Department Welcomes 12 New Ph.D. Students

Friday, August 4, 2017

There is no surer sign that summer is winding down than the arrival of new students. For faculty and staff here in the Department of Economics, this coincides with the Ph.D. student orientation.

This morning Director of Graduate Studies Curtis Taylor welcomed a dozen Ph.D. students on behalf of the department. Selected from a pool of 738 applicants, the cohort comprises five women and seven men who collectively hail from six countries: Argentina, China, Italy, Japan, South Korea, and the United States. 

Though they are strangers now, they will soon forge strong relationships as they navigate the trials and tribulations of the first year together — starting with math camp. On Monday, the first-year students begin the three-week-long intensive course that covers topics such as real analysis, linear algebra, optimization, and probability.

“Math camp provides an opportunity for you to determine whom you work well with and whom you can learn from,” said rising third-year Andrea Kiss, who attended the orientation as a member of the student Q&A panel.

Taylor, who co-teaches the first-year microeconomics sequence, equally stressed the importance of such relationships, citing his own longstanding friendships with members from his first year in graduate school. "It takes an economist to understand an economist," he said.

Taylor also provided an overview of the first year, from core courses in econometrics, macroeconomics, and microeconomics to the first-year research seminar. But, Taylor assured — perhaps to the relief of the first-years — there is life beyond problem sets and study groups.

Notwithstanding the rigorous course load, he encouraged students to budget time for non-academic pursuits. “I used to tell students to focus only on their studies, but not anymore. I think it’s a good idea to pursue some interests. If you want to go to the gym, go to the gym,” he said. “This is an exciting first step toward the rest of your careers and lives. You need to watch out for your mental and physical health during this journey, too.”