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Spotlighted Student: Ryan Fackler, 2011

Ryan Fackler first heard of Haverford College from a summer camp counselor as Ryan ‘11 wrapped up his last year at middle school in Baltimore, MD. While the camp counselor’s (Jesse Odunne’06) exact words have been long forgotten, he influenced and impacted Ryan’s decision to apply to, and ultimately attend, Haverford. Fellow classmate and English major, Thea Hogarth ’11, who attended the same summer camp, also recalls Jesse Odunne’s discussions of Haverford.

As he entered college Ryan anticipated majoring in Romance Languages, but quickly realized that this decision would essentially require him to major in English, simply in a foreign language. As such, instead of Romance Languages, Ryan enrolled in three economics courses over his Freshmen year: Introduction to Microeconomics, Introduction to Macroeconomics and a 200 level course on India and China. Not only did he do exceptionally well in those courses, he also developed a true liking for the subject. At the same time as his interest in Economics developed, so too did an interest in Mathematics and Statistics. These dual passions led to his decision to double major in Economics and Mathematics, two fields whose paths are intertwined.

Ryan currently serves on pivotal campus committees including the Administrative Advisory Committee, the Committee on Student Standings and Programs, and the Education Policy Committee. Serving on these committees demonstrates one of the key Haverford College components that Ryan appreciates - approachability and accessibility of faculty and senior staff. As an example of this openness, Stephen Emerson frequently holds office hours for students - a practice that is not typical of college presidents.

During the summer of his freshman year Ryan worked in Congress with the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, an experience he found particularly rewarding. While working for the Committee, he researched topics and provided Members of Congress with preparatory materials for hearings, and he wrote floor speeches and the text of minor bills.

During the summers of his Sophomore and Junior years, Ryan worked as a research assistant for Economics Professors Saleha Jilani and David Owens, respectively. In fact his thesis topic is a continuation of the work he and Professor Owens have been exploring. They are collaborating with Professor Grossman at UC Santa Barbara analyzing and quantifying individuals' "desire for control." This research derives from an intuition suggesting that (all other things being equal) people generally prefer to control a situation rather than "give up control" to someone else. Their hypothesis is that this "desire to control" is substantial and exists even when all else is not equal. In fact, they hypothesize that individuals will, on average, be willing to pay to control a situation, which they call a "Control Premium." This research has direct application, most directly with task delegation. If, for example, managers at companies have large Control Premiums, this would indicate significant mis-allocation of time and resources. At the economy wide scale, if significant Control Premiums are wide-spread, this could imply that large inefficiencies exist.

Ryan relishes spending his winter and spring breaks in Jackson, Wyoming snowboarding. He also revels in rock-climbing, and hopes to earn his paragliding license in the near future.

Immediately following graduation he plans to accrue more experience by again working with Congress. Then he will enroll in an economics graduate school program where he will also earn a law degree.

Students cross in front of Founders Hall.

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