Department of Economics
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

Master of Sciences
Program in Applied Economics

Dr. John Straub, Program Director

Dr. Aaditya Dar, Associate Program Director

College Park location
1102 Morrill Hall
Program Coordinator:
Currently vacant
(301) 405-3557

Washington, DC location
1400 16th Street, NW
Suite 140
Washington, DC 20036
Program Coordinator:
Herman Byrd
(202) 525-4308

Alumni Profiles

Fuda Jiang, Graduated May 2019

     Fuda enrolled in our program in the fall of 2017, after having graduated with a bachelor's degree in finance-engineering from the Beijing Technology & Business University.  After graduation, Fuda began working as a Research Intern at the American Enterprise Institute.  In April of 2020 he moved to the World Bank, where he now works as a Research Analyst.  

A quote from Fuda: "I really enjoyed the evidence-based coursework in our program. The practical examples really helped me understand how analysts work in the real world. My only regret is that I didn't take more advantage of the placement services until after I graduated. Some of my friends moved straight into jobs because they had internship experience before graduation. In my case, it took a few months before I could settle into the kind of economic analyst job I was seeking. But I am very happy with my current work at the World Bank. The program prepared me very well."

Mary Donovan, Graduated December 2015

     Mary started our program in the fall of 2013.  Balancing work and school, she generally took just one course per term in our program.  When Mary entered our program she was an Account Coordinator at Kellen Company, a global management and communications nonprofit.  In the spring of 2015 she moved to NDP Analytics as a Senior Associate.  NDP Analytics is a strategic research firm specializing in economic analysis of public policy and legal issues.
     Like about half our students, Mary did not major in economics as an undergraduate.  With a bachelor's degree in International Relations and French, she began her career in roles that leveraged her strong communications skills.  In her current position she combines those skills with economic analysis.
     Mary is now a Principal at NDP Analytics.  In 2019 she recruited one of our program's graduates to also join the firm. 

A quote from Mary: "Maryland's program helped me gain the foundational knowledge and skill set necessary to change career paths.  I was able to get a job in the  field mid-way through the program.  I use the skills I learned on a daily basis."

Richard Ukonu, Graduated December 2018

    Richard earned his bachelor's degree from Frostburg State University in May of 2017, where he had been an economics major, and a McNair Scholars Program participant in the summers of 2015 and 2016. While enrolled in our program, Richard was recruited into a paid internship with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), who met him at one of our program's placement events. After graduation from our program, Richard joined the team of economists employed at HDR Engineering, where he worked on projects for the US Department of Transportation. Recently, Richard joined Guidehouse, a global management consulting firm, as an Energy Consultant for the Energy, Sustainability, and Infrastructure (ES&I) sector.

A quote from Richard: "I think Maryland's Master's in Applied Economics Program is consistently ranked among the top economics master's programs in the U.S. because of the way it challenges it's candidates from enrollment through graduation, and positions graduates with the skill set to thrive in the job market. I personally experienced this as an applicant who needed to develop additional math skills prior to enrollment, but was ultimately provided with the resources to succeed and complete the program in 15 months. As a student in the program, I was able to intern at the federal government level, and now work as an economist at an architectural engineering firm."

Ankita Goel, Graduated May 2019

Laura Ruiz Gaona
     Ankita enrolled in our program in the fall of 2017, after having graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Delhi.  Ankita and some of our other international students helped us realize the importance of the STEM designation for programs like ours, which emphasize quantitative economics and econometrics.  Our program's STEM designation makes our international graduates eligible for an extension to the Optional Practical Training (OPT) internship period after graduation.  This makes it possible for graduates of our program to work at paid OPT internships in the US for up to 3 years after graduation.  Ankita currently works as a Research Consultant at the World Bank Group's International Finance Corporation. 

A quote from Ankita: "I am thankful for having enrolled in the program. The professors have a really effective teaching style and are always willing to guide & collaborate with the students on a research idea. The program is very job-oriented and helps with learning networking techniques and tapping opportunities like access to the World Bank and IMF annual meetings in D.C.. There are also many placement events that allow students to meet the employers and understand the job market better.  Maryland's program is great in itself but the STEM designation adds a cherry on top because it makes the program's graduates more attractive to potential employers in the US.

Esteban Pabon, Graduated December 2016

     Esteban completed bachelor's degrees in Economics, and Government and Politics at the University of Maryland in December of 2014.  He began our program in the fall of 2015, and began working as a Research Intern at the American Enterprise Institute in January of 2016. After graduating from our program, Esteban moved to Summit Consulting, where he continues to work as a consultant. Esteban provides statistical analysis support and performs econometric modeling for various federal agencies including Ginnie Mae, FDIC, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Education, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

A quote from Esteban: "When I graduated with a bachelor's degree I did not know where to start looking for a job as an economist, or really what I could do as an economist.  I knew the basic principles but I could not make the connection to apply my knowledge to a work environment.  The program's focus on econometrics and the applied courses showed me the usefulness of economics in day-to-day life. The technical skill I learned opened many doors for me. I often refer back to my class notes to perform analysis at work. The program really enabled me to pursue the career I wanted!

Zahra Bennett, Graduated May 2019

     Zahra began our program more than a decade after having earned her bachelor's degree in industrial engineering.  She was looking to transition to a different career path in economic analysis.  While enrolled in the program, Zahra responded to an invitation from one of our instructors to volunteer at a conference hosted by the Society for Government Economists.  Networking at that event, she met a mentor at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, where she now works as an economist. 

A quote from Zahra: "The UMD program was challenging, especially for a non-economics major more than 10 years after college.  But the PhD economists teaching in the program were able to help me succeed, and even helped with valuable opportunities to network outside the classroom with other potential mentors.

Alan Karickhoff, Graduated May 2018

     Alan earned his bachelor's degree from Dickinson College in May of 2016 and enrolled in our program that fall.  He had limited professional experience prior to enrolling, but he began interning at a local research firm in late 2016.  In 2017 he began working as a Survey Statistician at the Census Bureau, after following up on a job posting that had been shared with our program's students and alumni.  After graduating, Alan responded to another job posting that we shared with our students and alumni, which eventually led to a job offer from the American Trucking Associations, where Alan began as a Research Analyst before being promoted to Economic Analyst in 2020. 

A quote from Alan: "Maryland's Master's in Applied Economics program was the perfect step for me after college. It took my novice econometrics experience through a rigorous curriculum which opened up numerous job opportunities that I was eager to explore. Outside the classroom, the program's faculty provided crucial networking opportunities and one-on-one guidance with building my resume.  I'm proud to look back and see that the program continues to increase its accessibility to students by keeping tuition frozen at the same level since I was a student, and through the transition to a STEM-designated MS degree program.

Laura Alejandra Ruiz Gaona, Graduated December 2019

Laura Ruiz Gaona
     Laura enrolled in our program in 2018, while working as a Data Analyst Consultant in the Development Economics Data Group of the World Bank.  She studied full time and completed the program in 15 months. Laura took classes such as Health Economics, Impact Evaluation, and Development Economics, aiming to focus her career on health economics and econometrics. 
     Laura had previously worked as a research intern at the think tank Hudson Institute, after having earned her BS in Economics from Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia. Since her graduation from our program,  Laura has been working as a Health Economics Consultant in the World Bank's Health, Nutrition, and Population Division, where she has coordinated impact evaluations, and performed research on health interventions and policies.

A quote from Laura: "Maryland's M.S. in Applied Economics program gave me the necessary tools to combine theoretical and applied concepts and translate them into rigorous data analysis and critical thinking. This program was a great fit as it allowed me to study while acquiring relevant work experience."

Noah Murrell, Graduated May 2017

     Noah began our program in the fall of 2014.  At the time he was 3 years out of college, working as a Quantitative Analyst at Fannie Mae where he focused on analytics to support servicing policy.  Noah was looking to pursue a master's in applied economics to touch-up on his probability and econometric skills, as well as learn new techniques like time-series analysis and program evaluation for potential use in policy-related research. Noah's work was demanding so he pursued the degree part time, taking just one course at time.  After graduating  he was promoted to Senior Quantitative Analyst.  He has also returned to some of our program's Career Placement events to help Fannie Mae recruit other students and graduates from our program. 

A quote from Noah: "Maryland's Master's in Applied Economics program taught me practical economics tools that I now use for policy analyses in the realm of mortgage finance at Fannie Mae. I left the program with a much richer technical tool set than I started with.  I look forward to coming back each year to meet new students at career fairs or company presentations."

Mary Sue Hamann, Graduated December 2015

     Sue is a Science Evaluation Officer at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  She earned her PhD in Education from Ohio State in 1997 and has been working at the NIH since 2008.  She enrolled in our program in the fall of 2014 to formalize her ability to apply economic analysis, which had become increasingly relevant to her work at the NIH.  

A quote from Sue: "The program far exceeded my expectations.  I literally learned things on Monday nights that I applied on Tuesday mornings.  The four most recent entries I have added to my CV (manuscripts and presentations) are all things that I would not have been able to do without the things I learned in this program."

Patrick Lee, Graduated May 2018

     Patrick studied Accounting and International Business as an undergraduate, and had been working for 6 years as a financial analyst before enrolling in our program.  He had decided that he was more interested in policy analysis and wanted to change his career path.  While still enrolled in the program, a member of our department's faculty helped Patrick join Resources for the Future as a Research Assistant, working on projects related to Environmental and Natural Resources Policy.  Since 2019 he has been an Economist in the US Department of the Interior's Office of Policy Analysis. Patrick works on economic analyses across several topics in federal public lands management such as the conservation of protected lands, the Endangered Species Act, energy and mineral extraction, the outdoor recreation economy, and natural resource damage assessment.

A quote from Patrick: "I was looking for a program that would help me learn the quantitative and analytical skills I needed for a new career in policy analysis, but would still fit my busy schedule. Maryland's program was perfect. The classes are highly relevant to the day-to-day work of an economist, but still very accessible for someone who's coming from a totally different field. I've used material from every single class I took in the program while working at Resources for the Future and the Department of the Interior.

Catherine Menking, Graduated May 2018

     Following the birth of her daughter, Katie is currently taking time away from her career, though she may begin working remotely again later this year (2020).  Katie was already working as a Research Associate at Towson University's Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI) when she began our program in the fall of 2016.  She was promoted to Economist while enrolled in our program, and then to Research Manager after earning our degree. 

A quote from Katie: While Maryland's Master's in Applied Economics program was very demanding, the evening class schedule allowed me to pursue the degree while working full time. I greatly value the time I spent at Maryland learning from economists who are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their respective fields of specialization."

Carlos Chaverri, Graduated May 2019

     Carlos was sponsored by his employer, the Central Bank of Costa Rica, to enroll in our program in the fall of 2017.  Carlos returned to his job in Costa Rica after graduation, where he is currently working in the Economic Research Department. His work is focused on macroeconomic models and forecasting, economic growth, and monetary and fiscal policy. We look forward to seeing Carlos back in the DC area when his work brings him to conferences at the International Monetary Fund and Inter-American Development Bank.   

A quote from Carlos: “When you decide to study abroad you want to find a program that can boost your career from both professional and personal points of view.  Maryland's program offers a perfect combination.  The courses are taught by great professional economists working actively in the DC area.  I found the professors accessible during the semester, and sometimes even followed up with them on projects that extended beyond the assigned course work.  The UMD also provides excellent support services for international students - or any students - needing help with English language proficiency, visa issues, or counseling related to any academic or personal issues."

Lonna Morrow, Graduated December 2019

     Lonna enrolled in our program in the fall of 2018 after having graduated from Indiana University in May of 2017, where she earned her Bachelor's degree in Economics.  She was working as a financial aid analyst for University of Maryland's Global Campus when she began our program.  A few months before graduating from our program, she began working at the Bureau of Economic Analysis, where she still works today as an economist. 

A quote from Lonna: "I wholeheartedly believe I got my current job because of the placement events organized by our program.  An economist representing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at one of the events offered to go over my resume with me.  He is an alumnus of Maryland's PhD program.  While I did not end up working at the CFPB, I credit my eventual job placement at the BEA to the feedback I received from him.

Sonali Gupta, Graduated May 2019

     Sonali studied engineering as an undergraduate in India, and enrolled in our program after 4 years as a quantitative analyst with Goldman Sachs.  She was looking to transition into the field of Development Economics. After her first year in our program, she worked at a summer internship at the World Bank.  She continued interning at the World Bank during her 2nd year, and has been working there since graduation as a Research Analyst in their Financial Inclusion department. 

A quote from Sonali: "The program helped me develop empirical and theoretical skills required to understand issues specific to developing nations, and how policies can play an important role in improving human well-being and reducing poverty."

Guillaume Kasten-Sportes, Graduated December 2015

     Guillaume earned his bachelor's degrees in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Maryland in 2013 and enrolled in our master's program the following spring.  At the time Guillaume was working as a mechanic for the University of Maryland's shuttle bus service.  He was hired as a Pathways Intern Economist at the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis in June of 2015, where he was also offered a permanent position even before his graduation from our program that December.  Guillaume decided to accept a different offer - from KPMG Consulting, where he worked an Associate and then Senior Associate.  In 2019 he moved to Fannie Mae, where he currently works as a Quantitative Analyst.     

A quote from Guillaume: "I can't overstate the value of the program.  It gave me the additional education and background that have completely transformed my options in the job market.  Some of the instructors have also been excellent sources of career advice to me outside of class."

Maria Cecilia Deza, Graduated December 2015

     Maria is an Economist at the Inter-American Development Bank, where she has been working since 2012.  She works on projects related to the fiscal policies and fiscal management of governments in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Like many of our students, Maria took advantage of employer-provided tuition benefits to enroll in our program in the fall of 2014.   

A quote from Maria: "I absolutely got what I was looking for in the program.  It has been a very enriching experience, especially in quantitative methods from both a theoretical and empirical point of view, and a perfect complement to my previous master's degree in public administration and economic policy management, which was more policy analysis-oriented."

William Kinzler, Graduated December 2019

     Billy enrolled in our program in the fall of 2017.  He pursued the degree part-time at our College Park campus because he was commuting after work from Baltimore.  When he enrolled, Billy was working in the Marketing Department of BGE HOME, which is a home services company of Exelon.  He was looking to transition into work as an analyst.  When he was about half-way through our program, Billy began working as a Risk Control Analyst/Financial Analyst on the wholesale trading floor at Constellation. Constellation is also an Exelon company that provides various energy services, supplying power and natural gas across the U.S. with a special emphasis on clean and renewable energy. 

A quote from Billy: “I was looking for a program that would broaden my skill set and make my career transition possible. Maryland's M.S. in Applied Economics program did exactly that.  The statistics and econometrics courses helped spur my interest in coding, and introduced me to the fundamentals of smart and responsible empirical research.  I use concepts from the Financial Economics course every day in my current role analyzing energy markets.  The program was challenging, but flexible enough to be feasible for someone working full-time and living almost an hour away. The professors were available for one-on-one time before and after class, and very responsive to email. The alumni network was active and remains active despite the pandemic.”

Başak Gone, Graduated December 2017

     Prior to enrolling in the fall of 2016, Başak had been working in a financial services company based in Turkey.  She was looking to add to her analytical skills, and seeking employment in a large international firm.  After graduating from our program she began working in the Tysons Corner, VA office of KPMG's Economic and Valuation Services Group. She is currently a Senior Consultant  in KPMG's Prague office.  
A quote from Başak: "The program helped me learn about the practical applications of economic analysis.  Learning from professionals who work in the public and private sectors gave me the chance to see how and where I wanted to use the skills I was learning in the program. I greatly benefited from the program's recruiting/placement assistance and alumni network while I was looking to make a career change.

Qiang Cai, Graduated May 2016

     Qiang holds degrees in Environmental Science (Peking University), Geography (Chinese Academy of Sciences and University of Iowa) and Biostatistics (University of Iowa).  He currently works as an Applied Statistics Manager at Fannie Mae.  Qiang's work focuses on understanding the relationships between consumers and the housing market. His projects have involved building a consumer sentiment index on home purchases, estimating the effect of student loan debt on home ownership, and studying consumers' shopping behaviors when applying for a mortgage.

A quote from Qiang: "The training I received in Maryland's Applied Economics Program has been invaluable.  It has helped me to think and speak like an economist, while working as a statistician in an economics research group.  This has enhanced my perspective on my work and opened doors to several professional opportunities.  I also appreciate the flexibly of this program, which has allowed me to work full-time, raising two babies, while still receiving a top quality economics education all at the same time!

Jacqueline Lavalleye, Graduated December 2017

     Jackie has been a Consultant at Deloitte since August of 2020.  Before moving to Deloitte she was an Economist at HDR, where she began working a few months before graduating from our program in 2017.  During her enrollment in our program, Jackie had also worked at internships with The Atlantic Council, The Economic Innovation Group, and (remotely) with the California Policy Center.

A quote from Jackie: "Maryland's program was a great experience for me as I pursued the degree in order to change my career. I was able to take on a number of internships while taking courses in the evening at the DC campus. In my career since graduating from the program, I’ve used a lot of the skills that I learned in my classes."

Alejandro Segarra, Graduated May 2017

     Alex is an Account Executive with the District Communications Group and a Civil Affairs Sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve.  He earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Maryland in 2008, and has managed programs and logistics for USAID, the Department of Defense, and other large scale domestic and international companies.  Alex began our program in the spring of 2015.

"I came to the program with a liberal arts background.  The courses are rigorous and challenging, even for students with more math and economics in their backgrounds, but the program has helped me adapt to a quantitative and economic analysis mindset quickly."

David Vine, Graduated December 2019

     David enrolled in our program in the fall of 2018, after having earned his bachelor's degree in Mathematics at the University of Central Florida the previous May.  During the summer after his first year in our program, David worked at a Pathways Internship in the US Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service.  He also took a course with us that summer and graduated in December of 2019.  After Graduation he began working as an Operations Research Analyst with the Internal Revenue Service.  .

A quote from David: "I knew I wanted to pursue a career in public service, but I needed extra skills to be successful in my job search. Maryland's Master's in Applied Economics program was my first choice because of its reputation and close proximity to Washington, DC.  The flexibility of the program allowed me to build my resume and expand my network even before graduating.  I was able to work at a paid internship with the USDA while still enrolled, and now work full-time as an analyst at the IRS where I use skills from the master’s program everyday.

Genta Agaj, Graduated May 2018

     Genta is a member of our program's first cohort of international students -- we did not begin sponsoring international student visas until 2016.  She set a great example.  Genta was sponsored by USAID and the Government of Kosovo to attend our program.  In the summer after her first year in the program, she was recruited by a fellow student into a Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) internship with Vital Voices.  In her second year, she did another internship at Keshif, a data exploration and analytics company, where she interned as a Data Analysis and Communications Intern.
     By the terms of her sponsorship, Genta returned to work in her home country of Kosovo after graduation.  She works at the management consulting firm, MDA, where she is a Research Consultant as well as the Head of the Project Development Division.

A quote from Genta: "I came to Maryland's Master's in Applied Economics program with limited experience in research and economics. After the two years at Maryland, I came back to my former employer and was able to receive a promotion based on my new skill set and knowledge, making my choice to go to this program worthwhile.

Jonathan Marandure, Graduated May 2014

     Jonathan came to our program in the spring of 2013 with a background in accounting and finance.  He has been working since 2011 at Population Services International (PSI), a leading global health organization.  Jonathan works at PSI as a Financial Analyst.  Many of the projects on which he works are focused on reproductive health and HIV.

A quote from Jonathan: "Upon completion of the program, I started working on cost-effectiveness analysis assignments to assess the health impact of our programs with respect to the level of investment. I found the skills and knowledge acquired from the program to be extremely useful for those assignments."

Jillian McGrath, Graduated December 2018

     Jillian began our program in the fall of 2017, after completing her bachelor's degrees (also at Maryland) in Economics and Government and Politics.  While enrolled, Jillian worked at internships with the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  Shortly before graduating she began working as a Research Analyst at Insight Policy Research.  Since September of 2019 she has been an Economic Policy Advisor with the national think tank, Third Way. 

A quote from Jillian: "
Enrolling in Maryland's Masters's in Applied Economics Program has been a great career move for me.  None of jobs I've had since college would've been possible without the training and background the program's provided me,  I was able to jump into a rigorous research position and translate the skills I learned right in the workplace, bypassing years of entry level data work.  In my current role, I bring these data skills to contemporary economic policy debates on a daily basis, which is a huge comparative advantage in a field where many professionals my age can only use Excel."

Chad Bolt, Graduated August 2016

     Chad is a Legislative Assistant to a member of the United States Senate.  He earned a bachelor's degree in Government and Political Affairs at Millersville University of Pennsylvania in 2008 and enrolled in our program in the spring of 2015.  Chad's work as a Senate staffer has required analysis of policies related to foreign affairs, homeland security, trade, labor, financial services, and taxation. 

A quote from Chad: "This masters program has given me a new set of tools with which to analyze public policy and to think even more critically about the challenges facing our country and the middle class.  Since enrolling in the program, I have been promoted to a higher level of responsibility, providing the senator with analysis and recommendations on a range of policy issues."

Somayah Eltoweissy, Graduated February 2017

     Somayah earned her bachelor's degree in Biochemistry, with a minor in Global Poverty, from the University of Maryland in December of 2014.  As an undergraduate, Somayah participated in a University of Maryland Gemstone Honors Program research project and interned at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  While enrolled in our program, Somayah was working as a Data Manager at The Emmes Corporation.  Shortly before graduating in 2017, Somayah joined the US Department of Labor, where she worked as an economist until the summer of 2019.  She is now a Lead Research Analyst in the University of Maryland-Baltimore's School of Social Work.

A quote from Somayah: "I have been involved in nonprofit humanitarian relief volunteering and leadership.  My interest in economics is based in a desire to contribute more to economic development in the future.  My background as a biochemist has given me much exposure to the scientific method and I recognize the value of quantitative methods.  This program's focus on quantitative analysis definitely attracted me.  I was able to develop program evaluation and economic modelling skills for future employment."

Bryant Scott, Graduated December 2016

     Bryant was working as a Financial Management Analyst with the Department of Defense when he enrolled in our program.  He had graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics 2 years earlier.  He was looking to focus more on policy-relevant economic analysis, and to build on his technical analytic skills for real-world application.  He moved to Deloitte about a year after graduating from our program, where he currently works as an Advisory Consultant.  He has worked on several projects for the Navy providing data analytic support for their ongoing audit efforts. 

A quote from Bryant: "Studying applied economics has been integral in shifting my career towards data analytics on the way to a position as an Economist. Having the degree allowed me to supplement my experience as a Financial Management Analyst with guided coursework, and open up more opportunities for further advancement within the DoD and at Deloitte.  I am currently considering further study in economics."

Brian Bonis, Graduated December 2013

     Brian entered with our first cohort of students in the fall of 2012.  At that time he was working at the Traveler's insurance company, looking to transition into a career related to economic research.  Brian is now a Senior Financial Analyst at the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors, where he began working in February of 2013, just 5 months after beginning our program.  
     Brian completed our program in 15 months, earning his master's degree in December of 2013.  In addition to working full-time at the Fed, he has also been pursuing a PhD in economics at George Mason University since September of 2014.  He was able to transfer some of the credits he earned in our program and apply them towards his PhD at George Mason.
     Brian is an active member of our program's alumni network and has been back to visit, giving presentations in our core macroeconomics course in the summer of 2015 and the winter of 2016.

A quote from Brian: "The experiences and knowledge I gained in the Master's in Applied Economics program at the University of Maryland were instrumental in helping me transition into a career in economics.  From STATA and the applied economic concepts to interacting with faculty that are well established in the field, I had the tools and resources I needed to start an economics career."

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