Elon students present theses at undergraduate research conference in New York

A group of senior economics students participated as presenters, discussants and session chairs during the Issues in Political Economy conference.

Eleven Martha and Spencer Love School of Business students presented their senior theses research at the 29th annual Issues in Political Economy (IPE) Conference, held Feb. 25-26 in New York.

Economics majors Aniyah Adams ’22, Madison Duchesneau ’22, Bridget Foel ’22, Kara Friske ’22, Cole Haecker ’22, Isabella Hindley ’22, Morgan Kearns ’22, Kimheng Larch ’22, Maria Mendoza ’22, Liam O’Connor ’22 and Malia Takei ’22 also participated as session chairs and paper discussants.

“Being able to participate in the IPE conference was a great way to finish off my economics education at Elon,” Duchesneau said. “I was able to combine everything I’ve learned into a final presentation and have a valuable opportunity to receive constructive feedback from my peers and other mentors on future steps.”

The conference included a networking reception, allowing students and faculty to connect and build relationships.

“The IPE conference was a valuable addition to my senior year not only in terms of preparing me for further work within my research, but also for giving me the opportunity to interact more closely with my peers,” Hindley shared. “Though I have been in class with many of the Elon students that attended the conference, I rarely had the chance to talk with them about their post-grad plans and interests. During the conference, I was able to learn so much more about my peers and forge relationships that will last past graduation.”

Woman standing at a lectern presenting
Isabella Hindley ’22 presents her work examining the effect of secondary school teacher expectations on student enrollment in post-secondary education.

IPE, the leading undergraduate research journal in economics, is co-edited by Elon University and the University of Mary Washington. Steve DeLoach, Martha and Spencer Love Professor of Economics, advises the student-run publication, with Mendoza and Haecker as this year’s co-editors. Andrea Sheetz ’22 served as the 2022 IPE conference director.

“Organizing the IPE conference expanded my idea of what I thought was possible with my Elon economics education,” Sheetz said. “It was great to learn from my peers about the topics they have chosen to study and inspiring to see the many different directions we have taken our research opportunities in relation to our personal and professional interests.”

Thirty-two students from 11 colleges and universities throughout the country participated in the conference’s seven sessions: international development, crime and deviant behavior, education, macroeconomics and finance, environmental and health, public policy, and labor, gender and education.

“I was blown away by the 32 students in getting to know them, what motivated their research and what they’re doing next,” Sheetz added. “We all know what our undergraduate research means to each other because of our own projects and it was wonderful to have a weekend to celebrate these opportunities and accomplishments.”

The Elon papers presented at the conference:

  • “The Success of Soap-making: How entrepreneurial training in Ugandan refugees impacts their outcomes in village savings and loan associations”
    Aniyah Adams (mentor: Martha and Spencer Love Professor Steve DeLoach)
  • “Measuring the Effect of Age at First Birth on Wage”
    Madison Duchesneau (mentor: Professor Casey Dirienzo)
  • “The Gender Gap in Test Scores and Teacher Grades in ECLS-K:2011: Can non-cognitive skills explain?”
    Kara Friske (mentor: Associate Professor Katy Rouse)
  • “The Predictive Ability of Cognitive and Non-cognitive Skills on Fifth Grade Achievement”
    Bridget Foehl (mentor: Associate Professor Katy Rouse)
  • “Women’s Family Planning Accessibility and its Impact on Income Generating Activity in Southwest Kenya: An individual level analysis”
    Cole Haecker (mentor: Professor Casey DiRienzo)
  • “The Effect of Secondary School Teacher Expectations on Student Enrollment in Post-secondary Education – A Gender-specific Analysis”
    Isabella Hindley (mentor: Associate Professor Katy Rouse )
  • “Accumulating Consequences of Sexual Violence: Age of first experience on human capital”
    Morgan Kearns (mentor: Professor Casey DiRienzo)
  • “Alcohol Consumption and Labor Market Outcomes”
    Kimheng Larch (mentor: Professor Mark Kurt)
  • “Impact of Abortion Clinic Closures on Evictions”
    Maria Mendoza (mentor: Associate Professor Steven Bednar)
  • “An Analysis on the Relationship Between Public Library Innovation and Social Capital”
    Liam O’Connor (mentor: Martha and Spencer Love Professor Steve DeLoach)
  • “The Relationship Between the 2008 Recession and Birth Rates in the United States”
    Malia Takei (mentor: Martha and Spencer Love Professor Steve DeLoach)