Duke Economics Celebrates the Class of 2017

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Department of Economics recognized graduates of the class of 2017 at the its annual Graduation Recognition Ceremony in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Sunday, May 14. This year members of the faculty presented diplomas to 16 Ph.D. graduates, 83 M.A. Economics graduates, nine M.S. Statistical and Economic Modeling graduates, six M.S. Economics and Computation graduates, and 230 graduates with an economics major.

Speaking on behalf of the department, Professor James Roberts stressed the importance of staying connected to the Duke Economics community after graduation. 

“You have a natural kinship with many around you that can last a lifetime if you allow it to,” he said. “This connection is real. And you can foster it by remaining in contact, showing up at alumni events, and engaging in collective prayer that Coach K never retires.”

Roberts also urged to treat their academic pedigree as a privilege and a shared responsibility, and to pay it forward. “Being a Duke Econ graduate means something … And now you are expected to help pave the way for future generations of Duke Econ students by demonstrating excellence on a daily basis in your future careers. When a future Duke Econ student is looking for a mentor, answer that call.

Senior Chidinma Hannah Nnoromele, who graduated with an economics major and psychology minor, was selected to be the student speaker. Standing before the class of 2017, she reminded graduates that in order to fully appreciate their successes, they must not to overlook the struggles they have faced — and overcome. 

“As a daughter of Nigerian immigrants who grew up in small-town Kentucky, to many, my ambition to study economics at Duke University was thought of as simply unrealistic. Economics has not always been a field characterized by diversity; so, I am especially grateful for those professors who supported me and encouraged me to be even more ambitious than I was when I first stepped foot into the Social Sciences Building. We students are blessed to have been taught and mentored by such accomplished faculty who are so heavily interested in seeing us succeed,” she said. 

Nnoromele called upon her fellow graduates to recognize the value of a Duke Economics education, one that is characterized by interdisciplinarity and innovation, and to be active in maximizing its value: “Use your understanding to seek solutions to problems that can improve human lives. Challenge faulty assumptions that lead to injustices in the world. Create opportunities for others as you climb on your path towards success.”

Master’s Awards

Duke Department of Economics Master’s Program Award for Academic Excellence
Chenyu Wang and Xirui Zhang

Undergraduate Awards

The following Allen Starling Johnson, Jr. Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Research allow for recognition of those outstanding students whose work stands out among the 31 honors students this year.

Best Honors Thesis
Zachary Lim, Gerald Tan, and Jackie Xiao
“Structural Estimation of FCC Bidder Valuation”

Best Honors Thesis Finalist
Sachet Bangia

Outstanding Symposium Presentation
Kai Yu Lee

Outstanding Honors Poster, Faculty Vote
Tie: Jiakun Xu, Shiv Gidumal, and Roland Muench

Outstanding Honors Poster, Student Vote
​Ricardo Martinez-Cid and Gonzalo Pernas 

Class of 2017 Award for Exceptional Growth in the Mastery of Economics
​Ibanca Anand