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Partnering to Make Economics More Inclusive

Students listening to the keynote address.
Students attending the first Diverse Economics Conference listening to the keynote address by Marie Mora.

Economics is a major that prepares students to pursue a wide variety of career paths depending on their unique interests and values. At the first Diverse Economics: People, Perspectives, Careers (DivEc) Conference hosted by the Richmond Fed, in partnership with the Robins School of Business at the University of Richmond and the Undergraduate Women in Economics Challenge, undergraduate students from across the country heard from professionals whose unique perspectives and experiences helped shape and define their journey in the economics profession. The speakers represented a wide array of backgrounds and areas of expertise within the field of economics — from nonprofit and consulting to research and banking.

The conference provided an opportunity for students to network with the speakers, other professionals in economics and each other. Keynote speaker Marie Mora, associate provost for Academic Affairs and professor of economics at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said in talking about the importance of mentorship and networking, “you cannot overestimate the power of what happens when you bring people together in the same space.”

That was definitely true at this conference, too. Students, while participating in small group discussions at the end of the day, reported that they were surprised by how influential and fluid the economics profession is. For some, DivEc renewed their enthusiasm for economics, stating that it gave them a better sense of direction with concrete and specific information from people with economics degrees.

The barriers that some students face entering the field of economics were discussed, including not having mentors that looked like them. The hope is that by having conferences like this one, students and economists can work together to find ways to make the economics profession more accessible for everyone.

Videos and resources from the conference are available at If you host a watch event at your school or if you want to receive information about next year’s Diverse Economics: People, Perspective, Careers Conference, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.

  • Marie Mora delivers her keynote address.

    1 of 5 Marie Mora, associate provost for Academic Affairs and professor of economics at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, delivering her keynote address, which focused on her journey in the economics profession and the role mentorship has played in her career.

  • Lisa White, EVP of SRC, shares her epxeriences.

    2 of 5 Lisa White, executive vice president of Supervision, Regulation and Credit at the Richmond Fed, shares her experience as an economics major as part of the Diverse Careers in Economics Panel. The other panelists (from left to right) included Rhonda Sharpe, founder and president, Women’s Institute for Science, Equity and Race; Marisa Shenk, research analyst, Mathematica; and Allison Bogdanovic, executive director, Virginia Supportive Housing. The panel was moderated by Tatyana Avilova, Undergraduate Women in Economics Challenge.

  • Kartik Athreya shares information on economics careers at the Richmond Fed.

    3 of 5 The Federal Reserve is a great place for economics majors to work after college. Executive Vice President and Director of Research at the Federal Reserve, Kartik Athreya, shares information on the variety of economics careers available in the Research department at the Richmond Fed.

  • Laura Mitchell shares informations with Linda Loubert and students.

    4 of 5 Linda Loubert, associate professor, interim chair and graduate coordinator in the department of economics at Morgan State University, listens as Laura Mitchell from Hollins University and other students share their takeaways from the conference.

  • Olamiposi Sunmola from Morgan State University shares her experiences.

    5 of 5 Olamiposi Sunmola, a student at Morgan State University, shares her experiences with the group.

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Jim Strader (804) 697-8956 (804) 332-0207 (mobile)