News & Updates

Congratulations to Jerfenson Cerda Mejia and Sharlyne Cabral!

The 2019 Financial Literacy Challenge winners circle – see more photos of the Challenge here; The next challenge will be held on December 5, 2020

Congratulations to Jerfenson Cerda Mejia and Sharlyne Cabral who placed in the top ten in the 2020 CFA Society of Pittsburgh Financial Plan Competition!  These two first prize winners in this year’s Financial Literacy Competition in December went on to compete with 200 students from colleges and universities throughout Pennsylvania!

The CFA Society of Pittsburgh Collegiate Personal Financial Planning Competition is available to students from Pennsylvania’s academic institutions. Each student enters a financial plan that serves as a road map to help students plan for and achieve their financial goals. Through this program, the CFA Society of Pittsburgh hopes to help students take ownership of their financial future.

Gene Natali, CFA, CEO & Cofounder of Troutwood commented, “This year’s CFASP collegiate financial plan competition was extremely difficult to grade.  This is because ALL of the financial plans submitted were exceptional!  Every student that went through this effort will likely be better off because of it. Congratulations Jerfenson and Sharlyne on a job well done.  Now go do it!”

Jerfenson and Sharlyne were winners in the December 2019 Financial Literacy Challenge.  The Financial Literacy Challenge is a competition in which students develop and present a personal financial budget and investing plan appropriate for life after graduation. The competition is open to all Allegheny students, however participation in the challenge is a mandatory assignment for students taking ECON 010 – Financial Literacy. There are $5,000 in prizes and trophies awarded to student winners. The next competition will be held on December 5, 2020

The Bruce R. Thompson Center for Business & Economics attracts Allegheny’s next generation of business innovators and entrepreneurs by providing a host of co-curricular activities that connect with and deepen their classroom experiences.


Meet The Fellows: Shannon Putnam ’20

Shannon Putnam '20Shannon will graduate this year as an Economics major and Education Studies minor after serving as a Fellow her senior year. What’s it like to serve the Business & Economics department as a Fellow?  Here’s what Shannon had to say:

“Having the opportunity to be a Fellow as played a major impact on my senior year at Allegheny. It has allowed me to create stronger connections with everyone within Quigley Hall which has become like a home to me over the past four years. Being a Fellow has also vastly improved my networking, public speaking, and time management skills. Being a Fellow is something that has made my Allegheny career so special and I will look back on this time with great fondness. ”

The Bruce R. Thompson Center for Business and Economics Fellows are a select group of motivated students that function as a leadership team to support CBE programming and act as student ambassadors.

Celebrating 2020 Graduates in Economics

As the spring semester comes to a close, we are pleased congratulate the class of 2020.  Department Chair, Dr. Stephen Onyeiwu expressed these best wishes on behalf of the faculty and staff of the Center for Business & Economics, “We are very delighted you made it, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19. You’re truly a resilient and an indefatigable class. Congratulations!”

Ben Bachik Trevor Day Andrew Kirn Taylor Renk
Rafael Balanquet Garrett Fenton Sungho Lee Carlos Sanchez
Michael Bartley Christian Geer Nicole Luoma Haley Seifert
Matthew Bauer Gillian Greene Matt Massucci Jared Shaw
Autumn Bicko Austin Hoyt Ermona Michael Hailey Shull
Emma Black Ukasha Javed Ryan Miller Scott Steiner
Cassie Brown Justin Katchur Rachel Montgomery Anh Ta
Zack Casagrande Sean Kealey John Nagel Graham Tufts
Moises Colomer Jacqueline Kelley-Cogdell Brendan O’Toole Brendon Urso
Robert Crowe Bret Kelly Zack Pateras Andrew Vincent
Fabian Cuen Camacho Omar Khan Shannon Putnam Liam Wilby

Meet the Fellows – Trevor Day ’20

Trevor Day '20Trevor will graduate this year as an Economics major and  Communication Arts minor after serving as a Fellow for two years.  What’s it like to serve the Business & Economics department as a Fellow?  Here’s what Trevor had to say:

“The CBE Fellowship has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my college career. The CBE has given me not only the experience, but the confidence to interact with alumni and faculty in a professional manner. The Economics Department and the CBE are two of the things I will miss the most as I graduate, but I know that I will be successful no matter where my career takes me due to my experiences as a Fellow.”

The Bruce R. Thompson Center for Business and Economics Fellows are a select group of motivated students that function as a leadership team to support CBE programming and act as student ambassadors.

Celebrating 2020 Student Honors in Economics

Bruce R. Thompson Center for Business & EconomicsThis spring, we honor the 2020 Bruce R. Thompson Center for Business & Economics students who have earned honors in the field of economics.   The honors designation is awarded to students whose exemplary performance in academics distinguishes them as young professionals as they graduate and move on to their next great adventure.

According to Stephen Onyeiwu, Ph.D., Department Chair, ”the Economics Department awards honors to students who have earned a minimum GPA of 3.5 in Economics, and at least a B+ in both the senior project and senior seminar plus an A- in one of these two. These are very high standards, and the department is delighted that a large number of the class of 2020 have received honors in Economics. Congratulations to our honorees for their stellar accomplishments, and we wish them success in their future endeavors.”

The following  class of 2020 students have earned the department’s special honors:

The Prize of Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants is awarded for excellence in accounting studies. This prize is awarded to Keith Irvin ‘20.

The Economics Senior Project Prize is awarded for the best senior project assigned annually by the Department of Economics to encourage understanding and good scholarship.  This prize is awarded to Jacqueline Kelley-Cogdell ’20.

The Graduate Student’s Prize in Economics  is awarded to seniors whose achievement has been outstanding, and whose promise as a graduate student is substantial. This prize is awarded to both Matt Massucci ’20 and Graham Tufts ’20.

The Outstanding Achievement Prize in Economics is given to seniors with an outstanding record in economics and their positive contribution to the vitality of the department. This prize is awarded to both Emma Black ’20 and Jacqueline Kelley-Cogdell ’20.

The Outstanding Junior Major Prize is awarded for exceptional academic achievement, performance in the seminar, and their positive contribution to the vitality of the department.  This prize is awarded to Rachel Tobler ’21.

The following Senior projects have earned Honors recognition:

Rafael Balanquet “The Effect of the Slope of the Treasury Yield Curve on Private Nonresidential Fixed Investment in the United States’ Economy”
Matthew Bauer “The Influence of the Tobacco Industry on State Legislatures’ Tobacco Control Laws”
Autumn Bicko (Sliker-Parker) “The Failing Market of the Education System Under School Choice”
Emma  Black “The Effects of Female Representation on the Gender Wage Gap”
Trevor Day “Stock Market Seasonality: An Empirical Analysis Using the CAPM”
Christian Geer “Exploring the Predictive Power of Twitter Sentiment on Stock Price Movements”
Gillian Greene “Reliable Recipients? When Rent-Seeking Behaviors Complicate Counterterrorism Efforts”
Ukasha Javed “Determinants of Economic Growth In Developing and Developed Countries”
Sean Kealey “The Driving Forces Behind Mergers, Acquisitions and Joint Ventures Between Macrobrewers in the 21st Century”
Jacqueline Kelley-Cogdell “The Economic Impacts of Rural Public Transportation”
Bret Kelly “The Impacts of Ethics on Principal-Agent Problems  and Corporate Performance”
Matt Massucci “An Analysis of the Change in the Market Structure of the Tooling and Machining Industry in Crawford County, Pennsylvania”
John Nagel “Potential Factors that Impact Hotel Revenue in Belize”
Haley Seifert “Does Knowing a Second Language Affect Income?”
Anh Ta “The Road to Zero: Regulating Carbon Emissions”
Liam Wilby “An Empirical Investigation into England National Sporting Teams Impact on the FTSE100 Market Index”
Graham Tufts “Nothing New Under the Sun: The Origins and Effects of the Chicago Boys Neoliberalism”

Congratulations to these outstanding students! #AlleghenyStrong

The Bruce R. Thompson Center for Business & Economics attracts Allegheny’s next generation of business innovators and entrepreneurs by providing a host of co-curricular activities that connect with and deepen their classroom experiences. 

Meet The Fellows:  Emma Black ‘20

Emma Black '20, CBE FellowEmma will graduate this year as an Economics Major and German minor after serving as a Fellow for two years.  What’s it like to serve the Business & Economics department as a Fellow?  Here’s what Emma had to say:

“Being a CBE Fellow gave me the opportunity to expand upon my relationships in the department with professors and students, which made my four years at Quigley Hall much more meaningful. I also was able to improve my networking, public speaking, and event planning skills alongside the other fellows who made the experiences so enjoyable.”

The Bruce R. Thompson Center for Business and Economics Fellows are a select group of motivated students that function as a leadership team to support CBE programming and act as student ambassadors.

Allegheny Students Earn Bloomberg Certification

Students with Bloomberg Certifications Have a Competitive Edge in Rapidly Changing Economy

Typical Bloomberg Terminal
Typical Bloomberg Terminal

During the spring 2020 semester, Assistant Professors Timothy Bianco and Michael Michaelides launched a new course, Introduction to Bloomberg Terminals.  This course is an interactive introduction to financial market analysis using a mix of Bloomberg modules and in-class software-based exercises. Students are exposed to key properties of financial data and applications to prepare for careers in financial institutions.

The first group of Allegheny College students who completed the course earned their Bloomberg certification in the Center for Business and Economics Bloomberg Lab.  The Bloomberg Market Concepts (BMC) is a course that provides an interactive introduction to the financial markets. BMC consists of 3 sections — Core Concepts (includes four modules – Economic Indicators, Currencies, Fixed Income, Equities), Getting Started on the Terminal and Portfolio Management. 

According to Gene Natali ‘01, CFA, CEO and Co-founder of Troutwood, a financial services and technology company,  “I am pleased to see the College’s inclusion of this important certification!  Efforts like this help to differentiate students pursuing internships and graduates looking for that first job.  Great work to Allegheny and to all faculty involved in making this happen. Most importantly, congratulations to the 19 participating students!

These students can now use their certificates to demonstrate market and industry knowledge that will give them the edge in the competitive job market: 

Lancaster Wu, Matt Massucci, Shannon Putnam, Alexander Lawson, Christian Geer, Rafael Balanquet, Trevor Day, Victoria Vradenburg, Anh Ta, Kevin Lee, Rachel Tobler, Alex Abadi, Samantha Valera, Robert Crowe, Emma Black, Logan Zorilla, Daeson Gibbs, Andrew Ferguson, and Cheyenne Wilson.

Reference:  Top Ten Student Uses; A Bloomberg Professional Offering

The Bruce R. Thompson Center for Business & Economics attracts Allegheny’s next generation of business innovators and entrepreneurs by providing a host of co-curricular activities that connect with and deepen their classroom experiences. 


Zingale Big Idea Competition Expands to Include Track for Area Residents Seeking Business Funding

The Bruce R. Thompson Center for Business and Economics at Allegheny College has introduced a new opportunity for area residents to compete for $10,000 in cash prizes by presenting their ideas for a business or nonprofit based in Crawford County.

The college’s Zingale Big Idea Competition will expand this year to include a track for non-student residents of Crawford County. This funding-request presentation contest emulates the experiences seen on the popular ABC and CNBC broadcast “Shark Tank.” As in prior years, the competition will also be open to Allegheny students and visiting college students. The competition is scheduled for April 24–25, 2020.

“When Allegheny President Hilary Link suggested that we expand the Zingale Big Idea Competition this year to include Crawford County residents, I was immediately excited by the idea and its potential for both the college and the community,” said Chris Allison, entrepreneur in residence in the Allegheny Department of Economics. “We think of the competition as ‘Shark Tank’ with a heart. Our judges not only evaluate competitors’ business plans but also provide them with constructive feedback, coaching and encouragement.”

Advance registration is required for the Zingale Big Idea Competition, and three workshops are scheduled to help participants prepare for the competition. The workshops are open to Allegheny students and community members interested in participating in the Crawford County community track.

The workshops are scheduled for 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. in the college’s Quigley Hall on:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 4, Workshop No. 1:  Developing Your Big Idea (register by Feb. 3)
  • Thursday, Feb. 20, Workshop No. 2:  Financial & Marketing Plans (register by Feb. 19)
  • Tuesday, March 24, Workshop No. 3: Pitching Your Idea (register by March 23)

To register for the workshops or to receive more information, contact Sarah Holt, event co-coordinator, at Individuals who are unable to participate in the workshops should contact Holt for more information about participating in the competition.

The Zingale Big Idea Competition is supported by Lance Zingale, a 1977 Allegheny graduate, and Burton D. Morgan Foundation.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny Professor Helps Explore the Economics of Nutrition

Everyone thinks like an economist about food. They just don’t necessarily know it, says Amelia Finaret, assistant professor of global health studies at Allegheny College.

The economics of nutrition is not just about how much consumers spend on certain types of food, she adds. “It’s a lot broader than people think. It’s not only about finances, although that certainly is one aspect. It also involves how people make decisions about allocating scarce resources such as time, energy and land.

“The economics of nutrition combines nutrition science with the social science of nutrition — how people make tough decisions about what they’re going to eat and when and how it affects their bodies,” says Finaret.

In 2019, Finaret published an article, “Beyond Calories: The New Economics of Nutrition,” in the Annual Review of Resource Economics with co-author William A. Masters, Ph.D., of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and the Department of Economics at Tufts University. The article is a review of the scholarly literature that explores fundamental aspects of human well-being and sustainable development.

Amelia Finaret at the supermarket
“The challenge is now to make a high-quality diet available to all,” says Allegheny College Professor Amelia Finaret. (Photos by Ed Mailliard)

The professors have gone through publicly available data and literature in nutrition economics to consider their implications for food policy around the world. “This is a new field,” says Finaret, “trying to help solve intractable nutrition problems in our world. There is plenty of food in the world. The issues, though, include quality of diet, avoiding contaminants and keeping the food supply safe from food-borne diseases. The challenge is now to make a high-quality diet available to all. Poor quality diets disproportionately affect the poor, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

One of the keys to improved nutrition for all will be loosening some of the constraints, including time and income, on individuals and families as they make choices about what they’re going to eat, says Finaret. There is “no one right way” to eat, she says, “because people’s preferences matter. People are doing the best they can given their circumstances. Economics is very non-judgmental. There has to be acknowledgment that there are many constraints on people’s eating decisions.”

The “Beyond Calories” article draws three main conclusions:

* Nutrition research can benefit from economic explanations of individual behavior and societal outcomes, just as economics research can benefit from nutrition science to understand the causes and consequences of dietary intake.

* That for most of history, food economics was concerned mainly with feeding people, given widespread hunger and poverty. That focus has now shifted to exploring how excess consumption is impacting health, leading to a rise in obesity and diet-related metabolic conditions, and what can be done to educate people about their diets and keeping agriculture and food production sustainable and safe.

* There is great potential for future collaboration among economists and nutritionists to make these improvements using new data and new methods to solve a wide range of diet-related problems around the world.

The factors that impact the way people make food choices are complicated and hard to measure, Finaret says.

Poor diet quality has long been the greatest avoidable cause of death and disability, first through infectious diseases, especially in childhood, and more recently with diets contributing to more adult issues with type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and coronary artery disease, the article states. “A second set of concerns about human nutrition is environmental, given that food production is the largest single contributor to natural resource use, pollution and especially carbon emissions. Climate change and other environmental factors affect food supplies, through long-term trends and more frequent extremes such as droughts and floods,” according to the article.

How much or how little people know about their nutritional needs can affect how they eat, but other practical factors also figure in those decisions, says Finaret. For instance, people may choose more unhealthy foods because they simply taste better or are quicker to consume. Or the social groups we associate with may impact our food selections. Or a lack of time to prepare meals. Then there is always the giant hand of corporate food marketing stirring up dietary preferences.

The professors’ research shows that in the United States, “healthier dietary patterns have been estimated to cost approximately $1.50 per day more than less-healthy dietary patterns.”

Through all this, the economics of nutrition tries to be nonjudgmental, says Finaret. “People can and should do what they want; it just comes down to how best to loosen the constraints that people face in making food decisions,” she says.

Finaret’s simple advice for choosing the food you consume is to 1) enjoy eating so that the first bite and the last bite (whether it is the 50th or 100th bite) is pleasurable. In other words, when what you’re eating starts to lose some of its appealing taste, it’s time to put down the fork or close the bag of pretzels; 2) develop a routine so that you don’t have to make decisions all the time, such as weekly or monthly meal plans, optimizing your time available to shop and prepare meals, and how much money you’re able to spend at the grocery store; and 3) avoid extremes — “eat a diverse diet in line with your energy needs.”

Editor’s Note
This year, Finaret and Masters will be writing a textbook, “Food Economics: From Agriculture to Nutrition and Health.” The textbook will be accessible to anyone interested in understanding the economics of food, and understanding the book will not require previous training in economics. The book is geared in particular toward pre-health and pre-nutrition professionals, who would be able to incorporate economic thinking into their professional and research lives.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Influencing Consumer Decision Making

Dr. Michael BarberaThe Bruce R. Thompson Center for Business & Economics welcomes Dr. Michael Barbera on Monday, February 3 at 12:15 pm in Quigley Auditorium.  Dr. Michael Barbera is an award-winning consumer psychologist and business strategist for Fortune 50 companies. He is a leading expert in the complex factors that drive the entire consumer decision-making process, including consumer behavior, emotion, and experience. His practice areas include social psychology, decision-making, brand management, marketing, product placement, and long-term business growth strategies.

As the chief behavioral officer at Clicksuasion Labs, Michael helps clients to better understand consumer influence and consumer behavior, both online and in person. With Michael’s help, companies build customer experiences that are more efficient, engaging, and effective. He also creates evidence-based solutions that affect both external marketing strategy and internal operations management with behavioral economics and behavioral finance.

Michael has worked with large organizations including Boeing, Microsoft, The Washington Post, John Deere, Harley Davidson, LendLease, the United States Department of Defense, and the United States Department of State. He has also worked with academic institutions including Ithaca College, Purdue University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina. Michaels’s clients have also appeared on the Billboard Top 40, ABC’s Shark Tank, Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing, and Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.

Michael champions entrepreneurs and business leaders as a teacher, moderator, and mentor. In 2015, the White House recognized Michael for his many contributions to entrepreneurship. Michael shares research, insights, and thought leadership as a celebrated keynote speaker, host of the Clicksuasion podcast, and dynamic TEDx presenter. More than 100,000 people have seen Michael speak on four continents, and he has earned more than 250,000 views online.

The Lunchtime Learning Lecture Series provides students with opportunities to gain valuable information on topics and industries related to internships and careers. Speakers often choose one of two broad areas to discuss with students. The first is career oriented, and fits under our CBE CAREERS lunches. The second is issue oriented, and fits under our CBE IDEAS lunches. Both topics enable students to navigate and explore job options, understand the steps necessary to pursue opportunities and how to self-advocate for opportunities in the workplace.