First Annual Women in Economics Distinguished Speaker Panel Hosted by Undergraduate Students in Economics

Students in the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics hosted the first “Women in Economics Distinguished Speaker Panel” on November 12, 2022.

The panel consisted of four leading professional women in economics, including: Dr. Kristin Butcher, Vice President and Director of Microeconomic Research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; Marie Winters, one of Crain’s Notable Women in Finance and the former Senior Vice President & Co-Head of Corporate Fixed Income Research at Northern Trust Asset Management; Lisa Emerick, Vice President, Chief Marketing and Engagement Officer at The Economic Club of Chicago, an early-stage investor, and member of the Chicago Network; and Dr. Gina Pieters, Assistant Instructional Professor at the University of Chicago and an honorary non-visiting Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance.

Students in the department, Eva Haque and Alejandra Hardin, moderated questions and the discussion with panelists. Discussion centered around the speakers’ backgrounds and experiences, their academic and career journeys, and their perspectives as women in their respective fields.

Conference room with four female panelists, sitting in lounge chairs

Pictured from left to right: Event organizer Alejandra Hardin, Marie Winters, Dr. Kristin Butcher, Lisa Emerick, Gina Pieters, and event organizer Eva Haque participate in a Panel Discussion in Saieh Hall. 

This event was the first in-person convening of Undergraduate Women in Economics following its founding five years ago, prior to the pandemic. While the target audience was young undergraduate women interested in the fields of economics, business, and finance, invitations were also extended to all economics students in the college and graduate schools. Gina Pieters connected student organizers with speakers to help plan the event.

According to Haque, “This event was not only very informational but incredibly inspirational and uplifting. As undergraduates we received strong professional and personal advice from women at the top of several sectors within economics and finance, who created a welcoming and motivating environment to ask honest questions and discuss difficult subjects such as discrimination.”

This event was not only very informational but incredibly inspirational and uplifting. As undergraduates we received strong professional and personal advice from women at the top of several sectors within economics and finance, who created a welcoming and motivating environment to ask honest questions and discuss difficult subjects such as discrimination.

The goal of the event was that students “walked away with a better understanding of careers in research, academia, and the private sector, gained academic clarity, and attained a feeling of empowerment.” The field of economics has a known gender disparity, also reflected in the economic faculty and programs at UChicago. The Women in Economics Recognized Student Organization aims to bridge this gap and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the academic and professional world.

While the department has organized a “Women in Economics” event for graduate students and faculty in the past, this event was the first of its kind in the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics organized by and for students, and the aim is to continue the panel speaker series moving forward.

Haque and Hardin shared, “We would like to express our appreciation for the lovely professional women who joined our event to speak to us and the students who came prepared with curiosity and admiration.”

 

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