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DivEc Acquaints Students With Diverse Career Options

Peter Blair, an Assistant Professor of Education at Harvard University, served as DivEc's opening night keynote speaker.

The Richmond Fed’s 2021 Diverse Economics Conference took place virtually on Nov. 16–18, with a goal of exposing the participating students to the broad range of career opportunities that an economics degree can yield.

For the third consecutive year, the Bank partnered with the University of Richmond’s School of Business and Undergraduate Women in Economics to bring together professionals who shared their diverse perspectives on the field today and their career journeys. 

Richmond Fed Research Director Kartik Athreya opened the event by sharing with students that spending his formative years experiencing the economic disparities between India and the United States led him to pursue a career as an economist. He also shared why he believes diversity in the field can prevent economics from including the perspectives of just one group of people.

“Drawing bright people, and their experiences and sense of the world, is key,” Athreya said. “No society should leave talent development to random chance. This is what DivEc helps us try to get at. A social science like economics requires an all-of-society level of participation to stay relevant.”

Peter Blair, an assistant professor of education at Harvard University, served as the keynote speaker and described his path to a doctorate in applied economics. In his interactive address, he encouraged participating students to share their perceptions of the economics field before laying those notions aside to embrace other potential options.

In addition to Blair’s opening message, other presenters and panelists shared information and engaged the students in conversation around the topics of Economics in Practice, Recent Graduates: Where Are They Now? and the Path of an Economist. The closing message was delivered by Claudia Goldin, Henry Lee professor of economics at Harvard and founder of the Undergraduate Women in Economics Challenge.

This year, for the first time, students who attended the conference were invited to interview for summer internships in the Richmond Fed’s Research department. 

“This special opportunity was a win-win,” said Sarah Gunn, the Bank’s director of Economic Education. “The students who took time to learn more about the internships gained insight into the exciting career tracks at the Bank, and we have an opportunity to potentially hire some of the best and brightest young minds in the field.”

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