Mbalou Camara: "While my enthusiasm for international relations drew me into field of research, it was my passion for exploring the interactions between political and economic forces in developing countries that kept me here for the entirety of my undergraduate career"
After becoming a scholar of the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement program last year, Mbalou began working with her economics mentor, Dr. Gindling, on her research proposal called "The Economics and Politics of Non-Contributory Pensions in Argentina". Mbalou spent the following summer as a participant of the McNair Summer Research Institute to conduct the economics portion of her research. The next eight weeks involved examining how non-contributory pensions have reduced income inequality in Argentina while also reducing participation and formality in the labor market. After becoming a "McNair fellow", Mbalou was able to use her work as the platform for her field research during her semester-long journey at La Universidad Catolica de Cordoba in Argentina during the fall of 2014. While there, Mbalou explored the politics behind non-contributory pensions and their likelihood of expansion by looking at newspaper articles, policy reports, and interest group websites. Now as a graduating senior, Mbalou is pursuing an honors degree within the department of Political Science by working with her political science research mentor and integrating what she learned during her semester abroad in Argentina into her advanced research thesis. She had the opportunity to present the year-long findings of her "political economics" paper at the Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day (URCAD) and at the Research Conference in Political Science hosted by Pi Sigma Alpha. Mbalou was recently offered a fellowship in the PhD Excellence Initiative at New York University Stern School of Business. As a Research Fellow of the PhD Excellence Initiative, Mbalou hopes to use the year to clarify her research interests, dive into diverse areas and topics in the field of economics, take graduate level courses in econometrics and statistics, and finally improve her ability to collect and analyze large data sets.
Alyssa Ramos: “My professors cared about my own well-being inside and outside of the classrooms, and I found a genuine camaraderie among the students. They expected a lot from me, never underestimating my potential. They inspired me to work harder, dream higher, and take on every opportunity to the best of my abilities. My poster presentation at URCAD felt like a culmination of my experience here at UMBC. I had the opportunity to share my research to fellow students and professors, and I have never felt more proud of myself than that moment.”As soon as Alyssa met her professors and classmates, she realized that UMBC was where she belonged. Four years later, she has been named Outstanding Graduating Senior in Economics after completing a significant research project on the gender wage gap in the Philippine labor market and data analyst internships at T. Rowe Price, The Chesapeake Group, and DLA Piper. A member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Sigma Alpha Honors Societies, Alyssa credits the encouragement and support from her fellow students and professors for helping her realize there are no limits to what she can achieve. She chose to stay at UMBC to pursue an MA in Economic Policy Analysis due to her rewarding and fulfilling experience as an undergraduate.
Bradley Kilgore:“Throughout my time at UMBC, I was able to take a deep-dive into the culture of the school. Joining clubs that piqued my interest and bonding through late night study sessions as a result of our rigorous course load has allowed me to make friendships that I will carry on with me throughout the rest of my life.”
After many late night study sessions, a challenging internship, and dedication to extracurriculars to get a jump-start in his field—like UMBC’s Investing and Trading Club—Bradlee has landed his dream job. He began a selective internship with T. Rowe Price during his sophomore year, which lead to receiving an exciting post-graduation job offer as an equity analyst. Bradlee’s long list of accomplishments during his time at UMBC includes receiving an African American Academic Excellence Award, Kelly Financial Group Scholarship, and being named to the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. He is currently studying for level one of the Chartered Financial Analyst Designation and also plans to earn an MBA.