Niagara University’s economics club recently enjoyed a two-day visit to Washington, D.C., as part of its second annual trip. Accompanied by Dr. Jay Walker, assistant professor of economics, the group of seven students – Tohme Abounader, Adam Barnes, Heather Burley, Bridgette Ehrmann, Christian Lemke, Cory Piper, and Allyssa Wadsworth – made the trip to the nation’s capital.
The economics club’s mission is to provide networking and learning opportunities to all members. In addition, it strives to broaden the knowledge of, and inform, all Niagara University students of the opportunities available in economics.
“The Economics Club exists to create a greater sense of community and camaraderie among economics majors and students interested in economics,” Dr. Walker explained. “To me, it’s a vehicle to help undergraduates try to network with future employers, and an opportunity for us to take some trips and participate in activities outside of the classroom.”
On Friday, the group met with Geoffrey Paulin, a senior economist in the Consumer Expenditure Survey Program, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as other employees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor is the principal federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy. The students learned how the BLS generates the Consumer Expenditures data series which is used to create the market basket for estimating the Consumer Price Index (CPI), among other uses.
Later that afternoon, they met with NU alumni at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse for an after work mixer. In attendance were, John Celock, ’03, Celock Media Group, Bridget Cox, ’74, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, and co-leaders of NU’s Washington National Capital Chapter, Tim Gabel, ’91, and Stephanie McJury, ’07, and local economist Christian Brown of the Food & Drug Administration.
“I was particularly impressed by the NU Alumni presence in D.C. It was nice to know that the NU community reaches across distances in that way, and made me feel at home, even as it was my first time in Washington,” commented Heather Burley, a senior from North Tonawanda who is majoring in management with a minor in economics.
On Saturday, the club members visited local museums and attractions, including the National Gallery of Art, Arlington National Cemetery, Library of Congress, Folger Shakespeare Library, the National Mall, the Capitol building, and the National Postal Museum.
“I was very glad to be able to make our second consecutive yearly trip to Washington, D.C.,” said Dr. Walker. “It was great to meet some NU alumni from the area and have a chance to visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
“Even as an accounting major, I found the trip to be meaningful and fun,” said Bridgette Ehrmann. “The visit to the Bureau of Labor Statistics was by far the best part, the chance to meet with employees and recent graduates there, and to watch senior economist Geoff Paulin’s presentation was a great opportunity I never would’ve expected. The alumni were eager to see us and were happy we made a point to visit them. It was exciting to see how NU graduates can be found outside the local area, and they were eager to share their experiences and insights. It was fun talking to them and learning about their NU experience and what brought them to D.C.”