Economics Senior Spotlight - Alec Koffer, HC '13
Alec Koffer’s ‘13 first exposure to Haverford College was during his sophomore year in high school when he came to the campus for a high school track meet. He was struck by the beauty of the campus and the impressive athletic facilities. When it came time to apply to colleges, Haverford certainly offered everything he was looking for - a small liberal arts school with both a stimulating academic curriculum and a D3 sports program – a place where he could continue to be a successful student-athlete. When the track coach, Tom Donnelly, reached out to him with a very personal letter, he made the decision to apply, as did his twin brother, Jake.
Alec and Jake are Haverford track teammates and have been room-mates since freshman year. The similarities stop there; Alec is a sprinter and runs the 400 and 800 meter while Jake is a long distance runner and enjoys the 3000m and steeplecase. His brother is a chemistry major and Alec is an economics major.
Economics was not Alec’s initial plan. Initially, he was intent on majoring in chemistry and ‘just for the fun of it’ took two economics courses (Introduction to Economics and Economics of Public Health) his freshman year. During his sophomore year he took an empirical macroeconomics course and his fate was sealed. With support from the CPGC and the KINSC, in January of 2011 Alec travelled to Kenya, Africa. Through an affiliation with a pharmaceutical company, he experienced field work for the first time. He visited HIV clinics where he interviewed patients and learned about public health disparities. His expedition sparked an interest in public health economics, leading him to a thesis that combined both his economic education in the classroom and his personal hands-on experiences in Kenya.
Alec’s thesis investigates the impact of different measures of healthcare availability on educational outcomes for children ages 6-18 in Kenya. In his research, Alec specifically analyses the impact of mosquito bed nets, vaccinations, health insurance, and the distance to the nearest health facility on years of total schooling and school enrollment. He hopes that this study can be used by policy makers in developing countries to help allocate limited healthcare resources more efficiently.
Working with, and helping people, comes naturally to Alec as community service plays a big part in the Koffer family’s culture. Alec’s older brother established “Relief Pitchers”, an organization that distributes used baseball equipment, clothing, school and medical supplies to children in The Dominican Republic. Alec and Jake have made four charitable missions to Los Tres Brazos, a small community outside Santo Domingo, in 2002, 2006, 2008, and 2011.
During Alec’s summer breaks he has worked Camp Carefree, an Easter Seal summer camp for physically and mentally challenged youngsters. He has risen from Counselor to Head Counselor to Logistics Coordinator and Science Specialist. This past summer he served as Assistant Director of Programs, providing leadership in communication, esteem building, and creative production. In fact, Alec recruited Haverford chemistry professor, Alex Norquist, who made a special appearance and performed an outstanding science show for the campers!