In 2017, the Alfred P. Sloan foundation awarded a grant to the Department of Economics for the Sloan Fellows Program, which seeks to increase the presence of underrepresented people – particularly women students and students of color – in the field of economics. The $1.3 million multi-year award supports programming and undergraduate fellowships.
The focus of the past year’s work has been to establish criteria for selecting fellows. David Mitch and the Economics Department hope to introduce their inaugural class of fellows in Fall 2019.
Through the program, the Department of Economics has also established other means of support for underrepresented students in the field. Under the guidance of David Mitch and Jacob Dennis, a senior Economics major serving as Grant Office Manager, the Department established seminar series with speakers like Cecilia Elena Rouse, Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Students also formed a pre-doctoral society, and the program is funding attendance in Spring 2019 at the Sadie Tanner conference, which supports African American women preparing to enter economic professions. Additionally, the program funds workshops, student advising, and partnerships with universities like Harvard and NYU.
With the support of the Sloan Foundation, the Department of Economics is poised to put UMBC on the map with respect to diversity in the field of economics.