The AIER Summer Fellowship Experience
This week, AIER says goodbye to 10 wonderful students whom we have had the pleasure of hosting this year. During seven weeks in July and August, undergraduate and graduate students from across the world took part in our renowned Summer Fellowship Practicum.
The program, which has thrived at AIER for almost 70 years, hosts only the most academically talented students, who serve in residence as they work individually on AIER research projects.
This year’s crop of fellows have worked hard on projects ranging from optimal Social Security benefit strategies, asset allocation, and monetary policy models, to developing and reconstructing a college destinations index, analyzing small business performance over time and the methods of measuring America’s middle class.
PhD student at Washington State University Lyudmyla Kompaniyets said that the diversity of projects and guest lectures through the summer practicum let her get outside her usual field of microeconomics, and gain experience in doing rigorous macroeconomic research. Maria Zeta Valladolid, a recent graduate from Colby College, articulated similar sentiments, stating that the work “gives you research experience from gathering and analyzing data to telling the story behind the numbers,” something very valuable to her and the other fellows.
Beyond engaging with diverse projects, the fellows also came from diverse backgrounds and educational programs. Students gathered at AIER from Spain, Peru, and China, as well as locally from universities like Drexel, Brandeis, and Millersville University of Pennsylvania. There were two PhD students, five master’s students, and three undergraduates.
The diversity of interests and backgrounds helped to facilitate economic and cultural learning both inside and outside our formal work environment. Informally, students arranged two cross-cultural dinner nights, and they saw plenty of museums, musical performances and art exhibits in our area of Berkshire County, Massachusetts. As Kompaniyets put it, “this program is so much more than just an internship.”
Another fellow, Cara Clase from Millersville, agreed that the cultural part of the program was one of her favorites, saying, “Outings to places such as the Norman Rockwell Museum and Tanglewood gave fellows the opportunity to explore the Great Barrington area.”
The seven-week program provides an experiential learning experience to students by encouraging a meaningful contribution to an actual project under the guidance of AIER researcher. For more information, or to apply for next year’s fellowship, click here.
Front row (L to R): Cara Clase, Xiaoxiao Chen, Elena Casanovas, Maria Valladolid, Tamsa Sabat, Vivien Zhang
Back row (L to R): Michelle Ryan, Milton Mai, Di Wang, Valentina Connell, Kristopher Cramer, Lyudmyla Kompaniyets, Natalia Smirnova