The Economics of COVID-19: Student’s Internship Leads to Published Work | St. Lawrence University

The Economics of COVID-19: Student’s Internship Leads to Published Work

As the COVID-19 pandemic continued through the summer of 2020 and people yearned for insight into the short- and long-term effects it might have on their lives, Emily Green ’21 researched and wrote articles for her internship that could help.

Emily, who is pursuing a combined major in international economics and Spanish, as well as a major in government at St. Lawrence, spent her summer working for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, where she was able to connect the dots between the economic theory she learned in her classes at St. Lawrence and what was happening around the world in the midst of the pandemic. Her first of two published articles for Econ Focus, a quarterly publication that covers economics issues affecting the Fifth Federal Reserve District and the nation, highlighted recent economic research on the midlife effects of graduating into a recession and was published in the magazine’s Second/Third Quarter 2020 issue.

“I was interested in that topic because of its relevance to our current situation,” she says. “Most people my age will be graduating into economic conditions that aren’t optimal, and the results of the study show that this will continue to affect us through midlife and likely beyond. When I thought about something a reader of the Econ Focus magazine might be interested in, the midlife impacts of graduating into a recession seemed very pertinent.”

Her second article, which is to be published later in 2020, will focus on research about meat supply chains, a topic she became familiar with at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I witnessed the meat shortages at the grocery store and was interested in the economic explanations behind them,” she says. “As I explored the topic, it became clear to me that many of the concepts from my economics courses about tradeoffs, concentration, efficiency, and consumer choice were embedded into the issues with our meat supply chains in the U.S.”

Because of her boundless curiosity and her academic interests, Emily’s mentors—Charles A. Dana Professor of Economics Cynthia Bansak, A. Barton Hepburn Associate Professor of Economics Brian Chezum, and Lynn Smith Fox, spouse of President William L. Fox ’75 and former senior official of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors— encouraged her to apply for a summer internship with one of the Federal Reserve banks. She was selected for a completely virtual opportunity with the Richmond Fed working with their Research Publications team and writing articles for their magazine.

“I had to take my experience writing academic research papers and completely readjust my writing to fit the expectations for the magazine articles,” she says. “Learning how to adjust my research and writing to my work environment was one of the biggest challenges of my summer, but also one of the most valuable ones.”

In addition to having her work published, Emily enjoyed many takeaways from her internship. Besides the “amazing culture of the Richmond Fed” that she said made her want to go above and beyond every day, she learned more about how to be resilient and adaptable to changing circumstances.

“The virtual internship wasn’t without its challenges,” she explains. “I had to deal with technical difficulties and ‘Zoom fatigue.’ I had to learn how to network and build relationships with my co-workers remotely. And most importantly, I learned that in the workplace, especially a virtual one, you have to be willing to ask for help and to reach out to others. Being proactive about these things and really communicating with my coworkers and bosses was truly the key to meeting expectations for my work, building strong relationships, and making the experience enjoyable.”