Jake Scott ’20 — Benton Summer Profile Series

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This summer, Jake conducted research with Professor Blume-Kohout in the Colgate economics department. Using a nationally representative data set of college graduates, Jake explored the relationship between direct financial incentives and student major choice. His research team also specifically looked at whether the existence of a grant program that offered money to low-income high-achieving students who chose to major in STEM actually made such students more likely to choose a STEM major. On his experience, Jake said, “It was an absolutely fascinating experience about a very relevant and important topic, and I got a lot out of it!”

What inspired you to participate in research with the economics department?

I chose to intern in the field of economics because it is my passion, specifically as it relates to public policy. As corny as it sounds, I believe the best avenue through which I can enact positive change is through public policy and ensuring it is sound and beneficial through rigorous economic research. This summer gave me a chance to actually do this.

What’s one lesson you took away from the experience?

The biggest lesson I took from this experience is that patience is key. It won’t always be the first or the second or the third or even the twentieth attempt that you get it right. But it makes it that much more worth it when you finally do get it. The number of times I ran certain lines of code only to get an error message was at times maddening. But the end result was better for it and worth every attempt.