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Economics Senior Spotlight - Roxanne Jaffe '12

Growing up in State College, PA, home of Penn State University, Roxanne Jaffe ’12 knew a large university was not the college experience she was seeking. She wanted to be near a city and have a small, liberal arts college experience. After many campus visits throughout the country Roxanne chose Haverford College for an over-night visit with the field hockey team. The immediate impression she got was that everyone was “happy” and everyone had “a place.” The students melded and blended well, whether they were an athlete or an artist, a scientist or a poet. High school wasn’t like that, and Haverford was clearly different.

 

Haverford met her expectations. The student body continues to surprise her with their academic prowess. As she put it “Everyone is so smart!” And there is not a distasteful competitive atmosphere; in fact it’s the opposite, it’s a supportive environment.

 

Roxanne will graduate in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Economics with a Concentration in Mathematical Economics, and a minor from Bryn Mawr College in Film Studies. Math has always been one of her favorite subjects so when she took an economics course her senior year of high school she savored the combination of real world applications of math. She also enjoyed a statistics course during her senior year in high school, which she increasingly finds valuable in economics.

 

Economics Professor Anne Preston’s success as a woman in academia has served as a strong role model for Roxanne. Prof. Preston introduced Roxanne to macroeconomics and its approach to math, as well as the interconnectedness of microeconomics and macroeconomics. In Prof. Preston’s class, she wrote her first economics research paper, on The Great Depression, which highlighted the unique “economic way of thinking.”

 

Roxanne has enriched her college experience every summer by engaging in volunteer work, taking classes abroad, and working as an intern. As a rising sophomore she spent the summer abroad in Florence, Italy at The Institute at Palazzo Rucellai. She chose to study Renaissance Art and Italian Cinema. Her experience with Italian cinema solidified her decision to earn a Minor in Film Studies.

 

The following summer Roxanne took a math class at Penn State while also volunteering at an adult literacy program. She tutored students in preparation for the GED exam, and also managed and ran a mathematics tutoring lab. Later in that year she spent her spring semester of her Junior year in Prague, Czech Republic, where she attended Collegium Hieronymi Pragensis. She found the Czech language extremely challenging, but discovered that most Czech people appreciated her efforts to speak their language.

 

This past summer she interned as an analyst in Washington, DC at Charles River Associates (CRA). CRA is an economic consulting firm that offers a variety of services world-wide. Initially she felt intimidated by a number of her coworkers, but as she learned the lay of the land, she came to understand her own as well as her co-workers’ strengths and specialties. She learned that the younger, greener employees were great with data and analysis, while the senior, more seasoned employees understood the bigger picture.

 

Roxanne has many hobbies and interests outside of academics. Growing-up, she played a number of sports but eventually chose field hockey as her specialty. She continued to play field hockey through high school and has been a sweeper on Haverford’s Varsity Team since her freshman year. She loves the team, the camaraderie, and the friends she has made through the sport. She also plays on the squash team; founded Haverford’s Movie Club (with a foreign film theme); and serves as a peer math tutor.

 

For her thesis, Roxanne will explore foreign film revenues around the world.  For instance, what types of variables seem to best explain foreign film revenues from country to country?  Does a country's film industry, economic environment, or culture, affect the success of international movies in each country?  In particular, she hopes to identify the cultural variables that have the most significant impact on foreign film revenue.

 

Following graduation, Roxanne plans to return to CRA as an analyst in the company’s Financial-Economics practice. After a few years of work experience she envisions herself enrolling in a PhD program related to Mathematical Economics, with the ultimate goal of becoming a college professor.

The ramp from Magill Library with Ryan Gym and Sharpless Hall in the background.

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