The National Science Foundation has awarded a three-year grant to Tulane to provide research experiences for undergraduates interested in economics. The Tulane Research Experience for Undergraduates in Applied Microeconomics and Program Evaluation (Treu-Ampe) was designed by co-investigators Assistant Professor Keith Finlay and Associate Professor Jonathan Pritchett of the Economics department to provide undergraduate majors in Economics with research opportunities in applied microeconomics and program evaluation to supplement their academic coursework. The objective of the Treu-Ampe program is to engage a diverse set of talented undergraduates in the economic analysis of public policies, including those policies that affect the New Orleans and Gulf Coast areas and have broader implications for all regions. By participating in the scientific evaluation of the effects of public policy on the communities in which our students live, we foster their interest in economics and program evaluation and build broader research skills to support their graduate studies.
The program is open to undergraduates from Tulane University, the University of New Orleans, Xavier University, Loyola University, Dillard University, and Southern University at New Orleans. Promising students from these schools are matched with a faculty member of the Tulane Economics department. In addition to working with their faculty mentors on their chosen research projects, students will attend workshops on the development of research skills and make presentations of their research projects. Research projects last between six months and two years and result in senior theses and potentially publications authored by the student, faculty adviser, or both. Students will also attend workshops on preparation for graduate school during the last week of the program in July.
Treu-Ampe aims to provide not only a curricular research opportunity but also the long-term support necessary for a career in research. This support is particularly important for student groups such as women and underrepresented minorities that have been, and continue to be, underrepresented in these disciplines at the graduate level.
Our student participants during Summer 2010 are:
During the first week of the program, students attend workshops and seminars on research skills. Among the topics covered in these workshops are (1) the development of effective communications skills with your faculty mentor, (2) basic computer skills, including the care and use of the lab computers, (3) learning how to use Excel spreadsheets, (4) searching and data mining, including advanced googling (don't laugh, there's a lot more to this than you would think), and (5) learning how to use econometric software programs (including both SAS and Stata).
Beginning the program's second week, students work full-time with their faculty mentors on their chosen research projects. Much of this work is accomplished in the Treu-Ampe "boiler room", located on the second floor of Tilton Hall. For example, Treu-Ampe students Zachary Flynn and Eastin Rossell spend much of their day in the computer lab working on their respective projects.
Some of the students, however, have been working offsite in order to accomplish their projects. Students working with Professor Finlay, for example, have been researching state laws in the Tulane Law Library, in order to determine the age of majority at which young offenders are treated as adults under sentencing guidelines. Professor Pritchett's students have been working in the New Orleans notarial archives, the largest depository of the sales records of slaves in the United States.
Student presentations of their research projects and workshops on getting into graduate school are schedule for the last week the summer program, which ends on July 30. A program highlight is a "virtual" presentation by Sarah Miller, a Tulane alumna and current graduate student in economics at the University of Illinois, on her experiences in graduate school.
206 Tilton Hall, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 tel 504-865-5321 fax 504-865-5869 email@example.com