The interviewing process was an unusual one. Both Koors and Frey had both been enrolled in Economics and Finance’s Assistant Professor and Center Director Abdullah Al-Bahrani’s Principles of Macroeconomics class in the spring of 2016. The two had gotten the opportunity to take Advanced Placement economics in high school, which is “a critical opportunity for building a strong base understanding of economics at a younger age,” says Al-Bahrani. Over the following months, Al-Bahrani gauged their drive and interest in economics. “He concluded that we were malleable minds with a passion for economics, and I believe that was the entire interview process,” Koors laughed. Al-Bahrani himself noted that the fellowship positions were essentially tailored around their passion.
There are a few goals that CEE has for the immediate future, with one being to create increased awareness and implementation of economic education in local NKY high schools. The fellows have also began researching trends in economic education with Al-Bahrani. The fellows, according to Frey, “have written literature reviews of economic papers relative to the vision of the Center for Economic Education and have begun to use statistical software to recreate regressions found in the papers we have reviewed.”
Although the funding for the fellowships is, at the moment, only for the fall 2016 semester, Koors and Frey have hit the ground running. In October, they attended the Kentucky Economic Association's annual conference. “This exposed us students to methods of research, current concerns in economics, and was a great setting to speak with those concerned for and supportive of our futures,” Koors said. Frey noted that the unique exposure to the jargon of graduate level economics has been especially helpful in both his research and the classroom.
The overall CEE fellowship has sparked the flame of economics for both of its fellows, as well as providing an invaluable experience for the future. “It is rare for a sophomore to attain a research position in such an early stage of education,” said Frey. “This position will impact the rest of my life in many ways and has already had a positive impact on my understanding of concepts. When it comes to applying for graduate school, having a research position under my belt will be the highlight on my resume! I could not be more thankful to Dr. Al-Bahrani and the College of Business for allowing me to have this opportunity.”
(LtoR: Jacob Koors, Matt Frey, Professor Al-Bahrani)