Economics Spotlighted Student: Samantha Wetzel '18
Samantha Wetzel's '18 thesis evaluates the forecast accuracy of Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) members and their professional staffs. The FOMC uses their macroeconomic forecasts to guide policy decisions, and publishes these forecasts for the sake of transparency.
Economics major Samantha Wetzel ’18 was looking at Division I and Division II Universities, with basketball as a beacon. She also wanted to stay relatively close to her hometown of Sicklerville, New Jersey. It wasn’t until Haverford’s basketball Coach ‘Bobbi’ Morgan recruited her that Sam was introduced to Haverford College. Sam came to campus and did an overnight visit with the team and immediately knew Haverford College was the place where she could truly be the dedicated student-athlete she wanted to be.
As she entered college she had an interest in business and finance, although Haverford does not offer such programs. She took Introduction to Economics with Professor Lambie-Hanson her first semester and she hungered for more. She liked the way of thinking, the versatility, and its many applications. After taking Professor Incantalupo’s course on Statistical Methods in Economics, she nailed down her decision to declare a major in economics and a minor in statistics.
The common thread of her course work came together and solidified when she took Junior Research Seminar: The Federal Reserve with Professor Binder, and Behavioral Economics with Professor Owens. Learning to apply and administer macro-economics, micro-economics, policies, relationships, human behavior and decision making in her course work were the icing on the cake.
Sam's thesis evaluates the forecast accuracy of Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) members and their professional staffs. The FOMC uses their macroeconomic forecasts to guide policy decisions, and publishes these forecasts for the sake of transparency. The most important analysis of these forecasts was conducted in 2008 by Christina Romer and David Romer, who found that in some instances, inaccurate forecasts led to suboptimal monetary policy decisions. Sam updates this analysis to include forecasts made during the Great Recession.
Sam has applied her economics and statistics interning at various organizations. The summer after her sophomore year she was awarded a Whitehead Internship with Healthcare Improvement Foundation (HCIF), a Philadelphia based non-profit. HIF’s mission is to coordinate health care so that patients and consumer have access to better care. Sam’s role as a data analyst gave her the opportunity to identify areas of the organization that need improvement and support HCIF’s project leaders on various improvement initiatives. For example, she worked with the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, interpreting data and transforming compilations into marketable presentations used by the organization for hospital-targeted events.
This past summer she interned with Vanguard in their business division as an Investment Analyst, concentrating in retail advice methodology. She supported projects across Vanguard’s three U.S. sites to help deliver best investment guidance and thought leadership across the company and set financial advisors and their clients up for investment success. She loved the opportunity to strengthen her technical and leadership skills daily by working with both the business and investment side of the industry. It was such a great experience that she has accepted a post-graduation position with them in their two-year investment management development program. She will spend six months in four different departments, including equity; fixed income; investment strategy; and risk management. From there she will move into a permanent position.
Being involved in many activities, Sam can be seen all over campus. She is co-captain and plays forward-center on the varsity basketball team. She’s on the Joe Schwartz ’83 Memorial 3K Run/Walk Committee and works in the fitness center with Cory Walts, the Fitness Director. She has been a Teacher’s Assistant for two sections of Introduction to Economics, serves as a Peer Tutor for the Office of Academic Resources, has been a Customs Person and is a member of the Customs Committee.
Sam is always happy to share more information about her experiences and help aspiring economics majors in any way she can. She welcomes all questions!