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Kirtika Challa ’12 and Dylan McNamara ’11 compete in last year's regional competition.

Kirtika Challa ’12, left, and Dylan McNamara ’11 compete in last year's regional competition.

Lafayette’s team placed first at the Third District College Fed Challenge Regional Championship Nov. 10 at Lehigh University. The team advances to the national College Fed Challenge Nov. 29 along with four other schools in the boardroom of the Federal Reserve System’s Board of Governors in Washington, D.C.

The team has had great success on the national level, being crowned champion in 2009-10 and placing second in the country last year. More than 100 teams throughout the country compete through local, regional, and national contests.

Sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, eight teams competed in the regional contest including Lehigh, Gettysburg, The College of New Jersey, Delaware, Shippensburg, Ursinus, and Saint Francis.

“This year’s team is absolutely phenomenal! Our biggest strength is the ability to function as a cohesive unit and bounce off each other’s strengths,” says Kirtika Challa ’12 (Mumbai, India), a double major in economics and engineering studies who was also on last year’s team. “We have put a lot of time and effort into this competition and it shows in our performance. Our goal is to keep the hard work going and prepare even better for nationals because it is a different ball game and the difficulty level is higher.”

Members of the team include Amira Ahsan ’13 (Dhaka, Bangladesh), an electrical and computer engineering major; Luke Calvano ’12 (Eastampton, N.J.), a double major in economics and policy studies; Szu-Ying Chen ’13 (Bangkok, Thailand), a chemical engineering major; Xiao Cui ’13 (Beijing, China), an economics major; Shiyang Jiang ’12 (Dalian, China), an economics major; Andreas Lezis ’12 (Lafayette Hill, Pa.), an international affairs major; Kelly Liss ’13 (Oakland, N.J.), an English major; Emily Tanenbaum ’12 (Basking Ridge, N.J.), a mathematics-economics major; and Miao Wang ’12 (Cheng De He Bei, China), a mathematics-economics major. The team’s advisers are James DeVault, professor of economics, and Julie Smith, assistant professor of economics.

Sponsored by some of the nation’s Federal Reserve banks, the College Fed Challenge encourages better understanding of the U.S. central bank, the forces influencing economic conditions in this country and abroad, and the ways the economy affects everyone’s lives.

In the competitions, teams play the role of members of the Federal Open Market Committee, the Federal Reserve’s monetary policymaking body. They give a 20-minute presentation on monetary policy and then defend their position during a 15-minute round of intensive questioning by the judges. The teams are judged on content, teamwork, responses to questions, presentation, and style.

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