Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

VIEWPOINT: Support Economics Research


Say you’re a bright-eyed, enthusiastic first-year excited to register for your first semester of classes at Georgetown University. Before you know it, like most other first-years, you’ll quickly find yourself seated in the dimly-lit Intercultural Center Auditorium for the course “Principles of Microeconomics. In the first week, you’ll handwrite your class notes. By the fourth week, you’ll start using class time to check emails on your laptop. And once it hits the fifth week, you’ll stop showing up to class entirely. Then, overcome with panic, you’ll desperately reappear the week before the final exam.

Unfortunately, this lack of enthusiasm and engagement sums up many Georgetown students’ experience with economics on campus. This is a real shame, because students consequently remain unfamiliar with how interesting and varied cutting-edge economics research really is. By ignoring their potential passion for economics, students are unaware of the opportunities Georgetown offers to pursue this research as an undergraduate — like the Carroll Round, a student-run international economics conference. 

As a member of the 23rd Carroll Round Steering Committee, I call on undergraduate students to get involved with our conference and their academic departments to demonstrate student commitment to undergraduate research.

Our goals as a committee are two-fold: to double down on our commitment to economics across the world and to help incubate undergraduate economics research here on campus, ensuring that students are aware of what potential careers in economics research could look like.

The first challenge to our mission is the fact that no one knows about the Carroll Round. Let me explain: Every April, our student-run steering committee invites a few dozen of the world’s brightest undergraduate student researchers in economics to come to Georgetown and present their original research over two days. Topics range from explaining patterns of development in emerging-market countries to machine learning and AI. Additionally, we invite keynote speakers to lecture and mentor our participants. This experience is often a highlight of many undergraduate careers.

We really want to highlight not just the “what,” but also the “why” behind the Carroll Round. Though all of our participants are incredibly accomplished and have written impressive papers, the papers themselves aren’t quite the point. Rather, we want to foster a space for undergraduates to learn about how they can showcase their work and their papers in the first place. In universities across the United States, undergraduates increasingly want research opportunities. And unfortunately, undergraduates often encounter barriers to research on account of their age or lack of experience. We want to help break down these barriers by providing students opportunities to engage in research, especially since recent studies cite undergraduate research as a top predictor of future success. 

Going forward, the Carroll Round wants to interact more with students and continue to create programs that illuminate potential career paths. As economics lies at the heart of human organization, we hope to grow more interest in the field by engaging with Georgetown undergraduate students. For instance, we’ve partnered with the Cawley Career Center this year to organize seminars hosted by industry professionals on careers in international development at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. We hope to engage with students about the economic career paths or opportunities they’re interested in — from graduate school to policy work. 

These principles stay at the forefront of our mind as the 23rd Carroll Round rapidly approaches and we prepare to welcome our newest group of participants from Friday, April 19 to Sunday, April 21. In the future, we’d love more submissions and outreach from Georgetown students. After all, doing so may help you find a career, community and opportunities with true variety and global impact. Your ideas are in demand. 

Ben Whitfield is a first-year student in the School of Foreign Service.

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