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Lafayette received honorable mention in the five-team national final round of the Ninth Annual College Fed Challenge, held Nov. 27 in the boardroom of the Federal Reserve System’s Board of Governors in Washington, D.C.

Lafayette is the only college or university in the country to reach the national finals in each of the last four years. The College was national champion in 2009-10, placed second in 2010-11, and received honorable mention last year.

Other national finalists in the last four years include Northwestern (three times), Rutgers-Newark (3), Harvard (2), Bentley (2), Albion, American, North Carolina (Chapel Hill), Pace, and Virginia Commonwealth. Northwestern took top honors this year.

More than 100 teams throughout the country compete in the challenge through the local, regional, and national contests.

The team with Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve

The team with Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve

On Nov. 8, the College’s team won the Third District College Fed Challenge Regional Championship, which was hosted by Lafayette in conjunction with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, to advance to the national competition. The regional contest included teams from Lehigh, Gettysburg, Elizabethtown, The College of New Jersey, Delaware, Shippensburg, Ursinus, and Saint Francis.

The students on this year’s team include John Bolton ’13 (Darien, Conn.), a mathematics-economics major; Xiao Cui ’13 (Beijing, China), an economics major; Samantha Jordan ’13 (Manassas, Va.), an international economics and commerce major; Kelly Liss ’13 (Oakland, N.J.), an English and economics double major; Linh Nguyen ’14 (Hanoi, Vietnam), an economics and mathematics double major; Allyson Papageorge ’14 (New Rochelle, N.Y.), an economics major; Sicheng Wang ’14 (Mianyang, China), an electrical and computer engineering major; and Xinwei Xu ’13 (Shanghai, China), an economics and international affairs 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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