Department Newsletter, Fall 2018

Message from the Chair
Department Spotlights
Department Announcements
Alumni Updates/Class Notes
Donor Recognition
Support the Department
Stay Connected

Message from the Chair

Sumit Joshi, Chair


Sumit Joshi, Department Chair



Welcome to the fall newsletter! Since the spring newsletter, we completed a successful academic year with 152 students graduating from the Columbian College with an economics major, 23 receiving an MS degree, 25 receiving an MA in applied economics degree and seven successfully completing their PhD dissertations.

Our graduates were very successful in the job market. College Factual ranked GW Economics in the 31st position out of 442 programs nationwide based on the strength of its placements. Our alumni contributed to this success through their participation in events such as Careers in Economics. Our strong alumni connection was also evident at the well-attended Alumni Lecture in spring featuring Professor Jay Shambaugh, who is currently director of The Hamilton Project and a senior fellow at Brookings.

There were additional notable events. The GW Student Association for Graduate Economics (SAGE) organized their second Student Research Conference in Economics which attracted doctoral students from the D.C. area and beyond. We had two new faculty join the department who are spotlighted below. We will be hiring three new faculty this year which will further strengthen our overall research program. Our faculty and students, both graduate and undergraduate, had a number of research accomplishments that are highlighted below as well. With strong support from our faculty, staff, students and alumni, we are continuing our efforts to build the department into a center of excellence in research and teaching.

Sumit Joshi, Chair

Photographs from the graduation celebrations, May 2018

Dr. Weiner with MA Applied Economics Students
GW Ecomomic graduate students with professors
GW CCAS Economics Professors

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Department Spotlights

In Memoriam: Herman Stekler (1932-2018)

Herman Stekler in his office


Herman Stekler in his office



This academic year started on a sad note with the passing away of Professor Herman Stekler, who had been research professor in the department since 1994. Herman was a giant in the field of forecasting and a dedicated mentor and teacher. Even though he announced plans to retire multiple times, he continued to spend nearly every day at his office in the GW economics department well past his 85th birthday! His enthusiasm for forecasting research and his tough but caring approach to teaching and mentoring drew undergraduate and graduate students into a large number of joint research projects. He had over 20 published papers with GW students, more than 100 economics publications and was on IDEAS list of the top 5 percent of authors. Herman will be deeply missed by his colleagues and students. The fall Alumni Lecture on November 8 honored his contributions to forecasting.

Welcome New Faculty!

Steven Hamilton


Steven Hamilton



Steven Hamilton is a public finance economist focusing on tax policy who received his PhD from the University of Michigan. His research agenda concerns taxpayer responses to unusual features of the tax system, which provide insights into how taxpayers manage their tax affairs (for example by claiming additional deductions) to avoid paying taxes. This offers lessons for the government about how to set tax policy so as to maintain the integrity of the tax system. Steven was awarded an Honorable Mention in the National Tax Association annual dissertation awards.

Daniel Mackay


Daniel Mackay



Daniel Mackay received his PhD from the University of Virginia. Prior to coming to George Washington, Daniel spent eight years at the University of Richmond and one year between appointments teaching at the University of Virginia. His professional interest is in the market reaction to changes in government policies with a specific focus on firms’ reaction to changing tax policy. Daniel’s presence will strengthen instruction in our undergraduate program.

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Department Announcements

Faculty Kudos

Professor Maggie Chen had the lead paper in American Economic Journal: Economic Policy with Laura Alfaro on “Selection and Market Reallocation.” She also has a forthcoming paper with Ge Bao (a former doctoral student) in American Economic Journal: Applied Economics on “Foreign Rivals are Coming to Town: Responding to the Threat of Foreign Multinational Entry.”

Professor Remi Jedwab coauthored a paper, “Returns to Experience and the Misallocation of Labor,” with Paul Romer, this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. Other coauthors on this paper include Asif Islam (World Bank), and Daniel Pereira (a doctoral student in the department).

Professors Bryan Stuart and Tomas Williams received the Columbian College Facilitating Fund award to support their research projects.

Professors Arun Malik and Paul Carrillo have a forthcoming paper in the Journal of Public Economics with Andrea Lopez-Luzuriaga (a doctoral student in the department) on “Pollution or Crime: The Effect of Driving Restrictions on Criminal Activity.”

Professor Joseph Pelzman coauthored “Does Institution Explain Natural Resource Curse?” in the Global Economy Journal with Murat Isaabayev (a former doctoral student) and Yessengali Oskenbayev.

Professor Bryan Stuart's dissertation chapter won the Population Association of America's Dorothy S. Thomas Award for best paper.

Current Students


Rafael Lopez-Monti


Rafael Lopez-Monti



Rafael Lopez-Monti received the 2018 Kendrick Prize for his dissertation, "Essays on the Effects of Macroeconomic Volatility." The Economics Department awards this Prize to a PhD student whose research in the areas of macroeconomics, economic growth or productivity merits recognition. This award was generously endowed by Professor John Kendrick, an internationally recognized scholar, whose research spanned the areas listed above.

Chinemelu Okafor


Chinemelu Okafor



Chinemelu Okafor, who graduated with an MA in applied economics, won 2nd prize in Economics, Politics, and Society at the 2018 GWU Research Days competition. Chinemelu's research topic was "Demography and the Marginal Propensity to Unionize." Her independent study research was guided by Professor Ronald Bird who teaches in the Applied Economics Program

Christian Roatta


Christian Roatta



Christian Roatta won 2nd place in Economics at the 2018 GWU Research Days competition. His research topic was "Evaluating Forecasting Processes of the 1937-1938 Recession: A Quantitative Analysis of U.S. Economic Agents' Qualitative Assessment." His research was guided by Professors Tara Sinclair and Herman Stekler.

Department Achievements



Fred Joutz, Tony Yezer, Rich Brown, Stuart Harshbarger, Jay Shambaugh, Tara Sinclair and Sumit Joshi.


Fred Joutz, Tony Yezer, Rich Brown, Stuart Harshbarger, Jay Shambaugh, Tara Sinclair and Sumit Joshi.



The Spring Alumni Lecture by Professor Jay Shambaugh provided a great opportunity for faculty and students to interact with our alumni.


Hani Kawar presenting his research at the conference


Hani Kawar presenting his research at the conference



The Student Association for Graduate Economics (SAGE) organized their second Student Research Conference in Economics in April 2018. It brought together doctoral students in economics from the greater D.C. area and beyond to present their research and provide feedback to their peers. The conference was a remarkable success based on the number of participants

Current and former chairs of the department (from left): Joshi, Phillips, Cordes, Boulier, Stewart, Goldfarb and Parsons. (Not present: Chiswick and Watson).


Current and former chairs of the department (from left): Joshi, Phillips, Cordes, Boulier, Stewart, Goldfarb and Parsons. (Not present: Chiswick and Watson).



The retirement party for Professor Bryan Boulier was a great opportunity for current faculty and several former colleagues to come together to wish Bryan the best. Bryan has been appointed Emeritus Professor of Economics.


(From left) Gargi Kamath, Nathaniel Harris, Frederico Haslop, Lidong Yang and Yueyi “Angela” Qin with SAGE officers Steven Chen and Bo Jiang


(From left) Gargi Kamath, Nathaniel Harris, Frederico Haslop, Lidong Yang and Yueyi “Angela” Qin with SAGE officers Steven Chen and Bo Jiang



The PhD program welcomed an incoming class of 12 students. Some of the students are shown below at the orientation organized by SAGE.

Department Events

The annual GW Alumni Lecture Series in Economics on November 8 honored Professor Stekler and his contributions to forecasting with a discussion of his work by his frequent co-author, Professor Tara Sinclair

GW Economics Alumni Reception at AEA: Friday, January 4, 6:00 p.m. –  7:30 p.m., Hilton Atlanta, Rom 214, 255 Courtland St NE, Atlanta, Ga., 30303. Please join the Economics Department for our annual alumni reception at AEA. All economics alumni attending the conference or living in the Atlanta metro area are invited to join us. Please RSVP.

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Alumni Updates/Class Notes

Earlene Baumunk, BA ’56, is employed by the New Jersey State Human Resources and Department of Environmental Protection as contract administrator. Earlene is now docent at Princeton University Art Museum.

Chris Blick, BA ’04, is putting his economic degree to good use while working on his master’s in public administration at Harvard Kennedy School.

Brooks Boron, BA ’14, is currently practicing labor and employment law in Cleveland, Ohio. In addition to his legal practice, Brooks is currently involved with various Democratic political campaigns around the state of Ohio.

Richard Brown, PhD ’94, is on a one-year detail from the FDIC to serve as senior economist at the Council of Economic Advisers.

Victor Buehrle, BA ’18, is a transfer pricing associate at PwC in the Washington metro area.

Sara Castro, BA ’01, is now a programme expert with the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs working on public governance for the Sustainable Development Goals. She is based in Asia and thinks fondly of her days at GW studying development economics!

Beth Cate, BA ’88, is associate clinical professor of law and public affairs at Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

Richard Church, MA ’73, worked for the United Nations in economic development in developing/least developed countries, for 25 years after graduation. He returned to the USA and joined a Habitat for Humanity affiliate in South Carolina as executive director for 20 years. He is retired now!

Noel Clapp, BA ’15, is a senior consultant at Navigant Consulting in New York, N.Y.

Christopher Dey, BA ‘07, is an assistant district attorney at the New York County District Attorney's Office.

Shawn dos Santos, BA ’06, is working at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill as an accountant at the School of Dentistry.

Sadiq Elamin, BA ’17, is currently working at Vanguard as a fund financial associate. Sadiq is a level 2 CFA candidate after passing the level 1 exam in June 2018.

Sarhana Fernandes, BA ’18, works for Gartner with their Business Services team as a client engagement specialist for the legal, compliance and data privacy product.

Alexander Gallo, BS ’09, is a senior consultant with Deloitte's federal analytics practice. He currently resides in Washington, D.C., with hobbies including tennis, real estate and the ever-improving local restaurant scene.

Alicia García Herrero, PhD ’03, is still living in Hong Kong and working as chief economist for a French investment Bank, Natixis. She is also an adjunct professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and senior research fellow for Brussels-based think tank, Bruegel.

Lowell Glenn, PhD ’00, is the department chair of finance and economics at Woodbury School of Business, Utah Valley University. UVU is the largest university (designated in 2008) in Utah with 40,000 students. There are eight graduate programs including MBA & MAcc.

James Hacker, BA’ 09, is currently principal consultant to the California Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review. He lives in Sacramento.

Austin Hansen, BA ’17, is a business analyst working with Deloitte Consulting's Government and Public Services (GPS) practice. He currently supports Deloitte's GPS CEO as the firm integrates its federal, state, local, and higher education practices.

Jessica Horewitz, BA ’90, (PhD), is a senior vice president in Nathan Associates Litigation and Expert Services practice specializing in product liability and mass tort matters. She is often retained by counsel to both consult and testify.

Monica Huddleston, BA ’75, was the former two-term mayor of Greendale, Mo. She is happily retired and serving as volunteer on Boards of Great Rivers Greenway, Incarnate Word Academy, and more in the STL area. She is married 20 years to Lamarr Huddleston.

Peter Joyce, BA ’14, currently serves as a transportation planner in the D.C. Region focusing on public transit.

Alex Khalil, BA ’18, has recently taken a position as a real estate development analyst at the Neighborhood Housing Services of Los Angeles County. His responsibilities include underwriting prospective real estate development investments for company consideration.

Grant LaFarge, BS ’09, is based in Scandinavia and working in the mobile game industry as a project manager for new games in development.

Scott Laughery, BA ’07, completed his PhD in economics at the University of Virginia in 2016 and is currently working on health care issues at the Congressional Budget Office.

Aidan Lawson, BS ’18, is analyzing financial crises at the Yale Program on Financial Stability for the New Bagehot Project.

Marcelle Little Dawes, BA ’14, is currently a 1L at Brooklyn Law School.

Kaitlyn Long, BA ’07, advises decision-makers on economic and market conditions for the trucking industry at the Teamsters Union. She is also consulted on union contract negotiations.

T. Manson, BA ’75, say that the professors in the Economics Department taught him how to think critically and analytically. Throughout his legal career, he has applied economic analysis to legal problems, as taught by the economics department.

Kevin Marshack, BA ’15, is finishing his final year of law school at UC Berkeley and will then join the law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy in New York, N.Y., working on a mix of complex financial transactions. He previously interned at the N.Y. Fed.

Matt McGauley, BA ’02, is currently developing more than 145,000 square feet of new mixed-use commercial real estate in Chattanooga and was recently appointed to the board of directors of First Volunteer Bank.

Leslie Megyeri, BA ’63, went on to earn a law degree and MBA from GW and he retired from the House Judiciary Committee of the U.S. Congress. He met his wife at GW and on their first date, they walked to the National Mall to hear MLK's "I Have a Dream” speech.

Denis Miller, BA ’84, other wise known as "The Floodman," is the owner of Denis A Miller Insurance Agency Inc in Long Beach, N.Y. He had Professor Pelznman and Vincy Fon as professors at GW.

Sidney Needelman, BA ’04, reached his one-year anniversary as a partner and the chair of the Insurance Defense Department of a Miami based multiple discipline law firm, marking over a decade as an attorney in South Florida.

Dara Nikolova, BS ’16, is a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group!

Kirt Nilsson, BA ’92, is chief operating officer of Charter School Capital, a Portland-based niche finance company empowering charter schools nationwide with working capital and facilities financing.

Paul Organ, BS ’14, is in the second year of the joint PhD program in economics and business at the University of Michigan, focusing on public finance and taxation.

Rhona Pavis, BA ’64, is now doing research, analysis and writing for a government contractor.

Fernando Petrassi, MA ’97, works at an international police cooperation service within the Italian Ministry of Interior and lives in Rome, Italy.

Solomon Polachek, BA ’67, Distinguished SUNY-Binghamton University professor, had his volume Transitions Through the Labor Market: Work, Occupation, Earnings and Retirement edited with Kostas Tatsiramos  published by Emerald Press.  

Anne Richards, BA ’76, MA ’79, PhD ’84, will always be grateful to the wonderful professors in the Economics Department. She lives in Connecticut.

Virginia Robano, PhD ’12, is now managing director of an innovative postgraduate program in Data Science, blending remote and presential courses from international and Uruguayan universities. The new diploma is going to start in May 2019 in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Joel Schechter, BA ’76, is focusing on cultured pearls from China. He built up his company HONORA into a major importer, and sold the company to a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary in 2013. He still travels to China to buy, and is the on air guest for HONORA on QVC.

Pooja Shah, BA ’14, is an associate at Covington & Burling, LLP.

Charles Silverston, BA ’92, is a serial entrepreneur, principal of Unlimited Sotheby's International Realty where he is recognized as one of the top real estate agents in the United States by real trends. He owns Paris Creperie Cafe, Paris Seaport Bar/Cafe in Boston.

Matthew Smith, BA ’13, graduated from UCLA School of Law in May 2018. He then joined the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in Los Angeles, Calif., as part of the Global Project Finance practice group.

Tatyana Smolyansky, BA ’18, is working as a marketing specialist for the LexisNexis Risk Solutions Government division.

Bob Sugarman, BA ’69, continues to practice employee benefits and union-side labor law in South Florida. He is currently working with his firm's municipal pension plan clients on using pension fund assets to promote local infrastructure investments.

Daniel Uslander, BA ’77, has been involved in derivatives and foreign exchange trading for over 30 years. He is currently an industrial metals specialist in the New York City office of High Ridge Futures LLC.

Nicholas Vanden Heuvel, BA  ’16, is currently enrolled at the University of St. Thomas Law School in Minneapolis, Minn. He is working for private attorneys and the Public Defenders Office.

Bena Varughese, BA ’03, is a lawyer practicing in New York, N.Y. She resides in New Rochelle, N.Y., with her husband and daughter.

Jaime Velazquez, PhD ’02, with the help of the U.S. Council for Economic Education, formed the Mexican Council for Economic and Financial Education (CMEEF). CMEEF is an extensive network of trainers and university based centers developed.

Maria Mercedes White, BA, MA ’95, worked as transportation planner for the Virginia Department of Transportation and the City of Alexandria.

Greg Zarelli, BA ’77, went on to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, for his master’s and had a successful career as an airline economist for three different airlines. In 1992, he decided to go back to medical school at Baylor in Houston and is now a practicing neurologist.

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Donor Recognition


The Economics Department would like to gratefully acknowledge the following generous donors who made a gift to the department from  July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018.

+ Faculty/Staff | # Parent | ~ Student | * Friend | ^ Deceased

Dr. Mohamed Aljaberi #

Olga G. Bespalova, MPhil ’15, PhD '18

Lisa B. Zimbalist Bianchi, Esq, BA ’91

Richard P. Bianchi, BA ’90

Richard Alan Brown, PhD, PhD ’94

Jeffrey William Chaloupek, MBA ’97

David E. Cohen, BA ’15

Robert Kevin Costello, BA ’76

Stephanie A. Curtis *

W. Thomas Curtis, MA ’81

Oscar A. David, Esq, BA ’84

Garrick R. Donnelly, BA ’16

Jordan Kellogg Frank, BA ’12

Ryan C. Gilbert, BA ’10

Dr. Robert S. Goldfarb +

Lily U. Hale, PhD, MA ’82

Stuart L. Harshbarger, PhD, MA ’93

Jacob T. Jones, BA ’18

Caitlin A. Keliher, BA ’14

John B. Kendrick +

Cecilia Leahy Klein, MA ’71

Federico German Klein, Esq, JD ’71

Chun Kuang, PhD, MA ’12

Stephen L. Mangum, PhD, MA ’83

M. Dennis Marvich, MA ’82

James W. McConnaughey, MA ’79

Alexander T. Melton, BA ’16

Jessica P. Meyer, BA ’18

Amr S. Moubarak, BA ’08

Justin R. Pierce, BA ’01

Dr. George Andrew Plesko, BA ’80

Solomon W. Polachek, BA ’67

Bryan Edward Pratt, BA ’13

Troy Clarence Quast, BA ’95

Dr. Clifford E. Reid, BA ’67

Dr. Aida Safar #

Eman M. Salem, BA ’18

George D. Santopietro, BA ’78

Dr. Graciela M. Santopietro #

Marla E. Scriffignano, BA ’02

Andrew H Shaw, BA ’13

Sheila B. Sherwood, BA ’67

Dr. Tara M. Sinclair +

Kristin M. Singh, BA ’14

James Henry Starkey, III, MA ’72

Herman O Stekler +

Cornelia M. Strawser, PhD ’83

Robert A. Sugarman, Esq, BA ’69

Harry L. Vroomen, PhD ’95

Diana C. Wanamaker, BA ’66

Annetta T. Weiss, BA ’65

Yongchen Xie, BA ’17

Dr. Anthony M. Yezer +

Dr. Greg R. Zarelli, BA ’77

Wenyu Zhu, PhD, BA ’11

Alan I. Zucker, BA ’84

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Support the Department

Gifts to the Department of Economics allow us to provide support for faculty and student research and travel, graduate student fellowships, and academic enrichment activities including guest speakers, visiting faculty, and symposia. Each gift, no matter how large or small, makes a positive impact on our educational mission and furthers our standing as one of the nation's preeminent liberal arts colleges at one of the world's preeminent universities.

The department, in collaboration with several dedicated alumni, has established three funds to further its strategic goals. To donate to any of these funds, please click directly on the fund name listed below.

You can make your gift to the department in a number of ways:

  • Securely online.
  • By mailing your check, made out to The George Washington University and with the name of the department in the memo line, to:

The George Washington University
PO Box 98131
Washington, DC 20077-9756

  • By phone by calling the GW Annual Fund at 1-800-789-2611.

Take Part in the GW Legacy Challenge!

The 2019 GW Legacy Challenge is a matching gift program that enables economics alumni and friends to have an immediate impact when they plan a future gift to support to the university (e.g. via bequests in a will or living trust, retirement plan beneficiary designations, etc.). When you document a planned gift to GW, you can immediately direct 2019 GW Legacy Challenge matching funds to the Economics Department or any existing Economics Department fund that resonates with you, such as the Economics Alumni Endowed Scholarship Fund and Professor Robert M. Dunn, Jr. Memorial Endowment Fund. Legacy Challenge matching funds equal to 10 percent of the face amount of your planned gift (with a cap of $10,000 in matching funds) will be directed to the GW purpose you select. Read more information.

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Stay Connected


Industry-based Alumni Networks





Connect with fellow alumni through GW's eight industry networks including media & communications and politics & government.


Join GW Career Connect





Connect with current students and fellow alumni through our new online networking platform, the Industry Career Network on GW Career Connect, centered around 14 industry areas of interest.


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