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Mount St. Mary’s Finishes Third Nationally In College Fed Challenge

(12/1) A six-member team of Mount St. Mary’s University economics students finished third in the nation in the Fed Challenge competition November 29, in Washington, D.C. The Mount team had previously won the Federal Reserve Board of Richmond (Va.) Regional College Fed Challenge competition November 18, enabling them to compete in the national competition.

Three economists, including Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, presided over the national championship competition at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors Building. Northwestern, the defending national champion, took the title again this year, while SUNY at Geneseo was the runner-up.

Team members from the Mount included senior Jennifer Grim; juniors Katherine Herzog, Catherine Muething and Philip Bauchan; and sophomores Brian Ogle and Matt Sanicola. Mount St. Mary’s is the only school to have participated in all nine College Fed Challenge competitions. The Mount won the contest once (1999), and has placed second twice (1997 and 2001).

"I am delighted with this year’s team performance. The Mount looks forward each fall semester to the Fed Challenge, since it gives our economics students an important project in which they can display their skills and knowledge," said Frank Zarnowski, professor of economics and moderator for the Mount squad. "To have the opportunity to compete for the national championship, against schools like Northwestern and SUNY at Geneseo, speaks very highly of the quality of our students, and the Mount’s economics program."

The Baltimore Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond introduced the College Fed Challenge in 1996. The competition asks economics students to undertake research, analyze data about current and near term economic conditions, and make a 20-minute presentation to a panel of Federal Reserve judges­in which they recommend policy for the Federal Reserve­and defend their position.

The College Fed Challenge is intended to help students become more knowledgeable about the Fed and the decision-making process of the Federal Open Market Committee, the Federal Reserve's monetary policy-setting group.

Each team’s presentation included a discussion of current economic and financial conditions, near-term forecast of economic and financial conditions that affect monetary policy, identification of risks that threaten the economic well-being of the country, and a recommendation as to the action the Fed should take with regard to short-term interest rates.

During the question and answer session, judges asked questions about arguments made or data addressed in the team's presentation, how policy-makers might respond to hypothetical economic scenarios, and the Fed's monetary policy-making and implementation process.

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