Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Sharing of ideas, research highlights 2017 Economics Student Research Day

April 5th, 2017
StFX student Julie Reaburn presents her honours thesis during the 2017 Economics Student Research Day

The research presented ranged from an analysis of how advanced statistics have changed the face of the NHL to the lack of access to clean drinking water in Indigenous communities in Canada and its effects on health.

In all, it was a great day of learning and sharing as nine StFX students presented their honours theses during the 2017 Economics Student Research Day held March 31 in Council Chambers, Bloomfield.

The daylong event included presentations by BA, BBA and B.Sc. students in four distinct sessions, “The Economics of Professional Sports,” “Economic Development,” “Financial Asset Prices,” and “Theory & Applications.” Presenting students included Christoph Hecker, Connor O’Brien, Julie Reaburn, Taylor Grady, Gordon La, Maria teNyenhuis, Sarah MacPhee, Taylor Chase and Patrick MacKinnon.

Economics Department chair Dr. Greg Tkacz, one of the organizers, says it is important to host a day like this. 

“First, students have worked long and hard on their theses, so we want to provide them with a forum where they can present their work in some detail to a large appreciative audience. They can provide far more technical details in this environment than they can in a poster session, which forces them to be succinct.”

The discussions that follow the presentations also often flush-out interesting research questions that could be pursued in the future, either by faculty or the next crop of honours students, he says. 

“Second, economics as a subject lies at the intersection of the Faculties of Arts, Science and Business, so an Economics Student Research Day brings together students from all these faculties in one room to share ideas and research findings. We, in fact, have had thesis presentations by BA, BBA and B.Sc. students, which aids in eliminating artificial faculty silos.”

The day’s format is similar to what students would see in an academic conference, so it gives them a taste of what they will encounter in graduate school or during their research careers. Not many undergraduate economics students in Canada benefit from this kind of experience in both the production and communication of their research, Dr. Tkacz says.

“Many students who have presented in the first two Economics Student Research Days have subsequently performed extremely well during their graduate studies, often placing at the very top of their classes; this is in no small part due to rigorous research training they have received here,” he says.


Dr. Tkacz says having seen what StFX grads can accomplish, graduate schools are now aggressively recruiting StFX students by offering top grads extremely generous financial packages.

“One school alone offered a total of about $200,000 to recruit five of our graduating students this year, or an average of $40,000 per student, which is phenomenal funding to pursue a one-year Master of Arts degree in economics. Only two of the five accepted this particular school's offer, which speaks to the generous competing offers they also received.”

He says students who have chosen to further their studies by pursuing a 12-month Master of Arts degree in economics were in total offered $600,000 in funding. Three students each received financial offers worth almost $45,000 from a single school, setting a new department record for most generous financial packages offered to our students for entry into a MA in economics program.


Dr. Tkacz says he is always excited to see the increasing number of second and third-year students who attend the Economics Research Day.

“They see what is expected of them in terms of thesis research and presentations, and so it motivates them to work hard in their final year to meet the high standards of those who came before them.”

Economics is a versatile discipline, pairing well with other subjects, he says. This year, for the first time students have even taken economics as part of a B.Sc. joint honours degree.


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