of the economics community who have friends, family, and loved ones who have been and are affected by all of these events. Our hearts are with you as we all try to recover as a campus, and broader community. It is my hope that the department and campus community provide at least some respite from the challenges we are all facing, and an opportunity to explore these enormous issues and give us the tools to work together and find solutions.  

Despite the many hardships, I continue to be impressed with the resilience of our students, faculty, and staff. We recently awarded nine undergraduate scholarships in economics and eight teaching awards to our dedicated graduate students. A number of our Ph.D. students have earned placements at major institutions like Facebook and the World Bank. Our master’s students are finishing their intensive one year program with exams at the end of June; and most impressively, we will be graduating approximately 400 seniors in business management economics, economics, global economics, and economics/mathematics this year. These students have reported positions at prominent institutions such as Bank of America, Deloitte, and Square. We are very proud of all the incredible work our students across all degree programs have put into this academic year!!

In preparation for the summer and fall quarters, we will be reviewing areas for improvement in our remote curriculum, with a particular emphasis on student engagement. Given the speed at which the pandemic and associated shelter-in-place orders affected our operations, our faculty each took an individual approach to remote instruction, and we now have a diversity of experiences to help guide us for instruction in the fall. Needless to say, our students have also collected a diversity of experiences in the classroom this year, and we intend to draw on these to make our department better during this unprecedented time. Rest assured, we will continue to work tirelessly to provide our students an outstanding educational experience.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not thank our staff and student advisers, who have done an incredible job in adapting to our new (remote) normal.  I can’t thank you all enough for your hard work on behalf of our students and the department.

Best wishes to the entire economics community. Please stay healthy, be sure to continue to follow all advice from public health and government offices, and have a wonderful summer!

Faculty Highlight

Kristian López Vargas, assistant professor, was highlighted in the UC Santa Cruz news center. Professor Vargas developed a phone-based app for his home country of Peru, PeruEnTusManos, to improve contact tracing to protect people from Covid-19. The full article can be found here.

Scott Anderson, CPA and lecturer, was prominently featured in the Accounting 2020 Trends and Outlook Guide. He was asked to weigh in on what to expect for graduates going into the accounting field in 2020. His response can be read here.

Robert Fairlie, professor and labor economist, was interviewed for multiiple news stories lending his expertise on inequalities facing African-American entrepreneurs and businesses exacerbated by the novel coronavirus. Here's one published on the PBS News Hour.

Scholarship highlights

We are thrilled to announce that many hard-working and dedicated economics students at the graduate and undergraduate levels have received awards in recognition of their academic achievements.

Graduate Student Awards

Guru Gobind Singh Fellowship for 2020-21

naresh kumar
Naresh Kumar

Milam-McGinty-Kaun Award
Prateek Arora

Economics Teaching Awards

Luka Kocic

Jianan Liu

Liwei Liu

Guanghong Xu

Shuchen Zhao

David Zink

Undergraduate Student Awards

Blanche McKenzie Scholarship in Economics
Misheel Battumur

Delta Sigma Pi (DSP) Scholarship Key Award
Hieu Cat-Thanh Nguyen

Robert J. Shepherd Economics Accounting Path Scholarship
Hoatson Kwan

Economics Department Award in Business Management Economics
Steven Fafel

Natalie Mo

Andre Yu

Economics Department Award in Economics
Alia Roca-Lezra

Siddarth Sharma

Field Study                               

From summer 2019 through spring 2020, field study internships were completed at various companies and UC Santa Cruz departments, and all managed remotely in spring, including:

Century 21 M&M
A Brighter World
American Nonprofits
Century 21 M&M
Device Cycles
Downtown Association Santa Cruz
Forty Three PR
Moss Adams
Nadel Phelan
Poly (Plantronics)
Rising International
Santa Cruz CORE Fitness + Rehab
Santa Cruz Symphony
Scharf Investments
Schooner Realty
Sensiba San Filippo
Social Proof
State Farm Insurance
SVC Media Inc.
Timeskip Studio
Triple Ring Technologies
UCSC Audit Management Advisory Services (AMAS)
United Way of Santa Cruz
YektaSonics Inc.

All of this would not be possible without our rock star field study employers! Thank you to everyone who volunteered their time and mentorship, and to the many who swiftly transitioned positions for remote work in spring--we greatly appreciate your continued support of our students.

Events Recap

Spring Quarterly Faculty & Undergraduate Colloquium
Economics undergraduate students, faculty, and staff gathered by way of Zoom for the spring quarterly faculty and undergraduate colloquium. Lecturer Steve Owen began the presentation by providing insight to his previous work and occupations which led him to where he is today. He discussed his previous work experiences at companies such as Apple and KPMG as well as start-up companies. Lecturer Owen gave advice to students about entering the job market after graduation. During this global pandemic, searching for jobs can be stressful. Lecturer Owen advised students who are looking for full-time offers or internships to apply to several positions. Even if the position does not exactly match your interests, you will still gain valuable work experience and have a better understanding of careers which you are or are not interested in. Lecturer Owen is well known for teaching Economics 161A, Marketing, to undergraduate students at UC Santa Cruz. Several of his students were in the audience and able to connect his presentation to this course during the Q&A session. Professor Robert Fairlie presented on the financial impact of COVID-19. Additionally, he provided similar advice to students about the job market during these challenging times. Professor Fairlie stated that, “My main recommendation would be to remain flexible. You might not be able to find your ideal job right now, but be open to different possibilities even outside of your main area of interest, and including internships and temporary work. Hopefully the economy will rebound faster than predicted.”

Wiley CPA Informational Session
Most accounting students can tell you about the exciting challenge in trying to understand the requirements needed in order to take the certified public accounting exam also known as the CPA exam. However, thanks to the great connection the department has with different CPA review courses, we here at the Economics Department have been privileged to host informational workshops with different representatives of these CPA review courses. This spring quarter we were honored to have Carla Ng, a regional director from Wiley, join us by way of Zoom. Carla explained the requirements needed to take the exam, the process when taking the exam, as well as the process once you pass the exam. Additionally, Carla talked about her personal experience when she was preparing to take the exam. Overall, this event was very informative and students who attended the event felt better prepared for the exam and the process of it.

Tips for Transfer Students--from an Alumni Transfer
"Becoming familiar with and then utilizing the resources available to me on a regular basis is directly what I would attribute my success to in both navigating and graduating the economics major. By this I mean department counseling, peer advising, tutoring, Modified Supplemental Instruction (MSI), and going to class and section on a regular basis. Recognizing when I needed help, having the realization that there were abundant resources available to me, and then asking for help were my biggest wins in college." -Elliot Spector, B.A. economics (2019)

Economics Graduate School Panel
The campus's Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP) held a panel with current economics graduate students to answer some common concerns and questions about pursuing a Ph.D. On the panel were fifth year Ph.D. student, Luka Kocic, fourth year Ph.D. student, Prateek Arora, and first year Ph.D. student, Ian Allen. When asked about the application process and to recall their experiences, all three graduate students shared similar recounts. They advised prospective graduate students to take the graduate record exam (GRE) early summer to ensure you have time to retake the test in order to get the highest score possible. However, we note that in response to COVID-19, some academic institutions are waiving requirements for standardized tests. One of the most emphasized tips given was to have at least three professors, whom you know well enough, write letters of recommendation. Pursuing graduate school is a big commitment and can be financially intimidating. When asked if they recommend taking a "gap year", all three students said yes. A gap year can be spent studying for the GRE, saving money, or simply taking a break from academia before committing six years of your life working toward a Ph.D. Depending on what graduate school program you are accepted into, your personal costs will vary. Many programs offer some level of funding in the forms of fellowships, research assistant employment or teaching assistant (TA) employment. These often cover in-state and out-of-state tuition, fees, health insurance and offer some salary or stipend. Be sure to inquire during your interviews what funding you can expect to receive and can apply for, what expenses that funding would cover, and research the cost of living expenses in the area you are considering for graduate studies.

If you have any further questions about graduate school, email your TAs to inquire if they would be open to talking about their own experiences.

UC-Wide Virtual Career Fair - Hosted by UC Santa Cruz Career Center
This inaugural UC-Wide Virtual Career Fair allowed UC Santa Cruz and other UC students to engage with local, national, and international employers in a live setting during this time when in-person career fairs are not possible.

This event featured opportunities in business, humanities, education, social sciences, and more. Employers were recruiting for full-time jobs and internships. Some organizations were present to give updates on their company offerings and future opportunities. This was a great opportunity to make connections and network even if you are not a graduating senior.

Graduation News

The 2019-2020 school year was full of unexpected challenges and our graduating students managed to handle it with grace and professionalism. We at the Economics Department have no doubt the class of 2020 will do amazing things.

Congratulations to all those graduating in the class of 2020!

Virtual Commencement Events

Graduating Peer Advisers: Upcoming Journeys

Martin Barajas - After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, I plan on moving back down home to the greater Los Angeles area where I will be taking some time away from school to study and prepare myself for the CPA exam. My time in Santa Cruz definitely went by faster than expected but within my three years here I’ve made connections and memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Being a peer adviser for two years was a great privilege; I learned a lot and met some really amazing people along the way. I am very thankful for all the staff within the Economics Department and for me this is not a goodbye, but a see you all later!

Henry Lopez - I am very excited to begin the next chapter of my life where I will be moving back to my hometown of North County San Diego to begin my career at Meketa Investment Group as a Performance Analyst. Thanks to the CFA Student Scholarship, I will be sitting in for the CFA L1 exam this December. I am thankful for my time peer advising as it allowed me to develop myself professionally and personally while establishing meaningful relationships. I am surely going to miss it along with the friends I made, but I’m ready for the next step in my career. Shout out to Felix Vazquez.

Aruna Patel - After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, I will be pursuing a master's of science in applied economics at UCLA beginning in the fall of 2020. I look forward to continuing my education. I am grateful for the opportunities, personal growth, work experience and knowledge which I have attained during my three years at UCSC. I will never forget the amazing collaboration with the wonderful professors, teaching assistants, staff, and students who I had the chance to work with during my time here. Although I am excited to start the next chapter of my life, I will miss my interactions with students and everyone in the Economics and Mathematics Departments.

Summer Economics Courses

Enrolling in summer courses gives you an opportunity to take much smaller classes than in the academic year, it helps you get prerequisites and major requirements out of the way, and gives you a great excuse to spend the summer in the woods! Enrollment began May 1st at summer.ucsc.edu. All courses will be instructed remotely.

Summer Session 1 (June 22 - July 24)

Econ 1 Introduction to Microeconomics {PE-H/IS}
Econ 10A Economics of Accounting I (online)
Econ 100A-01 Intermediate Microeconomics
Econ 101 Managerial Economics
Econ 113-01 Introduction to Econometrics {SR/Q}
Econ 125 Economic History of the U.S.
Econ 136 Business Strategy
Econ 197-01 Economic Rhetoric {DC}

Summer Session 2 (July 27 - August 28)

Econ 2 Introduction to Macroeconomics {PE-H/IS}
Econ 10B Economics of Accounting II (online)
Econ 100A-02 Intermediate Microeconomics (online)
Econ 100B Intermediate Macroeconomics
Econ 104 Is There Truth in Numbers {DC}
Econ 113-02 Introduction to Econometrics {SR/Q}
Econ 133 Security Markets & Financial Institutions (online)
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.