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Adam Tobin-Williams

Adam Tobin-Williams

Class Of 2026

Majors: Economics, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Applied Mathematics and Statistics

I joined economics because of its focus on understanding the workings of society for the purpose of making it better for those within it. This core of economics, fueled by an analytical approach, a deep interest in learning, and an altruistic streak, is what it truly is. And as an economics major, I get to be surrounded by people who think likewise, topics which promote my understanding, and role models in economics professors in what is possible. What I appreciate most as an economics major is being given the tools to analyze and improve the world how I see fit. 

Classes I’ve enjoyed

While I have not taken many courses in economics quite yet, I really enjoyed Debates in Macroeconomics because of its applied nature and focus on recent issues. That class, also known as Debates, was the first economics elective I have taken, and it renewed my love for the subject as it took the then seemingly unquantifiable questions such as “What are the effects of immigration?” and constructed the theoretical framework for understanding them that economists in the Fed, CBO, Brookings, and many other organizations do in the field, fit in empirical evidence, and explained issues in the models. I had nearly forgotten why I had been taking Economics courses in the first place, but Debates reminded me of the good that could be done with economics. 

Applying economics to other STEM majors and research

This summer, I was an intern working on a natural language processing application at the Applied Physics Laboratory, and while I was there I connected with many professionals in their Intelligent Systems Center’s Complex Systems group. I did this initially to explore the interplay between my two other majors, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Applied Mathematics and Statistics, which took me towards physics informed neural networks, dynamical systems, and statistical mechanics.

However, I wondered how this could be applied to economics, and I stumbled upon complexity economics. This form of economics takes the ideas of dynamical systems and chaos theory to devise new forms of equilibrium, and I think that once I can fully meld my computational modeling with my economic theory background, I can use complexity and computational economics to study wider hard to quantify macroeconomics.