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Spotlighted Student: Daniel Weaver '11

Having a brother at Swarthmore College, a close family friend at Bryn Mawr College, and a father who attended Haverford College (R. Kent Weaver, Political Science ’75) accorded Daniel Weaver ’11 plenty of familiarity with the Tri-Co community and what it has to offer.

Daniel applied to a number of colleges all of which were quite large, except for Haverford. Haverford’s small size was appealing, and after he visited he decided it was the right choice for him.

He originally planned on enrolling in the 3/2 Engineering Program where he would have taken courses at Haverford for three years, followed by two years of engineering study at our partner institution, Caltech. However, with strength and interest in economic issues, quantitative methods and numerical computing, he decided to declare his major in economics. After enjoying Linear Algebra and Real Analysis, two of his favorite classes at Haverford, he decided to include a concentration in mathematical economics. He also follows in his father’s footsteps by majoring in political science.

As a double major, Daniel opted to submit a thesis for both departments rather than write a joint thesis. His thesis in Political Science does have some economics cross over, with enough econometrics to be an economics thesis but with voting as his response variable. His economics thesis examines the effect of employment opportunities on propensity to commit crime. He is attempting to find out whether unemployment and crime are substitutes or complements, which depends on the interaction between propensity and opportunity to commit crime.

He has looked at unemployment and crime rates aggregated at the state and metropolitan statistical area (MSA) level. Since unemployment is endogenous, he is using an instrument for unemployment: the predicted change in unemployment in the aggregated area in question by changes in the national trends of the industry mix in the area, combining two exogenous variables to form a predictor for unemployment.

Daniel has had diverse summer experiences. The summer following his freshman year he worked for Rob Richie ’87 (Philosophy major), Executive Director of Washington, DC based FairVote. FairVote is a non-profit organization interested in voter turn-out and fair representation. During his time there, Daniel projected the impact of changes to the electoral system proposed by FairVote and on affects civic engagement. He also analyzed precinct data to examine the effect of Cincinnati’s electoral system on racial representation.

The summer after his sophomore year he worked in Washington, DC at American Planning Association (APA) in their ‘Great Places Program’. While there he developed a program that honors and awards organizations showing excellence in planning and zoning. Not only did he develop the program’s award benchmark but he also prepared the recommendation list for organizations being considered for the award. An added component to this job was to develop and maintain the APA’s website.

During the summer following his junior year Daniel was employed by the Washington, DC based Brookings Institution. While there he worked on policy research, helping with literature reviews and data analysis for various projects on metropolitan economies. A few highlights of his job included his work on a report on boosting US exports and research on metropolitan industry agglomeration.

Upon graduation he has secured a job with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. where he will be doing programming in statistical packages and doing research relating to domestic social policy. While working at Mathematica he hopes to take courses at a nearby university in advanced econometrics, computer science, and additional proof-based mathematics classes, including mathematical logic. After two or three years of work experience he anticipates entering a PhD program in Economics with plans to enter academia.

Daniel has been a member of the Ultimate Frisbee Club since freshman year and was Captain of the team until his thesis workload forced him to take time off from the team. He also served on Political Science’s search committee for the new tenure line faculty position. He’s written for the Bi-co news and is an accomplished tennis player. Ultimately, though, his most treasured activity is backpacking, including an annual backpacking trip to the Monongahela National Forest’s Dolly Sods Park where he hikes along the Red Creek and fights his way through thick rhododendron.

The Strawbridge Observatory at Haverford College houses 12-inch and 16-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes which are actively used by students in Haverford astronomy classes.

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