Ashley Stewart, a senior Economics major and Mathematics minor from Belvidere, TN, will begin work in July as a Research Assistant (RA) at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The Federal Reserve’s RA program, widely regarded as a bridge to top Ph.D. programs in Economics, is a highly selective program that offers two-year positions to bachelor’s degree holders, allowing them to work closely with top economists at all branches of the Federal Reserve system.

Ashley’s selection for this prestigious program comes as no surprise to the faculty of the Department of Economics and Finance. Since her sophomore year, she has worked closely with the Department’s faculty on various research projects, becoming well-versed in data analytics and empirical research. In addition, having already accomplished a minor in Mathematics, she has taken several upper-level Mathematics courses, which is important for a student who wishes to pursue a Ph.D. in Economics. In her RA program, Ashley will work closely with top economists in the Research Division on projects examining housing bubbles and the factors that influence unemployment rates in metropolitan areas. This unique and invaluable research experience will help launch her into her future Ph.D. endeavors.

After finishing the RA program, Ashley plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Economics.

Ashley follows two recent Sewanee Economics graduates who were selected as RAs in the Federal Reserve’s program: Lucille Conrad (C’19) and Rachel Rodgers (C’19). From 2019 to 2021, Lucille worked as an RA at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., and Rachel worked as an RA at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Last year, both applied to Ph.D. programs in Economics and received several offers with full fellowships. This fall, they both began programs at top schools—Lucille at The University of Virginia and Rachel at the University of California at Los Angeles.