A team of undergraduate students learned about the U.S. economy, monetary policymaking and the role of the Federal Reserve System in the annual competition hosted by the Federal Reserve.
A team of Elon undergraduate students completed the 19th annual College Fed Challenge as national semifinalists.
James Folds ’22, Christopher Boyette ’23, JD Grant ’23, Thomas (Ash) Watts ’23, Ismael Torres Monteverde ’24, Emma Leonard ’25, Cole Meixsell ’25 and Pacey Salzman ’25 represented Elon in the competition hosted by the U.S. Federal Reserve. This is Elon’s first appearance in the semifinals since 2013.
Eighty-four teams analyzed U.S. economic and financial conditions and formulated monetary policy recommendations, modeling the Federal Open Market Committee.
Eighteen semifinalist teams, including Elon, participated in question-and-answer sessions held in November. Teams were evaluated on economic analysis, responses to judges’ questions, teamwork and presentation.
“The Federal Reserve Challenge solidified my passion for economics,” said Leonard, an economics and psychology double major. “It was such a great learning experience that showed me the importance of collaboration, research and presentation skills, teamwork and communication. My economics knowledge and understanding has grown exponentially.”
“As a result of the Fed Challenge, I feel extremely well-prepared and sufficient in macroeconomic understanding, policy decisions and conducting research, as well as working collaboratively with a team of people on presentations and professional write-ups,” added Grant, who has been a member of Elon’s team for three years.
The Elon students prepared for the competition by taking the ECO 3130: Federal Reserve Challenge course taught by Associate Professors of Economics Vitaliy Strohush and Brandon Sheridan.
“Having the opportunity to discuss ideas and ask questions of two professors simultaneously in a fun, casual, classroom setting was such a unique learning environment,” Grant said. “There is no better way to motivate real learning than working in a competitive manner with an amazing team of peers.”
Princeton University, University of North Carolina – Wilmington and Dartmouth College placed first, second and third, respectively.
“We want to encourage people who want to make a difference, at every stage of their careers, to consider public service,” said Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome H. Powell. “These students view the issues we face as a country from their own perspectives, and those fresh views and understanding are valuable.”