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Junior Katie Brown (Shillington, Pa.) is examining the economic struggles of post-colonial Jamaica in a faculty-led research project this semester. She has also just received a William E. Simon Scholarship for the remainder of her schooling.

Brown is working as an EXCEL Scholar with Gladstone Hutchinson, dean of studies, and Ute Schumacher, visiting assistant professor of economics and business. In EXCEL, students collaborate with faculty on research while earning a stipend.

Schumacher and Hutchinson have close ties with Jamaica, and used their positions as consultants to enable two Lafayette students to prepare a research report that influenced that country’s fiscal policy. The students traveled to Jamaica in 2001 to present preliminary results from their research on how to achieve economic growth in similar economies to high-level government officials, economists, and industrialists.

Brown will focus on studying Jamaica as it faces a high unemployment rate, lack of economic growth, and wealth gap, in hopes that the country’s efforts to solve its problems may hold answers for other former colonies as well.

“The influence of the Jamaican government in the public sector, as well as almost every aspect of life, has failed to improve its economy,” comments Brown, a double major in history and economics & business. “Instead, the private sector and individual liberty were shown to fuel economic growth.”

Brown says the research will “inevitably allow us to draw conclusions about other postcolonial countries that display similar economic challenges.” This will make it possible to create solutions relevant to countries other than Jamaica.

Brown’s work experience at the Foundation for Economic Education in Irvington-on-Hudson, N.Y., cemented her interest in liberty and economic development.

“The EXCEL research project allows me to make use of my studies and, more importantly, it is extremely interesting material,” says Brown. “Whatever career path I choose, the work I have done here will be an example of my versatility to a researcher.”

Hutchinson, who describes Brown as exceptionally bright and motivated, says the project should prove excellent for her intellectual development, building her confidence as a research collaborator and helping make her “out-of-the-box” thinker.

“She will be among the best when she accomplishes this,” says Hutchinson, who adds that Brown’s conclusions will likely become part of a book he’s working on.

Brown describes Hutchinson and Schumacher as “extremely professional, respectful, intelligent and caring.”

“They both encouraged me to reach for my goals and to strive for success academically and professionally,” says the student. “I appreciate their dedication to this project and to the students of Lafayette.

“I’m enjoying my time here at Lafayette due to the great academic opportunities it offers, such as alumni-sponsored internships, externships, EXCEL research and community outreach programs. I try to take advantage of these programs so I’m better equipped when I graduate.”

Brown recently received the William E. Simon Scholarship, established in honor of the distinguished alumnus of the class of 1952 who served in exemplary manner as Secretary of Treasury of the United States under Presidents Nixon and Ford.

The Simon Scholarship results in an enhancement in financial aid and requires that the recipient work while at Lafayette to ensure that the student learns to manage the demands of simultaneously pursuing academic excellence and work. Recipients also participate in special activities hosted by the Dean of Studies Office. Simon Scholars demonstrate outstanding academic performance, good character, leadership within and important contributions to civic life in the Lafayette community. Self-development, career excellence, and productive citizenship are all goals of the Simon Scholarship Fund.

Brown is a staff member at Lafayette’s Landis Community Outreach Center, where she leads a group of students in the Kids in the Community program. She is also a member of Investment Club as well as a teaching assistant and music proctor in the music department. She is a teaching assistant for two economics and business professors. She will be continuing an internship at the Mony Group in Bethlehem and takes classical piano lessons. She spent five days last year shadowing Michael Weisburger ‘82, president of B. and D.A. Weisburger Insurance Company, during an externship in which she helped send a newsletter to clients, worked on a database, and created a renewal application insurance form.

Categorized in: Academic News