Dan Sacks '08
Dan Sacks '08 Wins NSF Graduate Fellowship
Dan Sacks ’08’s dream of graduate school is becoming a reality. In the fall, he’ll attend the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, with help from his recently awarded 2009 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Fellowship. Awarded annually, the Fellowships support outstanding students in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines.
An economics and history major at Haverford, Sacks plans to earn a Ph.D. in applied economics and will pursue a project focused on disability insurance in the United States. “Since the 80s, enrollment in disability insurance has been growing, and now it pays out about $100 billion a year,” says Sacks, who currently works as a research assistant for MIT health insurance economist Amy Finkelstein. “I’m interested in more effective disability insurance programs overall—ones that identify people who are legitimately disabled as well as those who are not.”
Sacks’ Haverford adviser, Professor of Economics Anne Preston, encouraged Sacks to apply for the NSF fellowship. “Of the undergraduate economics students that I have encountered throughout my career, Dan stands out in terms of his passion for the [subject],” says Preston. “He was constantly reading in the field and was a great research assistant since he was always bringing me new material related to our projects.” Sacks collaborated with Preston on several projects, including a study of why nonprofit employees are paid less than their for-profit peers and an experiment to test a hypothesis about altruism.
“The more I worked with him, the more I saw incredible potential,” says Preston. “I have no doubt that he has a bright future as an economist ahead of him.”