Samantha Wetzel ’18 Publishes With Assistant Professor of Economics Carola Binder
The economics major and her thesis advisor collaborated to publish a portion of Wetzel’s thesis research in peer-reviewed journal Economics Letters.
For every Haverford senior, the thesis process represents the culmination of undergraduate study in their chosen discipline, and completion of this in-depth research always marks an occasion worth celebrating. But for economics major Samantha Wetzel ’18, writing her thesis also created an opportunity to see her name in a prestigious publication.
Wetzel and her advisor, Assistant Professor of Economics Carola Binder, compiled the most impactful portions of Wetzel’s thesis and submitted the article to Economics Letters, an online journal dedicated to publishing high-caliber, peer-reviewed economic research findings. Binder and Wetzel are credited as co-authors of the submission.
Wetzel’s thesis research and publication focuses on the forecasts made by the Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC), a group that makes monetary policy decisions in the United States, and the consequences of FOMC members infusing their own judgement and opinions into the forecasts made by their staff.
As for how the two decided to pursue publication of this research, Binder said, their combined interest in the subject matter led to a fruitful mentorship that blossomed into co-authorship.
"Samantha came up with her research question on a topic that really interests me—monetary policy and how central banks make forecasts,” said Binder. “At one point, I realized that her results were important and interesting enough that they ought to be published, so that's when I suggested we work in co-authoring a journal article.”
"I have worked with Professor Binder since junior year when I took her ‘Junior Research Seminar’ on the Federal Reserve, and the topic of my final paper [in that course] sparked my thesis research,” said Wetzel. “In every moment that I have collaborated with her, she has taught me how to be more ambitious, creative, and rigorous in my research.”
A four-year member and two-year captain of the women’s basketball team, Wetzel knows the importance of teamwork and communication on the court and in the classroom.
"As a collaborator, Professor Binder truly felt like a teammate,” Wetzel said. “She always provided me constructive feedback on how to enhance my methodology or write a more precise narrative, but she also asked for my feedback on her work.”
For Binder, while Wetzel’s research is the first published article she has co-authored with a student, it is not the first time she has served in the role of collaborator. Binder and Alex Rodrigue ’17 have a co-authored paper accepted (though not yet published) in Southern Economic Journal, titled “Household Informedness and Long-Run Inflation Expectations: Experimental Evidence,” based on Rodrigue’s thesis.
"The most rewarding part of being a thesis advisor is seeing students achieve something beyond what they thought they could accomplish,” said Binder. “It seems so daunting to conduct original research, and students always run into challenges that seem insurmountable at the time, but they eventually overcome them and realize just how much they are capable of. I hope I have helped students learn perseverance and self confidence.”
Now a young alumna, Wetzel is now beginning a career in Vanguard’s Investment Management Group as an employee in their two-year Investment Management Development Program while studying to obtain her Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification.
"Vanguard’s Investment Methodology Group stresses the importance of analytical skills, relationships, and leadership, and I plan to apply the foundation built from the senior thesis to conducting economic research at Vanguard that continues to fulfill the company’s mission of giving all investors the best chance for investment success,” she said.
For Wetzel, this publication with her mentor is a marker of success and a signal of future promise and opportunities in the financial field and affirms the best aspects of her undergraduate experience at Haverford.
"To me, this thesis publication reflects the guidance and dedication professors and the Haverford community constantly provides its undergraduates and the strength the senior thesis project has in contributing to students’ intellectual and individual growth,” she said. “Through large group discussions, smaller group presentations, one-on-one advisory meetings, and conversations with my classmates outside of the classroom, I learned from the theoretical and technical knowledge those around me possessed to inform my thesis and advance my own research abilities as a scholar.”