Following a competitive review process, Haydee Matos ’25 and Zenani Mabuza ’24 connected with economics industry experts and explored potential career paths during the Expanding Diversity in Economics Summer Institute at the University of Chicago, an opportunity they credit to guidance from their St. Lawrence faculty mentors.
Hosted by the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics (BFI), the program supports talented undergraduate students from a broad range of backgrounds interested in economics with the goal of increasing the number of students majoring in economics and pursuing a graduate program or a career in the field. This year’s cohort welcomed just 43 participants from 30 U.S.-based institutions in 17 states.
“As an aspiring financial economist, I enjoyed being exposed to the different career fields that my economics major could be applied to, especially during our visits to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and The Northern Trust Asset Management company. I unexpectedly developed a newfound interest in the field of labor economics,” said Zenani, an economics and mathematics combined major and double minor in statistics and francophone studies.
For three weeks, Haydee and Zenani listened to daily guest lectures from experts in the field of economics, attended events, and completed microeconomic inquiry and applied economic analysis courses instructed by economists from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, and Harris School of Public Policy.
“I enjoyed the networking events that connected our cohort to current Uchicago students, professors, and impactful people in the field because I had conversations about academics and personal growth,” says Haydee, an economics major and educational studies minor. “Meeting people who are similar to me in certain aspects motivated me to work harder and learn more.”
The pair credit the hands-on learning opportunity to their St. Lawrence faculty mentors.
“My economics professor, Sahar Milani, encouraged me to apply and always kept an open-door policy during the application process. My academic advisor, Professor Shuwei Zhang, provided me with support and was happy to be a reference,” says Zenani.
Haydee learned about the program from Cynthia Bansak, Charles A. Dana professor of economics, who helped her create the Women in Economics Club at St. Lawrence, and was encouraged by Ana Estevez, professor of biology and psychology to try new things.
“I’ve had an economics major on my mind since high school but I never felt represented as a Latina,” she said “I applied in the hope that I would meet people who inspire me and are relatable to me. Professor Ana Estevez, my first-generation mentor, gave me incredible advice that helped me become more comfortable and ambitious.”
For Haydee and Zenani, the experience has inspired their academic paths at St. Lawrence and beyond.
“My biggest takeaway from the program was to be curious and listen to those who are experts in their fields,” says Haydee. “I am now interested in the social aspect of learning and how I can impact others through experiences and knowledge.”
The 2022 EDE Summer Institute is supported by the Booth School of Business, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics and the Division of Social Sciences, and numerous outside sponsors, including Northern Trust, Ariel Investments, and the Lumina Foundation. EDE is a first-of-its-kind summer program targeting early undergraduate students for exposure to economics.
Zenani MabuzaClass of 2024
Zenani is from Malkerns, Eswatini, and attended Waterford Kamhlaba United World Colleges South Africa School. She is Treasurer of the Association for Campus Entertainment, a Community Assistant (CA), a trained student advocate against sexual assault, and a member of Agape Christian Fellowship and Women in Economics.
Haydee MatosClass of 2025
Haydee Matos is from Harlem, New York, and attended Frederick Douglass Academy. She is a member of La Sociedad, Women in Economics, and the National Society of Leadership and Success.