Economics Senior Spotlight - Matthew Mazewski, HC '13
As a student at West Morris Central in Chester, NJ, Matthew Mazewski ’13 attended a high school with a population roughly the size of Haverford’s. This fact heavily influenced his college search, and when he did an overnight visit at Haverford he was charmed by the campus setting, small class sizes, and the accessibility of the faculty.
Math has played a significant role in Matt’s academic life since sixth grade, when he was placed into an accelerated math program in middle school. During his senior year in high school he enrolled in an Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate economics class. As a result, economics overtook math as his primary academic interest. Nevertheless, his recognition that a strong math background bolsters the study of economics led to his decision to major in both subjects at Haverford. Professor Vladimir Kontorovich’s classes on the Soviet system, law and economics, and intermediate microeconomic analysis are highlights of Matt’s economics curriculum.
As a double major, Matt will be writing a joint thesis in math and economics. He is working on developing a mathematical model of religious conversion that can be used to better understand what causes religious organizations to either flourish or decline over time. His project draws on a strand of literature known as the “theory of religious economies,” which applies economic notions like supply and demand to the study of religion so as to gain insight into how different sects and denominations compete for adherents and how individuals seeking a religious affiliation choose from among the options available to them.
Internships have played an important role in Matt’s college career. As a rising sophomore he worked at the circulation desk at his hometown library. During the summer before his junior year he was hired as a research assistant to Economics Professor Saleha Jilani. Building on Elizabeth Zoidis’s ‘11 thesis, they explored the topic of worker protection legislation in the European Union. He also worked as a research assistant with Economics Professor Richard Ball during the spring 2012 semester studying social norms and economic development.
This past summer he interned at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. As an undergraduate analyst in the Research Group, he assisted an economist with projects related to the “stress testing” of large banks and financial institutions. As required by new financial regulations implemented after the 2008-09 economic crisis, the Federal Reserve performs annual analyses to understand how the largest banks would perform in the event of another downturn. If a bank shows signs of potential weakness, the Fed has the authority to require it to take steps to ensure its stability.
Following graduation, Matt will continue with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for two years as a research assistant. He later plans to earn a PhD in economics, ideally at a university on the East Coast.
Matt is currently serving on the search committee for the tenure-track faculty position in the department of economics. He is also a member of the Haverford-Bryn Mawr Chorale, led by Professor of Music Thomas Lloyd, and he is is co-head of the Student Political Network, a campus organization that promotes political dialogue, encourages students to register to vote, and provides transportation to the polls on Election Day.