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Northern Illinois University
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Samhitha Srinivas

Liberal Arts Major(s): Economics
Minor: French, Sociology
Hometown: Bangalore, India

What was the best part of your experience?

I worked on predicting unemployment and wage inflation using an economic model built by the professor and testing its accuracy. It involved a lot of reading, including the works of literature reviewed and not just limited to the relevant economic material. There was a lot of math and statistics involved. I opened myself to applying mathematics in economics and took tremendous effort to calculate errors and deviations and try to minimize them. Inference and its analysis were essential to the progress of this research project. On a personal note, I began to improve on critical thinking skills in research, applying the solution, inferring the result, and presenting it in a simplified manner so that the primary researchers (the professor) can understand it and apply it in their research. The best part was realizing how fun it was to play with numbers in economics even though I was not an expert in math.

I gained a greater understanding of what comprises graduate level and academic research in economics

How did this experience impact you academically?

I worked on predicting future unemployment and wage inflation based on lagged values of the variables in the dynamic labor demand curve under the guidance of Dr. Carl Campbell. Although economists now use revised models of Phillips curves for forecasting unemployment and inflation, I was able to grasp its fundamentals to better engage with other models based on this. I believe that this research experience helped me grasp research methodologies used in economics in academia. I was able to get a basic understanding of the mathematical modelling of Phillips curves, but given my relatively limited knowledge of the same (acquired through coursework), this specific opportunity helped expand my theoretical knowledge and my research skills to be able to work in academic research in economics.

How will this experience impact your career goals?

This experience has allowed me to apply my economic coursework to a real-world project. More importantly, I gained a greater understanding of what comprises graduate level and academic research in economics. I intend to pursue a graduate education in economics and subsequently build a career in economic research. Overall, I hope to use this opportunity as a launchpad into academic teaching and research, as I plan on applying for graduate education in Fall 2018 (I intend to start graduate school in Fall 2019).

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