Isabella Hindley ’22 wins ‘Best Economics Thesis’

The Department of Economics recognized Hindley for writing the best economics thesis of the year.

Isabella Hindley ’22 received the Best Economics Thesis Award from the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business’ Department of Economics for “The Effect of Secondary School Teacher Expectations on Student Enrollment in Post-Secondary Education – A Gender-Specific Analysis.”

Issy Hindley sitting in front of fountain
Isabella Hindley ’22

Hindley, mentored by Associate Professor Katy Rouse, used data from the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002 to explore how secondary school teacher expectations affect subsequent educational attainment. She also looked at how these effects vary based on the gender of the student and on student-teacher gender match.

The results of Hindley’s study conclude that the expectations of teachers do impact the post-secondary decisions of their students.

“For male students, this impact is more apparent, especially if their teacher is also male,” Hindley writes in the paper’s abstract. “Such results suggest that interventions to promote strong relationships between teachers and their male students, like increased teacher training and the diversification of the teaching profession, may be pertinent but simple solutions to the growing educational attainment gap problem.”

“Issy’s work represents the best of undergraduate research at Elon,” Rouse said. “Her empirical work was rigorous, and she did an excellent job communicating her results. Reviewers of her thesis were very impressed with the quality of her writing and the professional look of her tables. They said they felt as if they were reading a professional journal article. I am so proud of the work she completed.”

The Department of Economics also recognized the following students with honorable mentions:

  • Kara Friske ’22, “The Gender Difference in Test Scores and Teacher Grades in ECLS-K:2011: The Role of Noncognitive Skills” (mentor: Associate Professor Rouse)
  • Morgan Kearns ’22, “Accumulating Consequences of Sexual Violence: Age of First Experience on Human Capital” (mentor: Professor Casey DiRienzo)

Hindley, Friske and Kearns presented their work at the 2022 Issues in Political Economy conference and at Elon’s Spring Undergraduate Research Forum.

After graduation, Hindley will join The American Action Forum as a policy analyst, Friske will join Bates White as an economic consultant, and Kearns will pursue her doctorate in economics at the University of Georgia.