Monday, May 5, 2014

URSP Amy Handlan Discovers the Correlation Between a Countries Type of Government and the Frequencies of their Financial Crises

My name is Amy Handlan and I am a junior studying economics and math at George Mason University. During the spring semester of 2014, I am using my URSP grant to research the correlation between countries’ type of government and their frequencies of financial crises through calculating regressions and researching explanatory factors behind that regression. Beyond the obvious fact that researching my topic will make me more knowledgeable about economics, my research is also teaching me about the means and standards of conducting respectable academic research, no matter the topic. My experience with URSP is preparing me for my future academic career as a graduate student and as a professor.

My research experience will increase my probability of acceptance to and success in top economics graduate programs. The study of economics is ever becoming more technical and quantitative and therefore schools are looking for graduate students with more quantitative analysis experience. Accordingly, because my research project requires me to use computer programs for statistical computations and it involves quantifying a normally qualitative variable, type of government, I am much more marketable to the best graduate schools. Also, through the UNIV 495 recitations I have learned the signs of a healthy and detrimental mentoring relationship and how to resolve major problems with a mentor. Knowing how to establish a beneficial relationship with my dissertation advisor will undoubtedly make my thesis paper and writing experience better. In the near future my research will help me in graduate school and even further down the road it will give me a step up in my desired career.

After graduate school, I would like to become an economics professor and my URSP research has introduced me to the academic research process. Firstly, applying for the URSP grant has given me my first example of how a one applies for grant funding, a necessary ability for a successful academic. Furthermore, the URSP recitation’s requires us to share of our research through multiple outlets. Accordingly, learning about the requirements to appropriately disseminate my research as an undergraduate gives me an advantage over other economists that had to wait until graduate school to conduct original research when pursuing professorships. Ultimately, my research with URSP has taught me so much about the subject I am researching and, more importantly, on the methods of conducting higher-level research that I can translate to my future in academia.