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UNCW Team Places Second in National Federal Reserve College Fed Challenge

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Gaining valuable real-world experience solving the nation’s economic challenges, a team of UNCW students placed second in the 19th annual College Fed Challenge, a national competition that encourages undergraduate students to learn about the U.S. economy, monetary policymaking and the role of the Federal Reserve System.  

The UNCW Cameron School of Business team finished between Ivy League schools Princeton University (first place) and Dartmouth College (third place) after competing against 84 schools from across the country. Team members include Katie Davidson, Luke Felton, Juliette Girardin, Silvio Kellerman, Sinéad O’Duffy and Adam Ragan.  

“We were on top of the world just to win our region for the first time, which stretches from West Virginia to South Carolina and includes schools like American, University of Virginia and Wake Forest University,” said UNCW Fed Challenge team coach Dr. Danny Soques ’10, associate professor of economics and finance and UNCW alumnus. “Then to become a national finalist–it was all the more special to get both tiers of recognition this year.”  

While a student, Dr. Soques was a member of UNCW’s first Fed Challenge team in 2009, coached by Department of Economics and Finance Executive-in-Residence Dr. Thomas Simpson. Dr. Simpson, who previously served on the Board of Governors for the Federal Reserve System in Washington, D.C., established and coached the Seahawk team for more than a decade before retiring in 2022.  

Dr. Soques said the team has steadily been building momentum, and the victory felt like a full-circle moment. 

“My mentor was Dr. Simpson,” recalls Dr. Soques. “To be able to FaceTime him and tell him the good news and see him brighten up, it meant the world.” 

For the competition, teams had to deliver a 15-minute presentation that analyzed the current state of the economy and offered policy recommendations to the Federal Open Market Committee. They were evaluated on economic analysis, responses to judges' questions, teamwork and presentation.  

“The challenge is an amazing opportunity for anyone interested in economics or monetary policy,” said Katie Davidson, a UNCW senior pursuing a double major in business analytics and economics with a minor in data science. Davidson hopes to one day work at the Federal Reserve Board.  

The team was also supported by students in the Economics 432 class taught by Dr. Soques. 

“This took a huge amount of teamwork,” said Davidson. “There is a five-person team presenting, but there are so many more behind the scenes working on the analytics, the graphing, the coding; we have a real sense of community from this experience.”  

“I'm really proud of the effort the students put forth,” said Dr. Soques. “It has been multiple years of hard work from various teams leading to this moment. This team worked together really well and I’m glad the Fed recognized that. We will continue to work hard to take home the trophy next year.” 

-- Krissy Vick 

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UNCW Fed Challenge Team Front Row (L to R): Juliette Girardin, Katie Davidson, Sinead O’Duffy Middle Row: Luke Felton, Silvio Kellermann, Adam Ragan Back Row: Daniel Soques, Adam Jones
UNCW Fed Challenge Team front row (L to R): Juliette Girardin, Katie Davidson, Sinead O’Duffy
Middle row: Luke Felton, Silvio Kellermann, Adam Ragan
Back row: Dr. Daniel Soques, Dr. Adam Jones