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Howard University To Host Five-Year Program to Increase Diversity in Economist Pipeline

WASHINGTON – The Howard University Department of Economics will host the American Economic Association Summer Training and Scholarship Program for the next five years in support of increasing the pipeline of underrepresented minority economists. 

Applications to participate opened on September 15, 2020 and the deadline is January 31, 2021. To apply, visit economics.howard.edu/aeasp. The program will be held May 27 – July 25, 2021 and will be offered in Washington, D.C., contingent upon the latest COVID-19 restrictions.  

The program will be led by Omari H. Swinton, Ph.D., chair and professor of economics at Howard University along with department colleagues, Gerald Daniels, Ph.D., Jevay Grooms, Ph.D., and William Spriggs, Ph.D.  

“For the past 20 years, approximately 20 percent of the doctorates awarded to minorities in economics were alumni of the program. The changes that will be included at Howard are important because they will expose students to many possibilities that can be pursued with a degree in economics. The experiential learning will allow students to see what economists outside of academia do and how they attack problems,” said Swinton, who was once a student, research assistant, and professor of the program.  

Howard is the No. 1 producer of Black undergraduates in economics and the third top producer of minority Ph.Ds. Hosting the American Economic Association (AEA) program at Howard will open the door to more people of color entering the field as economics, which is a small percentage currently. 

The American Economic Association is pleased to see this collaborative partnership for Howard. “The AEA’s Summer Training Program has for decades demonstrably enhanced the pipeline of Ph.D. economists from underrepresented groups, providing a strong basis for professional success in broadening the scope and impact of high quality research agendas. The Association is confident that the program will achieve new heights through collaboration with Howard University and the rich history and perspectives it can offer,” said Peter L. Rousseau,  AEA  Secretary-Treasurer. 

Amazon will sponsor the first year of the program at Howard University with a $135,000 monetary gift to help increase the pipeline of diverse economists and commit to their success. 

“Economists graduating today are increasingly finding exciting jobs in the emerging field of ‘tech economics.’ Firms in almost all industries, and the public sector, are rapidly undergoing a digital transformation enabled by the proliferation of cloud computing and machine learning. Companies are searching for skilled scientists to work with data at scale to improve their decision making and economists have a unique perspective which can help businesses succeed in their digital transformation journey,” said Pat Bajari, vice president and chief economist at Amazon. “Amazon customers are diverse and we know that having diverse teams helps us serve them better. We want to take a leading role in supporting a new generation of economists from underrepresented minorities – it is not only the right thing to do but it will also help bring strong and diverse voices that will create an even more inclusive customer experience.”  

The supporting organizations include: Women’s Institute for Science, Equity and Race (WISER), National Science Foundation, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, which will serve as an Economics Faculty Collaborator; the National Economic Association, American Society of Hispanic Economists, and the Association for Economic Research of Indigenous Peoples. These supporters will fund and/or teach during the program for the next five years. 

“The mentoring pods [we will offer] will give students guidance and structure to help them proceed on their path to a doctoral degree. The program aligns with Howard University’s mission on being historically aware and an emphasis on the African diaspora. Additionally, it will give students an opportunity to see what a graduate program that’s enthusiastic about its students’ outcome is all about,” said Swinton.

Interview with Omari H. Swinton, Ph.D., on Amazon's science blog: 

Swinton, was recently spotlighted in an interview on Amazon's science blog, about his efforts in increasing the diversity in the field and what he hopes for this industry in inspiring new talent. "I think that's one of the big issues—we’ll say there's a problem, but nothing ever changes. You oftentimes hear people say things like, ‘We want to increase diversity’ but don't actually make any changes. They just say that that's something that they want to do. It’s not as if these things haven't been out there. There are people out there who have dedicated their lives to bringing these types of issues to the forefront."

Check it out here: https://www.amazon.science/latest-news/amazon-to-sponsor-howard-university-summer-program-aimed-at-increasing-pipeline-of-minority-economists


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About the American Economic Association 

The American Economic Association (AEA) encourages economic research, issues publications on economic subjects, and encourages perfect freedom of economic discussion. With more than 20,000 members, the Association publishes the American Economic Review (AER), AER: Insights (AERI), Journal of Economic Literature (JEL), Journal of Economic Perspectives (JEP), AEA Papers and Proceedings, and American Economic Journals (AEJ): Applied Economics, Economic Policy, Macroeconomics, and Microeconomics. More information can be found at www.AEAweb.org, or by contacting Barbara H. Fiser at barbara.h.fiser@Vanderbilt.Edu

For more information on applying visit https://www.aeaweb.org/about-aea/committees/aeasp.  

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.science  and follow @Amazon Science

About Howard University 

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 11 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu   

Media Contact: Imani Pope-Johns, imani.popejohns@howard.edu