You will learn to identify economic issues and problems, to form hypotheses and to gather and use data to test the hypotheses. You may get a chance to work as a research assistant with a faculty member and have collaborative work published in a professional journal.

Eren Shultz '15 in Tazania's Pare Mountains with board members of the Gonja Sub-Kume Water Cooperative.
Eren Shultz '15 in Tanzania's Pare Mountains with board members of the Gonja Sub-Kume Water Cooperative.

A student’s initiative: doing research in Africa

Eren Shultz ’15 spent part of a summer working with farmers in Tanzania for a project funded by a grant from Hamilton College. He is a double major in economics and geosciences who picked Hamilton in part for its flexible open curriculum. Through coursework, he zeroed in on economics, sustainable agricultural development and water.

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At the end of sophomore year, Shultz applied to Hamilton’s Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center for funding to do summer research. He wanted to study the potential for a scalable, cooperative agriculture model in Tanzania, where he once lived with his family. He was named a Levitt Research Fellow.

Before he got on a plane, Shultz found an initial contact online, through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. The farmer met him at the airport, introduced him to other farmers and acted as interpreter. In return, Shultz worked at his benefactor’s farm. All told, Shultz interviewed 82 farmers, visited 12 villages and studied eight cooperative organizations. He also met with businessmen, teachers, government workers and a secretariat at the World Bank.

“I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but it turned out to be great,” Shultz says.

Here is Alex Lowy ’14 being interviewed by  the Business News Network.
Here is Alex Lowy ’14 being interviewed by the Business News Network.

An econ grad's progress: a job at Moody's

As an associate economist at Moody’s Analytics, which specializes in economic forecasting, Alex Lowy ’14 is responsible for the states of New Hampshire and Montana and a few cities scattered across the country. Back at Hamilton, he knew from the first he wanted to major in economics. “I really like how economics combines quantitative and qualitative analysis, and I think that's what drew me to the major,” he says. Still, some of his favorite classes and professors had nothing to do with econ. Hamilton’s open curriculum creates the opportunity to try new things, Lowry says.

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He learned on the Hill that even the best idea doesn’t matter if you don’t communicate it well. “I write about economics every day at work, and it's really hard to distill an entire city's economy into about 600 words. Hamilton definitely taught me how to think critically and pick out what's important and to really focus on core arguments and to make sure that I am saying what I mean to say,” he says.