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Notre Dame team wins ‘Fed Challenge’

Sarah Wheaton | Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Five Notre Dame undergraduate students outdid a Indiana University team to win the Oct. 17 Indiana state “Fed Challenge,” which tested their knowledge of how the Federal Reserve creates policy to foster a strong and stable economy

The challenge, which is a preliminary competition testing students’ knowledge, took place at the Detroit Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

The students, Leah Cogswell, Claire Gasperetti, Mark Hockley, Daniel Klute and Jenna Leary, were coached to victory by Notre Dame associate professor of economics and policy studies Dr. Frank Bonello.

The team had 20 minutes to present their analysis of the United States’ current economic situation including a forecast and a monetary policy recommendation. They then defended their analysis to a panel of professional economists in a 15-minute question and answer period.

A panel of economics experts chose team members and invited all economics majors to apply. The 12 individual applicants went through the same presentation and questioning process that the actual competition consists of and were narrowed down to the five team members.

This is only the second year Notre Dame has sponsored a team, Bonello said, stressing the advantages of student participation in the competition.

“We wanted to be involved in the competition because we believe that it provides students with an excellent and unique extracurricular educational opportunity,” he said.

Many students became involved with the Fed Challenge to learn more about monetary policy and to keep their knowledge of the current economic system up-to-date.

“My participation in the Fed challenge will help me with my research skills, deductive reasoning and public speaking skills regardless of my future career,” said Cogswell, a senior economics and mathematics major who has participated in the challenge for two years.

Students said being on the team required a big time commitment to prepare for the challenge.

“We prepared by meeting at least once a week as a team, working together on our economic analysis, giving practice presentations and answering questions from guest judges,” Cogswell said.

Making sure the presentation is kept as up-to-date as possible is an important aspect of the challenge, Klute said.

“We had to read just about every news article about the economy that we could find,” said Klute, a senior economics major.

By winning the state competition, Notre Dame’s team has earned the right to compete at the district competition in Chicago on Nov. 7. The team will compete against four other state champions, with the winner going to compete at the national level in Washington, D.C.

Moody’s Investor Services will award cash prizes at the national competition. They have indicated that they will award $25,000 to the first place team, $15,000 to the second place team and $7,500 to the third place team. The prizes are to be split between the winning team and their school.