Economics Spotlighted Student: Max Mondress '23
Max explores the impact of student debt on labor-market decision-making.
Prompted by his father to participate in a broad college search, Max Mondress ’23 parted his Olympia, Washington home and traveled to the east coast to tour the University of Pennsylvania and Swarthmore College. He decided to add Haverford College to his schedule, after which he had a very positive admissions interview and campus tour. He saw himself living and learning at Haverford, and he promptly wrote his application essay saying Haverford was the first school where he “felt at home.”
Although Max took economics in high school and didn’t like it much, he ended up taking Introduction to Economics with Prof. Saleha Jilani in the first semester of his first year because it fit his schedule well. Studying Political Science had been his primary objective. Still, after talking with Prof. Jilani about an economics major, what it’s like, and how it segues into career paths, he changed his plans. As he progressed through the major, he became more enamored with the heavy mathematical components of the discipline. Prof. Giri Parameswaran’s Microeconomics class was inspirational, and was well complemented by Prof. Robert Manning’s Linear Optimization cross-listed (Math-Econ) class. Max will also graduate with a mathematics major at Bryn Mawr College.
Prof. Michael Levere’s Junior Research Seminar on Labor Economics was transformative for Max. The collaborative classroom discussions on a myriad of published papers were fascinating and thought-provoking. The class influenced his thesis topic, where he “explores the impact of student debt on labor-market decision-making. In particular, [Max looks] at the effects of loans on wages and employment patterns over time. It's a topical question as loan forgiveness is discussed in the political arena, especially as most debates center on moral arguments. It turns out that student lending is distorting the labor market. [Max’s] findings show that individuals with more debt will end up in lower-paying jobs and work longer than their indebted peers.”
As Editor and Chief of The Haverford Clerk, Max directed a staff of 30 student journalists running the student newspaper. As a Sophomore, he had biweekly meetings with the President of the College to discuss COVID protocols. Max quickly learned that students are invited and welcomed to participate in the College’s operations. However, he is proudest of his role as Customs Co-Head. It was gratifying and meant a lot to be in a position where he could do ‘real work’ making students feel as welcome as he did his first year.
Max will attend Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, CA, where he will acquire a Master’s Degree in Finance through the Robert Day Scholars Program. Congratulations Max!