Colgate junior Candido Martinez will be part of the inaugural cohort of students selected from around the country to participate in an Expanding Diversity in Economics Summer Institute, hosted by the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics (BFI) at the University of Chicago.
The summer institute was designed to identify and support talented undergraduate students from a broad range of backgrounds, who are interested in the study of economics. Forty-five students, representing 31 institutions of higher education, were selected from a pool of more than 200 applicants.
Martinez, who grew up in El Salvador and later moved to Long Island, N.Y., is an economics and computer science major at Colgate. According to the Becker Friedman Institute, “Candido aspires to help bring about change to the society we live in — that will help combat the inequality that non-white people face. He plans to do this through his study of the field of economics, specifically through economic policy and education.”
Students in the institute’s inaugural group have an average GPA of 3.78 on a 4.0 scale, and the groups include 24 first-year students, 17 sophomores, and four juniors, all of whom have expressed interest in learning more about the study of economics.
The 2021 cohort includes 33 women and 12 men, with 53% of participants self-identifying as Black or African American and 22% as Hispanic or Latinx. Seventeen participants are Pell Grant recipients, and 17 are first-generation college students. A snapshot of the inaugural cohort can be found on the BFI website.
“Talent is dispersed widely and this program will help to bring a wider set of people into economics,” says Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor of economics and director of BFI. “We expect that the result will be a deeper understanding of the world that ultimately allows economics to more effectively influence the world.”
The EDE Summer Institute was launched by BFI in 2021 with support from the Booth School of Business, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, and Northern Trust. It is a first-of-its-kind summer program, targeting early undergraduate students for exposure to economics.
"Candido is an exceptional student and I am thrilled that he was chosen for this program," said Colgate Assistant Professor of Economics Michael Connolly, who helped connect Martinez with the institute. "By identifying students from diverse backgrounds at an early stage of their undergraduate careers, the BFI has designed a remarkable program to showcase economics outside the abstract world we teach in textbooks. This is a wonderful opportunity for him to develop tools to tackle pressing issues that are understudied in the field and to find solutions to ultimately improve society."
Participants will receive a stipend for satisfactory completion of the three-week session, with Pell Grant–eligible students receiving additional funding. They will also receive a certification of completion from the University of Chicago.
“Studying economics, I want to be able to have an impact on society and address the economic inequalities that plague the world,” Martinez says. “This program aims to help its members think critically and analytically about some of these issues, and so this experience will provide the necessary skills and thinking to help me accomplish my goals, as well as give me insight into what I might want to pursue post-Colgate.”