Three grad students to attend Nobel Laureates meeting

2:57 p.m., July 23, 2008--Three UD doctoral students in economics--Laura Cojocaru, Leo-Rey Gordon and Stela Stefanova--have been selected by the National Science Foundation to be among the 300 students worldwide to attend the third Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Economic Sciences in Germany Aug. 20-23.

The meetings provide young researchers in different fields an opportunity to interact with Nobel Laureates. There will be 14 Nobel Laureates in economics at the meeting, and economist Muhammed Yunus, who won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize as a pioneer of microcredit for the poor in Bangladesh, also will attend.

“This is an unbelievable opportunity--I wish I could go,” Saul Hoffman, UD chairperson of the Department of Economics, said. “The group of laureates includes some of today's most famous American economists, such as Robert Solow, George Akerlof and Joseph Stiglitz.

“The three students, representing the University of Delaware, will have the chance to meet economics students from around the world. “We are so pleased NSF selected the students, and each of them has contributed something special to our graduate program,” he said.

Stefanova won UD's Excellence in Teaching Award for graduate students this year and has taught microeconomics for three years. From Bulgaria, she has a bachelor's degree in business from Sofia University, bachelor's degrees in information systems and economics from Idaho State University and a master's degree in economics from UD. She has had internships with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and her dissertation focuses on the economic value of environmental and natural resources used for recreation activities.

“I am honored that I have been chosen to participate,” Stefanova said. “This is a unique opportunity to meet some of the world's top economists, and to hear them talk about their recent work and their experiences that led to their success and enormous contributions.”

Cojocaru came to UD from Romania with her husband, who had a fellowship in mechanical engineering, and applied for and was accepted for graduate school in economics, with a concentration in finance. She has been a teaching assistant in statistics and was in sales in Romania before coming to UD. Next year she will study in Lisbon at ISCTE (Higher Institute of Business and Labor Sciences) on an exchange program, and will teach microeconomics when she returns.

“I am very happy for the opportunity to go to this conference. I could not believe it when I was accepted,” Cojocaru said. “This is an incredible chance to meet economists from all over the world, not to mention being with Nobel Laureates.”

Leo-Rey Gordon was raised in Jamaica where he received his bachelor's degree in mathematics with a minor in economics from the University of the West Indies. He also has a master's degree in economics from UD. His research focuses on the international financial markets of small island economies.

“The Caribbean region is known for its tax-haven opportunities and offshore banking industries, and there is a substantial flow of international capital. I am studying the impact of these factors throughout the region,” Gordon said.

Gordon said he came to UD because its economics program is flexible, with students given a variety of specialties from which to choose. Also, he added, there is a small and vibrant Jamaican community in Delaware. At UD, he has been a teaching assistant and tutor for the Academic Enrichment Center.

“I feel extremely privileged to have been selected to attend the conference, Gordon said,."Participating in such an event is priceless as I will be able to meet and socialize with living legends.”

Article by Sue Moncure