Three female Southeast Missouri State University economics students and their professor joined about 110 other female students from across the Midwest to discuss issues and opportunities in economics at the Women in Economics Symposium Feb. 22 at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Participating in the day-long symposium from Southeast were Dr. Natallia Gray, assistant professor of economics in the Harrison College of Business, and three Southeast student members of the Women in Economics organization. They are Valeriia Andreieva, a financial economics major from Cherkasi (Ukraine); Marion Mideva, a financial economics major from Nairobi, Kenya, and Jalesa Jones of Rochester, New York, a double major in economics and corporate communication.
The symposium offered opportunities to network and discuss career options, review research and data on women in economics, hear from panels of women who majored in economics and to hear perspectives from leaders in the field. Key topics centered on navigating the job market, why women should consider economics, diversity issues in the workplace and strategies for engaging women in the classroom.
Panel discussions featured economics professors from Midwestern universities and female economists from the Federal Reserve, US Bank, Morgan Stanley and Edward Jones. Special speakers included Mary Daly, a native St. Louisian and executive vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; Claudia Sahm, section chief of consumer and community development research with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; and Ellen Zentner, managing director and chief U.S. economist at Morgan Stanley.
“The speakers were so inspiring,” Gray said. “They are the true Rock stars of the economics profession.”
In addition to coordinating the Southeast students’ participation in the event, Gray, together with colleagues from the Federal Reserve and Edward Jones, discussed issues facing female economists in a male-dominated field on a panel titled, “Diversity Issues in the Workplace.”
In addition to participating in the main event, Southeast students also participated in a pre-symposium workshop on working with FRED — Federal Reserve Economic Data — an online interactive tool developed by the Federal Reserve of St. Louis, and visited the Inside the Economy Museum located in the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
“Last year, I started a student group, Women in Economics, on the Southeast campus to support and mentor female students majoring in economics,” Gray said. “When I was an undergraduate student of economics at the University of Southern Maine, I felt very isolated when taking my classes because I was the only female student in all the upper-level economics classes. I didn’t have any female friends to talk to about classes or to discuss economics concepts.”
Nationally, there is one female economics student for every three males. Southeast’s Women in Economics organization has eight members.
Her goal for the Southeast students who attended the symposium was to “provide these female economics majors with support from their peers in pursuit of their studies of economics and to get career advice from other women in the field of economics,” Gray said.
This was the first time the Federal Reserve held the Women in Economics Symposium.
“The event exceeded our students’ expectations,” Gray said. “The experience was so exhilarating. Students have said they would like to participate in this event annually and that this experience should be a part of the academic journey of every female student majoring in economics.”
** Top Photo Caption: From left are Valeria Andreieva; Dr. Natallia Gray, assistant professor of economics; Jalesa Jones; and Marion Mideva.