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ASSA 2018 Recap

Last weekend, the American Economic Association, alongside 58 other associations in related disciplines, held their annual Allied Social Science Association Conference in Philadelphia, PA. Over 13,000 economists convened in downtown Philly to network, present papers on general economic ideas, and celebrate new achievements in economic research.

The National Economic Association, (formerly known as the Caucus of Black Economists) and the American Society of Hispanic Economists were among the 58 associations in attendance, where they presented papers on topics such as the Economics of Crime, Education and Racial Disparities, Stratification Economics, and the Economics of Immigrants and Hispanics Facing Hardships.

My highlight of the conference was attending the National Economic Association Westerfield Award Luncheon, where Dr. Cecilia Conrad was awarded the NEA Samuel Z. Westerfield Award, the association's most distinguished honor. The award recognizes black economists for their outstanding contributions to the profession through teaching, research and public service. The award is named after Samuel Z. Westerfield, a distinguished graduate of Howard University who later than received his PhD in Economics from Harvard Univeristy in money and banking. Through his career, Dr. Westerfield had a long career teaching economics at Lincoln Univeristy (the 1st historically black college) and later on his career, held high positions in the U.S. Treasury Department and within the Kennedy Administration (as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs). Dr. Westerfield died prematurely shortly after being appointed ambassador to Liberia in 1972, however, he is remembered as being a brilliant and chraismatic economist who served as an inspiration to several young economists.

Dr. Cecilia Conrad has had an outstanding career in the field of economics. She received her BA in Economics from Wellesley College and her PhD in Economics from Stanford University. Currently, she is the director for the MacArthur Foundation, a non-profit aimed to support creative people, effective institutions and influential networks through generous funding of innovative projects and research.

Her previous career roles include being on the faculty of Banard College, Duke Univeristy, and the Associate Dean and VP for Academic Affairs at Ponoma College. Throughout her professorial career, she has contributed to interdisciplinary programs in women's studies, black studies, and public policy in the economics departments. Dr. Conrad has previously served as a president for the National Economic Association and as director for the Committee on the Status of Minority Groups in the Economics Profession. In addition to this, she has served as a mentor to several minority students aspiring to follow her footsteps. Under her tutelage, her students have been able to matriculate in PhD Programs at Harvard, Cornell, and Yale and have careers as economists at places such as the Mathematica Policy Institute, the National Urban League, and several other government agencies.

Overall, Dr. Conrad is much deserving of this award and is an amazing example of a black female economist.

Dr. Cecilia Conrad is centered in the middle of the 2nd row in this photograph, surrounded by current and aspiring Black Female PhD economists.

#economics #ASSA #diversitymatters #blackgirlmagic