2023 Undergraduate Student Spotlights Aaron Mathew

Aaron Mathew

Hometown: Allentown, NJ

Year in School: Freshman (Class of 2026)

Interests/Hobbies: I am an avid basketball fan and follow the NBA closely. I also enjoy cooking and visiting bookstores.

Involvements/Employment/Activities: I’m a member of the UW-Madison Mock Trial team and will be competing at the AMTA National Championship Tournament in April 2023. I’m also a writer for Equilibrium, and my article on asymmetric information exchanges in college decisions will be featured in this year’s spring issue. I serve on the Economics Department’s Equity & Inclusion Board and am a member of the Economics Students Association.

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

My favorite place on campus is the Discovery Building, which is actually the first building I visited on campus. I love the Mesozoic Garden and indoor greenery.

What has been your favorite Econ course?

My favorite Economics course has been Dr. Korinna Hansen’s Econ 111 course. It’s one fast-paced semester, but it serves as an effective sampling platter of economics principles, and as the first economics course I’ve ever taken it holds a special place in my heart.

If you have any other majors or certificates in addition to Econ, how did you decide to add Econ or add the other major/certificate?

I am pursuing a double major in Economics with a Mathematical Emphasis & Mathematics. I always intended to major in Economics, but I selected the Mathematics major to provide the necessary quantitative foundation for graduate school and research in my future.

How do you manage your course load?

Looking at all my work as one large task can be overwhelming, so I find it helpful to intentionally address each segment of my work individually, which helps to put the overall workload into perspective. At the end of the day a stressful schedule will be taxing regardless of how you approach it, but I’ve found that this can be an effective strategy to minimize the undue burden as best as possible.

Where did you intern/research, and did you have a good experience? Why or why not?

While I have not yet engaged in formal research, my experience writing for Equilibrium provided valuable insights regarding the economic research process. In writing my article on asymmetric information I consulted seminal papers in the field, analyzed contemporary work that addressed similar issues, and participated in a faculty review with Dr. Benjamin Bernard. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey, and it served as a soft simulation of what research in my future may look like.

What advice do you have for students seeking an internship/research experience?

In a conversation with Economics department chair Chris Taber, he explained that there are more individuals interested in research than the demand for undergraduate research assistants. This can be an obstacle, but it’s important to take advantage of opportunities such as Equilibrium: The Undergraduate Journal of Economics, that provide an outlet for prospective researchers to explore economic issues they are passionate about.

Do you know what you want to do after graduation? If yes, what? If not, what advice would you give to another student who may not know either?

After my time in Madison, I would like to attend graduate school and pursue a PHD focused on behavioral economics. I am also considering attending law school and receiving my JD. While I’m not 100% sure what my plan for the future is, I feel empowered as an undergraduate to explore my passions while remaining oriented towards my overall goals.