Meet the RAs

Keith Barnatchez

Research Department
Focus: macroeconomics; monetary policy and international finance
Research Projects: spillovers through global trade networks; market responses to macroeconomic policy news; forecasting of macroeconomic variables

I joined the research department in the summer of 2018 after graduating from Colby College. As a research assistant for Jenny Tang and Slavik Sheremirov, I've been involved in numerous projects covering different macroeconomic topics, primarily developing/solving models, wrangling data and writing statistical programs. These days, I've been working on a project that examines the role trade networks have in spreading economic shocks across countries.

Working at the Boston Fed has pushed me to expand my understanding of economics beyond what I learned in college, and more importantly it has allowed me to constantly refine the way I approach and solve abstract research problems. I have enjoyed the department’s collaborative environment and the strong camaraderie among the RAs. I've learned a great deal from my economists, as well as from my fellow RAs, and I have really appreciated how much everyone in the department enjoys sharing their knowledge and experience. The Fed is a great place to work for anyone who enjoys working on challenging data-driven problems, and especially for those considering graduate school for economics/public policy!

Meghana Bhaskar

Research Department
Focus: Financial Stability, Monetary Policy
Research Projects: Flights to quality triggered by financial risk-off episodes; adapting monetary policy tools to the changing composition of the Fed’s balance sheet

After receiving my MA in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, in 2019 I joined the Boston Fed as a research assistant to Joe Peek, Vice President and Economist in the Macro-Finance division.

In my relatively short time here, I have picked up valuable programming skills and strengthened my economic intuition while delving into the nitty-gritty aspects of policy work. Frequent chats with my economist have given me a good understanding about formulating and approaching an economic question and also have allowed me to explore further issues beyond the defined economic question at hand. I greatly value having a mentor in my economist who constantly inspires me to keep working towards my goals and is extremely invested in my development as a researcher.

The collegial environment at the Boston Fed’s Research Department is priceless for someone who’s transitioning from a school-setting to a work environment. The RA community is warm, welcoming, and extremely helpful to the incoming RAs.

My passion for economics has only strengthened since I started working here. Interacting with other economists and attending seminars at the research department has introduced me to different lines of work within the broader fields that interest me— international finance and monetary economics. Eventually, I want to get my PhD and become a research economist. Meanwhile, I look forward to learning and growing as much as I can while I’m here!

Ruth Cohen

Research Department
Focus: consumer payments, behavioral economics, household finance, financial technology
Research Projects: effects of the pandemic on credit card spending, consumer payment choice and expenditure, consumer responses to liquidity constraints

After receiving my BA in economics from Kenyon College, I joined the Boston Fed’s Research Department in 2020. I work with senior economist and policy advisor Joanna Stavins, assisting with projects concerning payment systems and consumer payment behavior. In a short time, I have seen my programming skills improve dramatically and have been exposed to almost every part of the economic research process.

While starting remotely is not ideal, the Research Department has been very welcoming and supportive. I have a firm grasp on the many resources the department offers and always feel comfortable asking questions. My economist and the other RAs have especially made efforts to get to know me, despite not being in the office together. I am learning skills and forming relationships that will be invaluable as I continue my career in economics. After my time at the Boston Fed, I plan to pursue economics in graduate school.

Catherine Cox

Research Department
Focus: applied microeconomics, labor economics, urban and regional economics
Research Projects: labor supply behavior, the effects of raising felony larceny thresholds, sectoral transitions

I joined the New England Public Policy Center in the Boston Fed’s Research Department in the summer of 2020 after graduating from the University of Michigan with a BS in economics and mathematical sciences. As a research assistant for senior economist Osborne Jackson, I have the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects, at all stages of the research process. Since I joined the Bank, I have been able to improve my statistical programming skills, gain greater familiarity with various economic topics, and increase my understanding of the research process. I am grateful that not only do I find my work interesting, but that I also am given context by my economist as to where my work fits into his projects.

Although I started at the Bank fairly recently, I am already seeing the benefits of working in such a collaborative and welcoming environment. I have been encouraged to ask questions and share any ideas that I may have. In the future, I hope to pursue a PhD in economics, and I believe that working as a Boston Fed RA will be great preparation.

Rachel Cummings

Research Department
Focus: macroeconomics; household consumption and saving; consumer behavior
Research Projects: consumer behavior regarding revolving credit card debt; labor market and job search efforts

After earning a BA in economics from Wellesley College, I joined the research department in the summer of 2019. I work closely with my economist, María José Luengo-Prado, on both research and policy-oriented projects. My assignments have expanded my fluency in various economic topics, the research process, and statistical programming.

Beyond having opportunities for my personal professional development, I am deeply appreciative of the supportive and collaborative environment that the Fed encourages. My fellow research assistants challenge me as much intellectually as my work with María does.

Looking ahead, I plan to pursue a PhD in economics. I look forward to taking advantage of the tuition reimbursement program and completing further coursework in mathematics and economics.

Kavish Gandhi

Research Department
Focus: macroeconomics, health economics
Research Projects: geographic disparities in US mortality

I joined the Boston Fed’s Research Department in the summer of 2020 after graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2019 with a BS in mathematics, and working for a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA data analyst at the Neighborhood Developers in Chelsea, Massachusetts. As a research assistant for senior economist and policy advisor Christopher Foote, I have had the opportunity to contribute in large and small ways to a number of projects, most prominently one focusing on geographic disparities in US mortality.

Since joining the Boston Fed, I have learned a great deal about the process of economic research, as well as significantly developed my proficiency in statistical programming across multiple languages. I have also been able to develop more fluency and intuition in connecting abstract research problems with real issues that I am passionate about. Finally, having started virtually, I have really appreciated the supportive and collegial environment at the Bank. In the future, I hope to pursue a PhD in economics or public policy, and the knowledge and skills I have developed and will continue to develop at the Boston Fed are a great step towards that end.

Melissa Gentry

Research Department
New England Public Policy Center
Focus: applied microeconomics, regional and public economics
Research Projects: rural/urban disparity, tax competition

I work as a research assistant to Jeffrey Thompson, director of the New England Public Policy Center (NEPPC) and a senior economist here at the Fed. I have worked on a variety of policy-oriented projects, an opportunity which has allowed me to become more comfortable in my Stata and data-processing abilities while furthering my knowledge on topics that I am passionate about. Getting to work one-on-one with my economist has been an invaluable experience because, as we move further along with the research, we will often discuss the results, which helps in developing my academic intuition. As an NEPPC RA I also get to assist my economist in producing slides for regional talks, a task that gives me a first-hand look into local economic conditions throughout New England as these relate to the post-recession recovery, poverty, and inequality. While I ultimately plan to pursue a PhD in economics or public policy, the Boston Fed is a great stepping stone along this path.

Lan Ha

Research Department
New England Public Policy Center
Focus: applied microeconomics; labor economics; public economics; the New England economy
Research Projects: labor market outcomes for criminal offenders; state aid and educational outcomes; local option meal tax

I joined the New England Public Policy Center in the summer of 2018 after receiving my BA in economics from Mount Holyoke College. I assist senior economist Bo Zhao on projects such as examining how the adoption of the local option meal tax affects municipalities in Massachusetts, and the relationship between state aid to universities and the number of approved patents obtained by research institutions. I have enjoyed the different stages of the research process and developing my statistical programming skills. I am grateful for the opportunity to be mentored and inspired by the department’s economists and by my colleagues every day.

If there is one common trait shared by all the RAs at the Boston Fed, it must be how much we appreciate the supportive, collegial, and collaborative environment our workplace provides. I am also excited to benefit from the tuition assistance program to take classes at local universities. The knowledge and skills gained from the research assistant program will be a tremendous help to refining my research interests and pursuing a PhD in economics in the near future.

Eric Hardy

Research Department
Focus: financial intermediation, monetary economics
Research Projects: The failure of supervisory stress testing, the time-varying price of financial intermediation in the mortgage market

I joined the Boston Fed’s Research Department in January 2020 as I completed my dissertation in economics at Boston University. As a research assistant for senior economist and policy advisor Paul Willen, I have worked on projects that combine microeconomic data and detailed institutional knowledge to shed light on topics with macroeconomic and policy relevance. I have learned a great deal about the mortgage market, and I am hopeful that I will be able to make use of this knowledge in future research.

Everyone I have interacted with when learning a new skill or asking research-related questions has been friendly and helpful, and I have greatly enjoyed working in the collaborative environment at the Boston Fed. Frequent research seminars cover a wide range of topics related to macroeconomics and monetary policy. Seminars provide an opportunity to learn from visiting presenters and to gain additional perspective through exposure to insightful questions and comments from the audience.

Nishan Jones

Research Department
Focus: macro/micro economic analysis, finance, monetary policy
Research Projects: household formation rates, how state policies related to COVID-19 impact consumer spending, forecasting in relation to consumer expectations

I joined the Boston Fed’s Research Department after receiving my BA in economics from the University of California, Berkeley. I am humbled to be matched with and work for Giovanni Olivei, a senior vice president and the deputy director of the department.

Although I joined the Boston Fed only recently, in the summer of 2020, my knowledge in regards to programming and various macro/micro economic topics has grown exponentially each day. I love having the experience of doing hands-on policy work and being able to apply economic intuition outside of a classroom setting. My economist constantly encourages my growth by allowing me to immerse myself in new data sets and to think of my own research questions for analysis. Confidence and independent thinking are two skills I believe play a large role in your ability to be an effective leader and economist. The experience I’ve had so far with my economist and others in the department has shown me that they value encouraging a growth mindset, enabling the other RAs and me to consistently recognize our full potential every day at work.

As I plan on continuing my studies in economics in a PhD program, I am beyond grateful to work in such a collaborative environment with other supportive RAs, economists, and staff who only want to see me to do my best and achieve my goals.

Morgan Klaeser

Research Department
New England Public Policy Center
Focus: Applied microeconomics, public finance, labor economics
Research Projects: education economics, school finance, health economics, the New England regional economy

I enjoy the independence and sense of ownership associated with my work as a research assistant for Katharine Bradbury, senior economist and policy advisor. My average day is spent taming data or writing statistical programs in Stata. I am happy to know that I can knock on my economist’s door with any questions or ideas that come to mind, a work environment that nicely complements my hands-on learning style. I am grateful to have support for my development and to learn what I can incorporate into my workflow to improve my performance. Receiving constant feedback, even from economists who I help with small tasks, helps me strengthen my economic intuition. Supporting the research of an economist with so much expertise in her field gives me access to an outstanding role model and inspires me to set high expectations of myself and my future goals.

As a Boston Fed research assistant I am exposed to everything involved in the research process, from the initial literature review to making final revisions to a paper before the journal submission. The multiple seminar series offered by the Fed give an up-close view of what a well-implemented project looks like across the various fields of economics. The excellent work-life balance at the Fed renders me with time to study independently, train for obstacle courses, and to explore the greater Boston area with my fellow RAs.

In the future, I hope to pursue a PhD in economics or management science and engineering.

Frankie Lin

Research Department
Focus: finance, macroeconomics
Research Projects: financial interconnectedness, monetary policy, multinational mergers

I joined the Boston Fed’s Research Department in the summer of 2020 and began working on various projects with senior economist Falk Bräuning and senior economist and policy advisor José Fillat. As an RA, I’ve been primarily collecting data, learning statistics, and developing my data management skills in Stata. The Boston Fed is a wonderful place to learn about current topics in economics and develop one’s research expertise, and it is certainly an interesting time to be involved in this new era of monetary policy.

The environment here is extremely supportive. I am constantly learning from the economists and my fellow RAs in the department through the extensive training program and collaborative efforts. Furthermore, the Fed encourages RAs to take classes at local universities in Boston through the tuition assistance program, a benefit that I will take advantage of in the future. As someone who would like to go on to graduate school, I will definitely be able to utilize the skills I will gain during my time here in a PhD program.

Samuel Makikalli

Research Department
Focus: applied microeconomics, health economics, labor economics
Research Projects: socioeconomic outcomes of medical treatments, informal labor market

I joined the Boston Fed’s Research Department in the summer of 2019 after graduating from Lewis & Clark College with a BA in economics and international affairs. As a research assistant for senior economist Mary Burke, I have the opportunity to explore a wide range of fascinating topics. I may spend one week measuring participation rates in the informal labor market, and then spend the next week analyzing the health and socioeconomic outcomes of opioid treatment programs. Having some variety in my own projects, proximity to numerous other researchers, and access to relevant seminars are just some examples of how the Research Department offers constant exposure to a host of new material from diverse fields of economics. Furthermore, as a research assistant I can observe and participate in every step of a project’s life cycle—including the formulation of a question, the implementation of experiments/surveys, the analysis of large data sets, and the production of final materials for publication.

The Boston Fed offers a supportive and intellectually stimulating environment for a developing researcher to narrow down their specific research interests and hone their technical skills while simultaneously contributing to meaningful policy analysis. Daily collaboration with economists and other research assistants continuously pushes my knowledge of econometrics and improves my competency as an analyst. In time, these combined experiences will serve as an asset as I pursue a PhD in economics, political economy, or public policy.

Mark Manion

Supervision, Regulation, and Credit Department
Supervisory Research and Analysis Unit
Focus: financial economics; banking, regulation; asset pricing
Research Projects: credit default swap markets; systemic risk; bank interdependence

As a research assistant in the Supervisory Research and Analysis Unit, I have been exposed to a variety of stimulating research projects conducted by the several economists and fellow research assistants that form this tightly-knit group. The ability to attend frequent seminars by accomplished and impactful economists has been and will continue to be one of my favorite aspects of my immersion into the wide-ranging field of economic research here at the Fed. The unique collaborative environment at the Boston Fed also provides a wonderful resource for improving upon critical computer programming, statistical analysis, and other quantitative skills as well as the opportunity to contribute to relevant research that helps to shape the policy decisions that affect our financial system.

Krish Nagaraj

Supervision, Regulation, and Credit Department
Supervisory Research and Analysis Unit
Focus: financial economics, bank tail risk and credit risk management
Research Projects: bank risk appetite frameworks, risk limits metrics, credit card portfolio management during the COVID-19 crisis

I joined the Boston Fed after completing my undergraduate degree in applied mathematics at the University of Texas at Dallas. As an RA in the Supervisory Research and Analysis Unit of the Supervision, Regulation, and Credit Department, I work with financial economists while also interacting with quantitative analysts and others with interdisciplinary backgrounds in financial market strategy. Thus I have plenty of opportunity to learn on a day-to-day basis about how various projects undertaken at the Fed affect the financial markets and the broader economy through meetings and seminars given by other academics and economists. In particular, I have learned to work with multiple statistical software packages and perform regressions and simulations to assist economists in performing research. These projects have also involved collecting and cleaning data for analysis, automating data processing and visualization, and performing related tasks.

Throughout the research process and the work I have done so far, I have received guidance and support from my supervisor and other economists. Furthermore, other senior RAs have also assisted my transition into the role by providing information and sharing their experiences. Resources such as the tuition reimbursement program, the flexible work policy, and the insights gained from work experience are incredibly helpful as I plan to go on to graduate school in economics in the future.

Melanie Qing

Research Department
Focus: finance and macroeconomic issues
Research Projects: FinTech marketplace lending

I joined the research department as a research assistant in 2019 after graduating from Boston College. While there are many aspects of my position that I enjoy, the most valuable one is the Boston Fed’s commitment toward fostering an environment that is both academically driven and focused on the individual development of its research assistants. I have the unique opportunity to work one-on-one with senior economist and policy advisor, Christina Wang, who has helped me to refine my programming skills, expand my knowledge of empirical analysis, and strengthen my economic intuition. Additionally, the bank encourages me to continue taking classes and offers a flexible work schedule to support this educational goal. After working at the Boston Fed, I hope to enter a graduate program in economics.

Robert Remuszka

Research Department
Focus: macroeconomics, monetary policy, expectations
Research Projects: household expectation formation, monetary policy identification with high-frequency data

I came to the Boston Fed’s Research Department in the summer of 2020 after studying economics at Rutgers University. As research assistant to senior economist and policy advisor Philippe Andrade I work on projects that study monetary policy and its effect on macroeconomic expectations.

Being so recent a graduate, I have just begun my work at the Bank. Nonetheless, I am already gaining skills that will prove useful for an aspiring PhD student and economist like myself. In particular, I have been exposed to the fine details of research while gaining insight into the dynamics of a research project in economics.

I highly value the work environment at the Boston Fed. As a new RA, I am grateful for the welcoming environment that my fellow RAs and the department maintain. I look forward to the many opportunities for professional development here at the Bank as well as the many valuable relationships an RA stands to foster.

Justin Rohan

Research Department
Focus: macroeconomics, monetary economics, economic growth
Research Projects: consumption heterogeneity and the coronavirus

I joined the Boston Fed’s Research Department in June 2020 after graduating with a BS in mathematics and economics from Northeastern University. At the Fed, I work as a research assistant with economists Vaishali Garga and Christopher Cotton. Since starting I have been able to work on research directly related to the ongoing coronavirus crisis and its economic impact.

Working at the Boston Fed has helped me grow in my theoretical knowledge of economics, in my practical coding/data science skills, and in my knowledge of the research process. I feel lucky to work at a place where I have so many opportunities for growth and where I am so supported by my fellow RAs and the entire Boston Fed staff. I definitely believe being a research assistant at the Boston Fed will better prepare me for grad school and give me a better picture of what I want to pursue in the future.

Andrew Roberts

Supervision, Regulation, and Credit Department
Supervisory Research and Analysis Unit
Focus: quantifying the uncertainty in results of bank stress testing models

As an RA in the Supervisory Research and Analysis Unit, I have had the opportunity to work with a variety of quantitative analysts and economists. My role as a member of the Model Risk Management Group puts me in the unique position of being able to experience the wide scope of the Fed’s system of internal stress testing models.

Working at the Boston Fed has already provided me with many resources and experiences that will aide me going forward in my career. On a daily basis I am able to improve my skills in computer programing and statistical analysis, as well as gain comfort working with complicated, real-world data. Furthermore, the Fed’s tuition reimbursement program offers me the incredible opportunity to take classes relevant both to my work at the Bank and to a graduate degree I hope to pursue in the near future.

Thu Tran

Research Department
Focus: international macroeconomics, labor economics
Research Projects: the implications of invoicing currency in international trade, the capital structures of multi-international corporations, cyclical changes in unemployment insurance eligibility

After graduating from Mount Holyoke College in 2017, I joined the Boston Fed as an RA in the Research Department’s New England Public Policy Center and then moved to the department’s International Macroeconomics group. Working with economists Omar Barbiero and Dhiren Patki, I have had the opportunity to get involved in challenging and relevant research projects on a wide range of topics, from unemployment insurance to invoicing currency in international trade. I have enjoyed every stage of the research process, from literature review and data collection and analysis to editing and revision.

During my time at the Fed, I have become more comfortable working with big data and gained valuable skills in various programming languages. I have also grown in my economic thinking, not only through research projects and weekly seminars, but also through insightful discussions with my colleagues. Furthermore, I love the collegial and supportive environment of the department; the people here have become my mentors and my friends. My experience at the Bank has definitely helped shape my research interests and prepared me for graduate school. I cannot recommend the Boston Fed’s RA program enough to anyone who wants to gain more insight into economic research.

Xiyu Wang

Supervision, Regulation and Credit Department
Supervisory Research and Analysis Unit
Focus: finance; bank regulation; stress testing
Research Projects: econometrics; interbank networks; mortgage markets; standardized abnormal returns

I came to the Boston Fed after two years of working in the private sector as a data analyst and developer, and I am currently working with the economists in the Supervisory Research and Analysis Unit. Since I joined the Bank, I have had the chance to gain valuable experience working on research projects and policy briefs involving banking and the financial industry. These projects have involved data collecting, running simulations, reading the academic literature, and using statistical software for data analysis.

In addition to gaining an exposure to the research projects currently being conducted in finance, I have also attended research seminars from visiting presenters, attended training sessions on different tools used for research, and have met colleagues also interested in economics and research. The Boston Fed has been a very good learning environment, and even provides tuition reimbursement at local universities. As someone who is considering graduate school programs in the near future, the support and resources available here are invaluable.

Zorah Zafari

Research Department
Focus: macroeconomics, international economics, monetary policy
Research Projects: consumer spending and mobility patterns, labor supply, consumption, employment patterns, household finance, and COVID-19-related forecasting

Starting an economic research position during a global economic crisis has been a unique and humbling experience. Prior to joining the Boston Fed’s Research Department, I studied economics, global politics, and mathematics at Arizona State University. In the short time I have been here, the learning curve has been quite steep and I learn something new every day. One of the many tasks I enjoy is creating different graphs and charts with complicated data sets in order to understand the data in a less complicated way. I particularly like learning about the various ways I can approach data and shape it to answer different questions.

I work closely with senior economist and policy advisor Daniel Cooper, who always encourages me to ask questions to help maximize my learning. My favorite part of being an RA is the support offered by everyone around me, including fellow research assistants. My predecessor also made my transition into this position as smooth as possible. Being a Boston Fed RA has strengthened my passion for studying economics; I can’t wait to grow more into this position to gain the critical skills I need to apply to a PhD program in economics. I am excited for the doors this position will open for me as I go forward in my career in research and policy analysis.