A New Major in Quantitative Economics + Research Fellows Program
While St. Olaf has long prepared Oles for successful careers in economic research, finance, banking, and regulatory affairs, the college now offers a new quantitative economics major with a sharpened focus on those fields. Launched in 2020, the new major requires a higher level of foundational mathematics as well as several courses that include quantitative research in economics.
The major has grown rapidly, thanks in part to a core group of young faculty members hired in the past few years: St. Olaf Assistant Professor of Economics Allison Luedtke, Assistant Professor of Economics Marcus Bansah, and Tomson Family Assistant Professor of Law and Economics Colin Harris. This fall they will be joined by Naafey Sardar, who has experience working with the Central Bank of Pakistan and will be teaching the popular Money and Banking course that examines monetary theory and policy and the role that Federal Reserve plays in the U.S. economy.
To help students connect what they’re learning in these courses with real-world applications, in 2021 Bansah and Harris also created the Economics Research Fellows Program. The program provides Oles with opportunities to conduct research alongside faculty members in the Economics Department throughout the academic year. There are 15 fellows this year, and interest has remained high.
“A lot of the projects deal with data-driven issues, which is exactly the type of work our graduates will do if they take internships or jobs with consulting firms, like Analysis Group, or the Federal Reserve,” Harris says.
A lot of the projects deal with data-driven issues, which is exactly the type of work our graduates will do if they take internships or jobs with consulting firms, like Analysis Group, or the Federal Reserve.Tomson Family Assistant Professor of Law and Economics Colin Harris
The Economics Research Fellows Program augments a number of other research opportunities available to St. Olaf students, from the Collaborative Undergraduate Research and Inquiry (CURI) program that provides in-depth faculty-mentored research experiences in the summer to the St. Olaf Center for Interdisciplinary Research (CIR), which enables cohorts of students to collaborate with experts in problem-based investigations on statistics-related issues.