Elon undergraduate team models Federal Open Market Committee in College Fed Challenge

The students presented monetary policy recommendations in the Federal Reserve competition.

A team of Elon undergraduate students analyzed U.S. economic and financial conditions and presented monetary policy recommendations during the 2021 College Fed Challenge.

five students smiling
The team of Jacob Stoken ’22, Annica Gaebel ’23, Christopher Boyette ’23, JD Grant ’23 and Jalen Woods ’24 represented Elon in the College Fed Challenge.

In their presentation, which modeled a Federal Open Market Committee meeting, Jacob Stoken ’22, Annica Gaebel ’23, Christopher Boyette ’23, JD Grant ’23 and Jalen Woods ’24 discussed current economic conditions, the forecast of near-term economic and financial conditions, significant risks to the economy and their monetary policy proposal.

Seventy-four schools from across the nation participated in the competition hosted by the Federal Reserve. A panel of judges, who are experts in economics and monetary policy, scored teams on economic analysis, teamwork and presentation.

“What I gained from the Fed Challenge is a much better understanding of how the pandemic and its effects impacted the American economy over the past fiscal year,” Woods said. “Presenting gave me an opportunity to explain what I’d learned and also improve my confidence when it came to speaking in public.”

To prepare for the competition and as part of the ECO 3130: Federal Reserve Challenge class taught by Vitaliy Strohush, associate professor of economics, and Brandon Sheridan, assistant professor of economics, the Elon students researched current economic trends, the impact of the pandemic on the economy and near-term challenges presented by supply chain issues and inflation.

“As a philosophy, politics and economics minor, I took the Federal Reserve Challenge with the hope of better understanding monetary policy,” Stoken explained. “I left with a robust understanding of current market trends, as well as a framework to analyze and grapple with monetary policy from both a government and market-based lens.”

“As a returner to the Fed Challenge, I was amazed at how much I was still able to learn and grow,” said Grant, who also participated in the 2020 College Fed Challenge. “Each year – but especially with the pandemic – the economy changes immensely and it was amazing that I was able to choose a new area to focus on. I loved that the class got me back into following current events, and I was able to work on my research and presenting abilities.”