Undergraduate Profiles

Benjamin Tsoi ‘15

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Benjamin Tsoi wanted to attend college outside of the City. “Johns Hopkins was very appealing because it is a reputable, medium-sized school that has an emphasis on providing students with engaging elective courses and research opportunities. “
Benjamin graduate with majors in Economics and East Asian Studies and a minor in Financial Economics. What attracted Ben to economics as a discipline? “My father is an entrepreneur and I have always wanted to learn more about the underlying economic mechanisms of business. After taking a few core economic courses at Hopkins, I realized the analytical frameworks that applied equally to global markets and individual decision-making resonated with me in a way other disciplines did not.”
Two of Ben’s more memorable economics classes were Economics of Discrimination and Social Policy Implications of Behavioral Economics. “These elective courses applied economic theories to analyze fascinating economic phenomena. In Economics of Discrimination, the in-depth analysis of labor market behavior was particularly enlightening and relevant to me as I enter the labor market.
In Professor Papageorge’s Behavioral Economics course, I learned how to integrate complex human behavior into models that predict daily decision-making, an approach that can be used to enact effective social policies.”
Outside of class, Ben was President of the Business in China Association (BCA), Co-President of Social Investment Outreach (SIO) and Co-Editor-in-Chief of Epidemic Proportions (EP), the undergraduate public health research journal. In addition to his busy extra-curricular schedule, Ben took every opportunity to gain research and internship experience. “During my freshman summer, I interned at a securities firm in Guangzhou, China and also at a digital media company in New York City. The next summer, I joined the Sales & Analytics sophomore program hosted by Bloomberg L.P. in New York City. I spent my junior year summer interning at Deloitte Consulting LLP as a Business Technology Analyst in Washington, D.C. On campus, I conducted economics research under the guidance of Prof. Steve H. Hanke from the Institute for Applied Economics, and published two working papers published based on my empirical research.”
After graduation, Ben will be joining Deloitte Consulting LLP as a Business Technology Analyst in Washington, D.C. “I had a very rewarding experience with Deloitte during my junior year summer internship, and I believe the firm will provide me with outstanding opportunities to grow as a young professional. “ Ultimately Ben hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps and purse his own business venture. Ben, we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors!

Molly McGlone ‘15

Growing up in Baltimore, Molly McGlone was well aware of Hopkins international reputation in the public health field. After initially wanting to double major in Public Health and Economics, she chose to simply major in Economics to allow herself the flexibility to study abroad and take classes in multiple departments in both the Engineering school and the School of Arts and Sciences. “ I liked that economics was the intersection of the social sciences and statistics/math.”
I particularly enjoyed taking Dr. Bishai’s class, Economics of Health, because I learned so much about the American healthcare system and the insurance system, and the class directly applied to current events during the roll-out of Obamacare. I also enjoyed Professor Moffit’s Economics of Poverty and Inequality class and Professor Takahashi’s Labor Economics class. We read some excellent research studies and had some great discussions on education and the labor market. “
Molly studied studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad. “I took classes in Globalization and the European Economies, Development Economics and Health Economics of Northern Europe in addition to an urban planning class and a public health class. I enjoyed studying economics from a European perspective, and the highlight of the program was traveling with my economics class to visit the World Bank, the OECD and the EU Commission on a field trip.”
Back home, Molly was involved with the campus’ chapter of Habitat for Humanity, working on houses in the Sandtown neighborhood, and was a Learning Den tutor for both Elements of Microeconomics and Fundamentals of Epidemiology. “I also had the amazing opportunity to intern with the JHU Community Impact Internship Program two summers in a row. I worked with a community development non-profit called the Central Baltimore Partnership, collecting data and creating a database of current properties in order to leverage more investment. I learned grant-writing skills and helped organize community events to promote economic development in different neighborhoods.”
After graduation, Molly plans to use her economics skills in Baltimore where she will be researching urban development issues for a real estate consulting firm.
“Ultimately, I would like to have careers in urban planning and education. I am very interested in urban economics and how to make cities thriving places in which to live, work and play in both developed and developing countries, and communicating the value of that.”
Molly has nothing but great things to say about the Department: “Get to know your professors, TAs and advisors. They are great resources for helping you to understand class material, but they also can help you frame what kind of work and/or research you want to do with your Economics degree in the future.” Thanks for all your contributions to our great city, Molly, and please stop by to chat anytime!

Victoria Marlin ‘15

What led Victoria Marlin to study at Johns Hopkins? “I actually applied early. I loved Hopkins from the moment I visited it. I had good friends from high school that went to Hopkins. I wanted to have a campus but also be in a city, and Hopkins was one of few schools that offered that. I liked that it had a small school feel and that I could get to know the student body on a more intimate level than at a bigger school.”
Victoria started out as an International Studies major, and worked for two summers at global health consulting companies. But after taking economics classes she realized how much she enjoyed the discipline. “I had a closed-minded view that economics equals finance. But my favorite economics classes – Economics of Discrimination, International Monetary Economics and Economics of Health – had great and engaging professors, and opened my eyes to other aspects of economics. Taking economics has given me the theoretical and quantitative understanding of many of the world’s biggest problems, and potential solutions. I loved learning about how health systems operate as market places for goods and services, and what types of economic policies can be used to serve the health and education needs of underserved populations.”
When not studying, Victoria was a tutor for the Tutorial Project, a campus ambassador for Study Abroad programs and a member of Alpha Phi Omega community service fraternity. In Spring of her senior year she was one of the first cohort of students admitted to the Baltimore Fellows Program. In addition to taking interdisciplinary classes in sociology, economics and political science, and conducting original research in Baltimore neighborhoods, Victoria interned for Sage Policy Group, a Baltimore-based economics consulting firm that focuses on investment and development strategies for the communities of the mid-Atlantic region.
Victoria studied abroad in Paris in fall of her junior year, taking a variety of economic and political courses. This experience partially influenced her decision to return to Sciences Po for a Masters in International Economic Policy with concentrations in Emerging Markets and European Studies. Ultimate she hopes to pursue a career in economic policy-making, ideally at the World Bank. Way to go Victoria!

Jonathan Lowrey ‘15

Hailing from California, Jonathan Lowrey was excited to attend college on the other side of the country. He liked Baltimore on his first visit, and was attracted to Hopkins because it presented a wide range of academic pursuits. His original plan was to major in BioMedical Engineering, but along the way he also picked up a major in Economics.
“Economics was a strong interest from high school, and to follow this interest I initially took economics classes to fill my distribution requirements. About halfway through my sophomore year, I realized I really enjoyed my economics coursework and found it highly rewarding, so I made the choice to pursue it as a full major, and I’m glad I did. Throughout my 4 years, my favorite classes have consistently been my economics classes, so there’s a lot that stuck in my mind. One that was fun for me was the game theory class I took freshman year, where Professor Harrington structured the decision to have a senior option as a game. Then, he actually brought in a bingo wheel to randomize the outcome! I also enjoyed how the coursework, particularly in macroeconomics, reflected new thinking post-recession.”
Jonathan agrees with many students when he recognizes that the skills and way of thinking economics transmits are so broadly applicable. “Economics requires you to take a logical framework and apply intuitive reasoning to determine outcomes, a thought process that has been invaluable in my engineering courses. Economics is not about money, but decisions. Once you start looking beyond dollar signs, economic thinking can provide insight into almost any problem you come across.”
After graduation Jon will be working as an integration engineer at Epic Systems, a healthcare software company based in Madison, WI, and he is excited to be a part of an important and growing industry. Any advice for students considering economics? “Be ready to engage with your professors and TAs. I’ve found that economics faculty are some of the most outgoing professors on campus, and are very willing to interact on a personal level. And don’t be afraid of jumping into the upper level classes. The 300 level classes can be some of the most fun.”

Peter Huether ‘15

Peter Huether traveled the short distance from his home in New Jersey to Hopkins because “I liked the atmosphere when I visited and how focused and driven the students seemed to be. I also liked Hopkins’ research emphasis.” Peter chose to combine Economics with the new major in Global Environmental Change & Sustainability. “I knew I wanted to do policy work, probably environmental policy, and I knew that a background in economics would be crucial to understand policy issues. I also thoroughly enjoyed AP Economics in high school and wanted to continue studying it in college.”
Peter enjoyed classes that connected coursework to policy and real world issues. I gravitated towards courses that present research analyzing the efficacy of various policies. Some memorable examples of this happened in my classes Economics of Poverty and Inequality and Economics of Discrimination.”
Extra-curriculars at Hopkins included Real Food Hopkins which successfully lobbied for an increase in the amount of sustainable food on campus, membership in the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega (APO) and volunteering in Baltimore City.
Peter was accepted to the competitive Aitchison Fellowship, spending a semester in DC, and interned as a research assistant at both Resources for the Future, an environmental think-tank, and the Environmental Protection Agency. “Both combined my interests of economic research and environmental policy and I got a good glimpse into the world DC policy world.” After graduation Pete will be an assistant analyst at the Congressional Budget Office working on federal tax revenue projections. “ I knew I wanted to be in DC and possibly keep working in economic and social science research. But eventually I want to go back to graduate school for either public policy or economics and ultimately return to working as a policy analyst in DC. “
What advice does Peter have for prospective majors? “In the major, you will learn how to critically analyze issues and use statistical methods to discern causal effects. I learned how to measure the effects of public policies using econometric research. Take more math than required if you want to do economic research, but also explore the other social sciences such as political science and sociology.”

Jessica Fong ‘15

Jessica Fong originally chose Hopkins to purse the International Studies Major. Later, she decided to add Economics as a second major. “After taking Elements of Macro I began to think an Economics major both interesting and doable. It made a sensible and strong pairing with the International Studies major. Overall, in my course of study, I liked the interconnectedness of everything—looking at history, politics, sociology, culture is impossible to do without economics. Likewise, it is difficult to wholly understand economics as a social science without studying these other fields to some degree. ”
Jessica seized upon the opportunity to spend a semester abroad at the Tsinghua School of Economics and Management in Beijing. “Culturally, it was definitely an incredible and eye-opening experience. Academically, the courses at Tsinghua were very rigorous and on-par with the types of economics courses I took at JHU.”
After graduation, Jessica will be working at ZS Associates, a management consulting firm. “Eventually I want to have my own business, so working in consulting will provide valuable insights and experience towards that future goal.”
Advice for economics majors? “Go to TA office hours—all the Econ TAs are super helpful and will really provide all the resources they can for you to do well. You just need to ask for the help.”

Nathan Choe ‘15

This Spring Nathan Choe graduated from Johns Hopkins with a major in Economics. “I had heard a lot of good things about the Economics department here at JHU. It has a new, budding finance minor, interesting courses and accessible professors that I knew would push and challenge me.”
Nathan particularly enjoyed an innovative class entitled Economics of Social Networks because it combined game theory and graph theory to everyday interactions such as making friends or building professional networks. In general, “economics has really helped me look at things from a logical and analytical point-of-view….making decisions became about not just what feels right, but also thinking about the costs and benefits of a course of action.”
While at Hopkins, Nathan was a captain on the Mock Trial Team, a member of the Student Election Committee and a co-founder of the notorious Johns Hopkins University Wading Team. He spent a valuable semester interning on Capital Hill for congressman Ted. W. Lieu, where he got to attend many Budget Committee hearings and learn the intricacies of government inflows and outflows.
Immediately after graduation Nathan will work with Teach For America in inner-city Baltimore. “I think it will provide me with insights into the state of our most troubled schools and of areas with high poverty, issues that I ultimately care passionately about” Ultimately, Nathan hopes to move into politics and focus on education reform. “Economics has shown me that the economy does not necessarily work well for everyone. I hope to work with others to alleviate some of the flaws and make life for the people at the bottom better.”
Does Nathan have any advice for potential Economics majors? “Dabble in economics, finance and policy. Initially, I was convinced that I wanted to pursue finance on Wall Street, but after working as an intern on the Hill and taking a couple of policy classes, I realized that I wanted to get into politics and help deal with some of the more pressing issues facing our country.”

Nicholas Cerrone ‘15

Nicholas Cerrone graduated from Johns Hopkins in 2015 with a major in Economics. He chose Hopkins because it afforded him a broad-based liberal arts education, a “diverse set of majors each renowned in its respective field”, and the chance to continue playing soccer at a high level.

Nicholas quotes the British economist John Maynard Keynes to explain his attraction to the economics major: “the master-economist must possess a rare combination of gifts…he must be mathematician, historian, statesman, philosopher – in some degree.” Nicholas continues “ Rather than narrowing a student’s view to a specific method of thinking as some majors may do, economics offers a diverse skill-set. An economics major must be both proficient in numbers and have the capability to understand complex theoretical concepts; he or she must understand both the abstract and concrete. Few other majors offer such a combination.”

Nicholas recalls several memorable classes, including mock oral arguments with Professor Hamilton in Economics of Antitrust and acquiring valuable empirical skills in Professor Barbera’s The Art and Science of Economic Forecasting. He also appreciates the fact that professors in the Department were open to presenting different schools of economic thought.

Nicholas completed internships in investment banking during both his sophomore and junior year summers, first at a boutique investment bank focused on mergers and acquisitions, then in the equity capital markets division of a larger bank The latter internship led to a subsequent job offer, and Nick is looking forward to acquiring practical finance experience to complement the more theoretical nature of the economics major. Good luck, Nick, in your chosen career!

Samantha Carter ‘15

Samantha Carter recently graduated from Johns Hopkins with majors in Economics and International Studies, and a minor in Spanish Language and Culture. “Originally, I thought I would pursue an International Studies degree with a Math double major, but my first economics class completely changed my mind. I think economics is the best way to truly understand the world….. I’ve seen how flexible it is, and how it can be applied to areas far beyond money or finance.”
Samantha’s favorite classes have been the micro ones, especially Behavioral Economics and Game Theory. “In Behavioral Economics, we questioned classical utility-maximizing assumptions, read a variety of interesting studies, from the impact of soap operas on fertility rates to the optimal number of jams in a supermarket. Reading economics papers was one of the best skills I learned at Hopkins, and someday hope to be writing my own because of it! In Game Theory, we examined the huge negative impacts that can arise from incomplete information. One of the most important things I’ve started to learn is how to translate very specific economics jargon into words that are intelligible and interesting to the general population.”
At Hopkins, Samantha was a member of the Sirens all-female a cappella group, the Alpha Phi sorority, a Blue Key tour guide, and an Admissions Representative. She also taught inner-city high school students as a mentor in the non-profit initiative Thread.
Samantha is participating in the 5-year BA/MA SAIS program in D.C., and will graduate with a Master’s degree in International Economics, specializing in Development Microeconomics, and Latin American Studies. She used and extended her economics skills by interning at the renowned Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington D.C. She worked in the Migration, Remittances, and Development department of Inter-American Dialogue, a think-tank that promotes positive interaction throughout the Western Hemisphere. Her research included collecting and analyzing data to understand migration and remittance patterns, and providing policy solutions. She also had the opportunity to work as a teaching assistant for the Applied Econometrics course at SAIS. Eventually, Samantha plans to purse a Ph.D in economics, and a career in development impact evaluation – directing resources to programs that will be most successful at eliminating poverty.
Samantha, do you have any advice for economics majors?  “Embrace economics! It is a challenging major, especially once you reach the higher-level classes like Microtheory, but it is entirely worth it. Economics will teach you how to understand the world in a completely new way, and that will set you up for a career in many different fields. Review basic calculus before you take Micro and Macro Theory, and study with your friends, because discussion is the only way you’ll really understand the intuition behind the graphs and equations. Additionally, be aware of all the different paths you can take with your major; think about getting a PhD, going into finance, pursuing a consulting career, or working in development. Don’t let yourself get stuck on one path – see all the possible routes you can take in the future.”

Olga Baranoff ‘16

Olga Baranoff transferred to Hopkins after her freshman year at a small liberal arts college because sh ewanted to combine an interest in Economics and Russian with the new minor in Social Policy. Why economics? “I was attracted to the blend of quantitative and qualitative analysis within economics. Majoring in it gives you skills and a framework for analyzing issues in a way that is very useful and applicable to many career paths. I have enjoyed getting to know professors in the department and learning about the different types of research they do. It really is a very diverse academic area, and I am grateful for the exposure to the range of economic topics the department provides.” In upper-level electives, Olga enjoyed reading academic papers and critically analyzing them in class. “While the exposure to established economists’ research is valuable, class discussions with peers and the ability to apply knowledge from lectures has been equally constructive.”

In Spring, 2015 Olga was one of the first cohort of students to be accepted into the competitive Social Policy Program. As a Policy Fellow in D.C., Olga interned four days a week at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth where she conducted research on labor market issues. Along with the other Fellows, Olga also took policy-related classes taught by professionals from think-tanks, government organizations, and private and non-profit sectors. “I found the DC Social Policy semester to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my time at Hopkins, and a unique networking opportunity.” Olga has filled her time at Hopkins with a variety of other activities, including writing for Politik, a weekly online political magazine, tutoring with the Tutorial Project, and playing Varsity squash. After graduation Olga hopes to work either in finance, consulting, or a policy-related field. “Regardless of where I end up, I want to be doing something that continuously challenges me and requires me to apply the analytical and critical thinking skills I’ve gained by majoring in economics.”