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Nov. 29, 2016

$2.3M program at MSU boosts diversity in economics

Michigan State University has received more than $2.3 million in grants to continue operating an economics-training program for undergraduates designed to increase diversity in economics doctoral programs and professions.

Funded by the National Science Foundation and other organizations, the American Economic Association’s Summer Training Program and Scholarship Program has been offered at various universities since 1974, including Yale, Duke and the University of California, Berkeley.

But after a successful first session in East Lansing in 2016, the two-month residential program has now found a home at MSU until at least 2020. The AEA chose Michigan State in a nationally competitive process.

“We put together a superb program in 2016 and I’m pleased with the generous support from all those who agree that preparing a diverse pool of students for advanced economics study is a worthy goal,” said Thomas Jeitschko, professor of economics and director of the program at MSU.

The program, hosted at Michigan State in collaboration with Western Michigan University, offers talented undergraduates who are considering post-graduate studies in economics the opportunity to develop their math and other technical skills to meet the high demands of academically challenging doctoral programs.

Some 20 percent of all doctorates awarded to minority scholars in economics can be attributed to the summer program.

In addition to the NSF and AEA, the program is supported by MSU partners including the Office of the Provost, the College of Social Science and the Graduate School.

The AEA noted that MSU’s Department of Economics is ranked in the top 20 to 30 nationwide, has a very successful graduate program and consistently places its undergraduate students in top Ph.D. programs across the country.

“I am proud that our economics department and our college has earned the trust and recognition of their peers and has been asked to host the summer AEA program,” said Rachel Croson, dean of the College of Social Science. “We join other prestigious universities like Duke and Berkeley who have hosted this program in the past. The program is closely aligned with our own mission to enable talented students to work alongside prominent professors and develop career-long professional relationships.”

The anticipated application deadline for the 2017 summer program is Jan. 31. Interested students can learn more at the AEA Summer Program web site.

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