CSU Economics Celebrates 2021 Award Winners

CSU Department of Economics is proud to announce the recipients of the 2021 department awards and scholarships, as well as new inductees of the Omicron Delta Epsilon (ΟΔΕ) Economics Honor Society.

Graduate Award Winners

Dissertation Fellowships

Kit Deming

Kristopher (Kit) Deming is a 4th year Ph.D. candidate with fields in Public and Regional Economics. Specifically, Deming’s dissertation examines how the Earned Income Tax Credit impacts both contemporaneous and future entrepreneurship. His other research examines how local job turnover informs entrepreneurs and how the distribution of banks influenced the distribution of Paycheck Protection Program loans. Additionally, Deming is the Lead Research Assistant for the Regional Economic Development Institute at CSU, where he is involved with many projects focused on understanding the unique regional economies of Colorado. Deming holds a master’s from the University of Connecticut and a bachelor’s from Pacific Lutheran University.

Austin Landini

Austin Landini is a 4th year Ph.D. candidate with a research focus on demographics, public spending, and community-level economic opportunity. Landini holds an M.S. in Economics from Auburn University and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Economics from the University of Iowa. Before coming to CSU, Landini taught classes in Auburn, Iowa, and at John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. In his free time, he enjoys basketball, golf, camping, live music, and traveling.

The department awards two fellowships each year to PhD students who are working on their dissertation research. The purpose of the fellowships is to release the students from teaching obligations for a semester to allow them to accelerate their progress on their research, on a condition that students cannot pursue other paid work during the time they receive the fellowship. Recipients of the fellowship are required to submit a report at the end of the fellowship period detailing what they were able to achieve. These fellowships carry a monetary award comparable to a 2-course teaching load each, plus a partial stipend toward health insurance.   

Graduate Research Assistantship

Teresa Perry and Professor Dave Mushinski

Teresa Perry is a 4th year Ph.D. candidate with fields in health and gender economics. Her dissertation work incorporates an intersectional approach to studying addiction and substance use in economics, and she has additional projects investigating human trafficking and social media, as well as the importance of textbooks in economics. As a graduate instructor, Perry teaches intermediate macroeconomics and Gender and the Economy. In 2020, she was a teaching fellow for the AEASP Summer Program at Michigan State where she won Best Teaching Fellow for the month of July. Perry holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and mathematics from the University of California Santa Barbara.

Graduate students at any level are eligible to apply for money to support research undertaken in conjunction with a faculty member. The student and faculty member jointly apply for this research funding. The purpose of this $5,500 assistantship is to provide a student with research experience working with a faculty member with the expectation that the collaboration will result in a publishable paper. This year’s grant supports a research project by Teresa Perry and Professor Dave Mushinski to review the impact of violence on cigarette use with mental health as a mediator. 

Outstanding Graduate Researcher

Ashish Sedai

Ashish Sedai is a 4th year Ph.D. candidate with fields in Labor Economics and Development Economics. Sedai has published papers in Energy Economics, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, The Energy Journal, and Economic and Political Weekly. He will be on the job market this fall.

Sedai holds an MPhil in economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University and worked as an assistant professor of economics at the University of Delhi from 2012-2017. He has also worked as a consultant and research associate, specializing in applied economic research, for the World Bank, the United Nations ESCAP and ESCWA, JPAL-MIT, 2M Research, GTAP-Purdue University, and the Ministry of Science and Technology in India.

Each Spring, the Department makes an award to an outstanding graduate student who has demonstrated excellence in research. This award comes with a cash prize and the recipient’s name is engraved on a plaque that hangs in the Economics Department office.  

Outstanding Graduate Teacher

Kelly Lee

Kelly Lee is a 6th year Ph.D. candidate whose research focuses on the long-term economic consequences of a diagnosis of combat-related PTSD.  She is passionate about this topic because she served in the U.S. Air Force for 13 years and was deployed six times during her service.  Kelly developed and has been teaching Racial Inequality and Discrimination since Spring 2020, and she is currently helping to develop the online shell for Principles of Macroeconomics.  

Each Spring, the Department makes an award to an outstanding graduate student who has demonstrated excellence in teaching. This award comes with a cash prize and the recipient’s name is engraved on a plaque that hangs in the Economics Department office.  

L.S. & Chuen-mei Fan Graduate Scholarship

Adam Walke

Adam Walke is a 3rd year Ph.D. student whose research is currently focused on the simultaneous processes of agrarian and industrial change in North American capitalist economies. Walke holds a master’s in economics from the University of Texas at El Paso, and he previously worked as a researcher examining US-Mexico cross-border economic linkages

This scholarship is awarded to a graduate student who has passed the Ph.D. qualifying exam, in honor of L.S. and Chuen-mei Fan who taught and mentored students at CSU for over 30 years.  

Terry Ozawa Graduate Economics Fellowship

Vedanshi Nevatia

Vedanshi Nevatia is a 3rd year Ph.D. student with fields in environmental and development economics. She previously worked as a research assistant at the Economic Research Foundation in Delhi and presented her work, “Renewable Energy in Developing Countries: The Case of China” at the INET Conference in Edinburgh.  Nevatia holds a master’s degree from Jawaharlal Nehru University and a bachelor’s from Shri Ram College of Commerce, and she remains extensively involved with outreach for micro-development projects in her hometown in India.

Awarded in honor of Professor Emeritus Terry Ozawa, this fellowship benefits graduate students who have passed the Ph.D. qualifying exam, maintained a 3.0+ GPA, have presented a conference paper or participated in a graduate workshop, and are still enrolled in courses. completed all requirements for the Ph.D. in Economics. It was established with gifts from Prof. Ozawa’s former students, colleagues, and many friends in the profession.  

ΟΔΕ Best Paper Award

Brendan Brundage

Brendan Brundage is a 1st year Ph.D. student with interests in classical political economy, economic-sociology, and the history of economic thought. Originally from Florida, Brundage has an M.S. in Economics from Florida Atlantic University and a bachelor’s degree from Rollins College, where he also played baseball. In his free time, Brundage enjoys playing sports and hanging out with his dog.

Vinicius Cicero

Vinicius Cicero is a 1st year Ph.D. student interested in international economics and economic development, with focus on trade, capital flows, and uneven development between countries or regions. His current research examines the impacts that functional income distribution changes have on the volume of imports of developed and underdeveloped countries. Cicero holds a master’s degree in Economic Theory and bachelor’s degree from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil.

Each year, the department recognizes a first-year graduate student for writing an excellent paper for a course. Students submit their paper with a memo from the instructor for the course attesting to theirs being one of the best papers submitted for that course. This award has a cash prize of $500 attached to it.   

Undergraduate Awards

Outstanding Undergraduate Student

America Rios-Martinez

America Rios-Martinez (Brighton, CO) is a senior Honors Scholar graduating this spring with a triple major in Economics, Spanish, and International Studies. This fall, she will enroll at the University of Illinois for a master’s in applied economics. In 2020, she completed the Public Policy and International Affairs fellowship at Princeton University, and she has career goals to make policy recommendations on issues that affect minority groups including education, labor, health, and housing. In her time at CSU, America has also been a highly engaged student, tutoring and mentoring her peers (including serving as a Cultural Mentor to international students) and being part of the Economics Student Leadership Council.

Each year, the Undergraduate Program Committee selects the recipient of this award by inviting the 10 senior Economics majors with highest cumulative GPA to submit their resumes and a personal statement of their educational experience and personal goals.   

Alok Mehta Scholarship & Ed A. Hewett Scholarship

Uriel Bonilla

Uri Bonilla (Denver, CO) is a junior and first-generation student majoring in Economics with double minors in statistics and Spanish. Uri hopes to continue his education after graduating from CSU and eventually earn a Ph.D. in Economics. Outside of school, Uri loves to travel, spend time his friends and large family, and play the piano.

Established in 1993, this scholarship honors the memory of Ed A. Hewett, a distinguished 1964 alumnus. It is made possible by contributions from friends, faculty, staff, alumni, and the Hewett family. To be considered for the scholarship, which is open to juniors in Economics, students must maintain a 3.0+ GPA and submit an essay applying economic principles to real-world issues, preferably demonstrating an interest in global affairs.  

The Alok Mehta Charitable Trust established this endowed scholarship at CSU in honor of 2000 alumnus Alok Mehta and other victims of the 9-11-2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. The scholarship is awarded each year to an undergraduate Economics major with a minimum 3.0 GPA and demonstrated financial need, with preference given to members of the Triangle Fraternity and/or community engagement.  

Alumni Scholarship

Claire Sullivan

Claire Sullivan (Houston, Tx.) is an incoming freshman majoring in Economics. She is interested in issues of social justice and loves reading, writing, and public speaking. She has been involved in her high school’s speech and debate team for the past four years, competing on a national level and placing on a statewide level. She would love to get involved in political organizations at CSU and participate in something involving public speaking, as well. She is eager to learn about economics and plans to pursue a Master’s degree in economics after finishing undergrad.

Ben W. Garcia Economics Scholarship

Paul DeCelles

Paul DeCelles is a junior majoring in Economics with minors in history, business, and real estate.

Established in 2015, the Ben W. Garcia Economics Scholarship honors a 1984 alumnus and is awarded to a junior or senior pursuing an interdisciplinary approach to economics by using knowledge from other social science or humanities fields to help explain economic phenomena.  To be considered for the scholarship, students must be full-time and submit a paper written for an economics class that illustrates an interdisciplinary approach.  

Outstanding ΟΔΕ Undergraduate Paper

Juan Morales

Juan Morales is a junior in CSU’s Online B.A. Economics program, minoring in business administration. Juan is recognized for his paper “Democracy in the Workplace” written for ECON 202. Currently living in South Texas, Juan is from a military family and his parents are first-generation Americans. He is pursuing his degree in order to help struggling working class families like the ones he saw throughout his childhood. In his free time, Juan is working on starting a worker cooperative, raising his son, and learning as much as he can.

Each year, ODE makes $500 awards to the best undergraduate term papers written in Economics courses in the past academic year.  

ΟΔΕ (Omicron Delta Epsilon) Inductees

To be invited to become a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, a graduate student must maintain an overall GPA of 3.5.  An undergraduate student must be an economics major or minor with an overall GPA and of 3.0 or higher and have completed 12 credits of core economics theory courses with a GPA of 3.0 or above.    

This year’s inductees are:

Reilly Blakeslee

Reilly Blakeslee (Elizabeth, Colo.) is a junior in the honors program double majoring in economics and statistics with a minor in math. Reilly is active in both Undergraduate Women in Economics (UWE) and the Economics Student Leadership Council (ESLC).

Macey Dodd

Macey Dodd (Parker, Colo.) is a junior in the honors program double majoring in economics and statistics with a minor in math. Macey is active in both Undergraduate Women in Economics (UWE) and the Economics Student Leadership Council (ESLC). She aspires to go to graduate school and become an environmental economist after she leaves CSU. She enjoys cats, traveling, and skiing.

Nicholas Geyer

Nicholas Geyer (Aurora, Colo.) graduated in Fall 2020 with a degree in Economics and Business Administration with a concentration in finance.

Nishant Gokal

Nishant Gokal is a senior graduating this spring with a degree in Economics and a minor in business administration.

David Kuharski

David Kuharski is a junior majoring in Economics with a minor in business administration.

Angela Cindy Emefa Mensah

Angela Cindy Emefa Mensah is a second year Ph.D. student with fields in natural resource and environmental economics and empirical econometric analysis. She holds a MPhil in Economics from the University of Ghana and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cape Coast. Before coming to CSU, Mensah worked as a research assistant in the United Nations University’s World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) office at the University of Ghana. She is a member of the African Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (AFAERE) and Unic Network for Climate Action. She has publications in Journal of Climate and Development and the Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy.

 John Singleton

John Singleton (Oklahoma City, Okla.) is a graduate student who completed a master’s degree in Economics this spring. Singleton holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma School of Engineering, and he formerly worked as a field engineer in Kazakhstan and then in Houston, Tx., designing and building oil and gas technologies. He has contributed research to the Bell Policy Center alongside Dr. Anita Pena, and  is now pursuing a career in public policy while raising his first child with his partner Lindsey.

Mya Wilson

Mya Wilson (Duxbury, Vermont) is a senior graduating with a degree in Economics with a minor in business administration. As the outgoing President of CSU’s Undergraduate Women in Economics (UWE) chapter, Mya is a champion for social, racial, and economic justice and hopes to continue to advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in her future career. In her free time, she enjoys painting, reading, and spending time outdoors.