Meet the RAs

Hope Bodenschatz

Research Department
Focus: applied microeconomics, household finance, labor economics, public economics
Research Projects: racial wealth inequality

After graduating from Penn State University with an MA and BS in economics, as well as BAs in geography and political Science, I joined the Boston Fed’s New England Public Policy Center (NEPPC) in June 2021. I support the work of vice president and economist Jeffrey Thompson, director of the NEPPC. As my first major project, I am contributing to work studying racial wealth gaps. In addition to gathering articles for the literature review, I am gaining experience with new data sets and improving my coding skills and efficiency. My work also provides opportunities to study other aspects of the New England and national economies. Helping my economist prepare for regional talks and being involved with NEPPC events and projects have given me an up-close view of the policy issues and possibilities of our time.

While my work has been fully remote so far, the Research Department has offered a welcoming and collegial environment online; I am looking forward to collaborating with my colleagues in person. It is truly a pleasure to work with and learn from economists who are passionate about public economics. My work as an RA at the Boston Fed will be a tremendous asset when it is time for me to take the next step (possibly a PhD in economics); not only will I have well-honed skills developed by contributing to meaningful research, but I also expect to have a greater awareness of how best to deploy those skills to make a difference in our world.

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.

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.

Noah Flater

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 Bank’s Research Department in June 2021 after graduating with degrees in economics and mathematics from the University of Maryland, College Park. I mostly work on projects dealing with topics in macroeconomics and monetary policy for senior economists Jenny Tang and Slavik Sheremirov.

So far, the feature of this job that stands out to me as the best is that I’m always learning. Every project has unique features that I have to become familiar with; this constant exploration and expansion of my knowledge keeps me on my toes and helps me build a skill set for my future work in the world of economics, policy, and data science. Additionally, everyone who works here is very helpful—there is a culture of cooperation and camaraderie in the Research Department, and I look forward to building friendships with my coworkers.

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.

Eli Inkelas

Research Department
Focus: applied microeconomics, public economics, the New England economy
Research Projects: state aid and educational outcomes, local option meals tax

After graduating from Carleton College with a BA in economics and a minor in mathematics, I joined the research department in the spring of 2021. I work closely with my economist, Bo Zhao, whose recent research topics include state funding for public universities and the adoption of new tax policies by municipalities in Massachusetts. I also assist my economist with public policy presentations, which provide fascinating insights into the workings of the New England economy. I have already learned a great deal about project management and research design while also developing my skills in the Stata programming language. The one-on-one time I have with my economist, even in a virtual setting, has been incredibly valuable in my first year in the Research Department.

While working remotely, I am grateful for the network of RAs, economists, and policy analysts in the Research Department, who have been incredibly supportive both professionally and personally. I look forward to learning even more from them in the coming years as I refine my own research interests and prepare for a PhD program in economics or public policy.

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.

Garrett Knappe

Research Department
Focus: macroeconomics, monetary economics
Research Topics: historical inflation expectations, survey data on consumer expectations during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic

After graduating from Rutgers University-New Brunswick with a BA in mathematics and a BA in economics, I joined the Boston Fed's Research Department in June 2022. I work with Philippe Andrade, a senior economist and policy advisor.

Working as an RA at the Boston Fed has been a great experience. There is a collegiate environment in which you can collaborate with your colleagues. Everyone is very welcoming and dedicated to their work. In my work here so far, I have learned how to better code and analyze data while working with survey data. I have focused on projects dealing largely with the formations and effects of expectations, whether household or firm. I plan to utilize the experience and skills that I gain from working here when I apply to a graduate program in economics.

Diane Lin

Research Department
Focus: financial stability, monetary policy
Research Projects: corporate bond rating announcements, COVID-19 loan programs

I joined the Boston Fed’s Research Department in January 2021 as a research assistant to vice president and economist Joe Peek after receiving my BA in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Working at the Boston Fed has enabled me to improve my programming skills and economic intuition, learn more about various aspects of the research process, and gain a better understanding of how to work with real-world data. I greatly value the support from fellow RAs and the opportunity to be mentored by the economists I work with. These experiences I’ve gained in a collaborative and supportive environment will definitely prepare me for graduate school.

Lucy McMillan

Research Department
Focus: macroeconomics, banking, labor economics
Research: modeling effects of credit supply shocks on banks, bank lender-borrower matching, unemployment insurance and opioid overdose mortality in the United States

I joined the Research Department in the spring of 2021 after graduating from MIT with a BS in mathematical economics and minors in public policy and environment and sustainability. At the Boston Fed, I work with economists Gustavo Joaquim in the macro-finance group and Pinghui Wu in the New England Public Policy Center on various economic questions relevant to the U.S. economy. By working for two economists in different groups of the Research Department, I am able to do research at both the macro and micro levels while gaining insights into various types of economics. I enjoy being able to combine my data-analytics skills with critical thinking in order to assist both economists in both their policy work and papers, and I am grateful for the collaborative, supportive research environment that the Boston Fed offers. I have learned a lot from both my economists and fellow research assistants thus far and am looking forward to gaining more experience in the field as I figure out whether I want to pursue a further degree in economics and/or policy.

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.

Zachary Orlando

Research Department
Focus: international macroeconomics, international finance, public economics
Research Projects: exposure channels of multinational corporations, the effect of pandemic unemployment benefits on consumption

I joined the Boston Fed’s Research Department in April 2021 after completing an honor’s degree in economics at the University of Sydney. Working as an RA at the Bankl has pushed me to expand my capabilities in data analysis and economic research beyond an undergraduate level. A typical day for me involves data wrangling, often using new and unconventional economic data sets; reading papers; and relating my findings to a larger research project.

The Research Department, and in particular my economists, Dhiren Patki and Omar Barbiero, value collaboration, and I am encouraged to ask questions and share my ideas. I am currently assisting my economists with two projects. The first is focused on gaining a better understanding of how economic shocks affect multinational corporations, and the second is focused on the consumption effects of unemployment insurance.

Being an incoming RA during the COVID-19 pandemic can be daunting, and I was lucky to join a supportive RA community here and to have two mentors who are invested in my personal well-being.

I would recommend this position to those who enjoy economic research and want to develop their analytical and coding skills in a collaborative research environment. In the future, I hope to pursue a PhD in economics and am sure that my time as a Boston Fed RA will enable me to hit the ground running.

John O'Shea

Research Department
Research Projects: inflation expectations, price level determination, government expenditure and national debt

Prior to joining the Boston Fed's Research Department, I completed my BA in economics and BS in statistics at the University of Florida as well as an MPhil in economics at the University of Cambridge. I work with economists Vaishali Garga and Christopher Cotton in the macro-international group. Since I started, I have had a lot of practice cleaning and visualizing data, reading and working through macroeconomic models (particularly those pertaining to price level determination), and partaking in various parts of the macroeconomic research process. I have also greatly improved my programming and software skills in various statistical packages, including Stata and Python.

The Research Department has been incredible in helping me make the most of my time at the Bank. The other research assistants are often eager to provide guidance when I am struggling with a programming or data question. Chris and Vaishali are also great mentors, often walking me through the nuances of the macroeconomic models we are working with so that I understand the intuition behind the otherwise abstract equations and formulas.

I hope to apply the expertise I acquire at the Boston Fed toward further graduate studies and continued research into the macroeconomic implications of climate change.

Leonid Rempel

Supervision, Regulation and Credit
Focus: quantifying the uncertainties underlying the results of bank stress-testing models

I joined the Boston Fed in June 2021 after earning a master’s degree in applied economics from Boston College and working with the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Working within the Model Risk Management Group has allowed me to learn about the Fed’s internal stress-testing models and apply my knowledge of analytical models and statistics.

My role motivates me to learn more about computer programming involving everything from database structure to distributed computing. The invaluable environment the Fed provides to improve my skills in this area has allowed me to explore which parts of the analysis production process I find most enjoyable and better determine what data science roles I may want to pursue next.

Matthew Sexton

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

After graduating from the College of the Holy Cross with BAs in economics and political science with a minor in statistics, I joined the New England Public Policy Center of the Boston Fed's Research Department in June 2022. I work as a research assistant to senior economist Osborne Jackson, whose recent projects include examinations of job displacement and sectoral mobility, the impact of felony larceny thresholds on crime, and potential supply side discrimination in the Boston taxi market.

Though I started at the Bank only recently, I have already been immersed in an array of projects, all at various stages. Through assignments ranging from revision work on previous papers to an exploration of a potential new topic concerning local government, I have been able to vastly improve my skills regarding statistical programming, reviewing legislation and empirical literature, and data exploration, and my overall understanding of the research process. During my time here, I have learned that the Fed is the perfect place for individuals who want to be challenged by data-driven problems that constantly require you to think deeper.

The Boston Fed provides a collaborative environment in which my ideas and input are not only encouraged but appreciated. In addition to helping build my economics skill set, my time at the Bank has provided me with a cohort of amazing RAs with whom I have been given the opportunity to grow on a personal level. I am grateful to not only work alongside them, but to be able to call them my friends.

Since joining the Bank, my passion for economics has only expanded. Talking with economists in the department, as well as my fellow RAs, has introduced me to interesting areas of economics with which I was initially unfamiliar. I am eagerly awaiting what is to come in my time at the Fed, and I am excited to continue delving deeper into a realm of new topics.

I hope to pursue a PhD in economics, an MBA, or a similarly analytical venture in the future, and I know that the work I am doing now at the Bank will allow me to thrive on whichever path I choose.

Stephen Shannon

Supervision, Regulation, and Credit Department
Focus: data collection, cleaning and preparation, visualization and analysis for various research topics
Research Projects: international bank rights offerings, global risk measures and international lending, institutional correlation during fire sale shocks

Working at the Boston Fed has provided me great opportunities to grow professionally, and to learn about economic and financial topics. Being an RA has provided me the resources and mentorship to further my professional and educational goals. Currently, I'm planning to pursue a master's degree in applied statistics from UMass Amherst.

Brenton Stefko

Research Department
Focus: financial markets, banking, macroeconomics
Research Topics: cost-price relationships in a concentrated economy, the relation between foreign direct investment and firm risk premia

I joined the Boston Fed's Research Department in August 2022 after completing my master's degree in economics at the Barcelona School of Economics. At the Fed, I work with senior economists and policy advisors José Fillat and Falk Bräuning to answer questions of macro-financial relevance. Having joined the Bank at an extremely interesting and challenging period for this field, I find it fascinating to engage in research that may have implications for monetary policy decisions. For example, one project that I have worked on studies whether cost shocks tend to be passed through to prices to a greater degree in more concentrated industries.

My economists' work often builds on large micro-level data sets (for example, bank balance sheet and loan-level data). Consequently, in the short time that I have been here, I have improved my programming skills and have begun to build a detailed understanding of how these data sets are constructed. This knowledge is likely to be highly useful for my own future research. In addition, working at the Boston Fed has allowed me to see how theoretical concepts I studied in graduate school are applied in economic research, which has helped me to understand these concepts on a deeper level. Thus, I expect the skills that I have accumulated as a research assistant at the Federal Reserve to be immensely useful if I pursue a PhD in economics in the future.

Luke Stewart

Research Department
Focus: applied microeconomics, household finance, labor economics, public economics
Research Projects: racial wealth inequality

I joined the Research Department after graduating with a degree in economics from MIT in May 2022. I was immediately able to meaningfully contribute to both research and policy-oriented projects for senior economist and policy advisor Chris Foote. In my short time at the Bank, I have already learned so much about the economic research process and the important topics on which we conduct research. My work has been multifaceted. I have cleaned data sets, estimated models, reviewed documentation, and discussed the underlying ideas of our research. I have spent much of my first few months contributing to a project on the impact of demographic trends on the national labor market, which has granted me familiarity with data sets and statistical techniques that I can apply to a broad range of other topics.

Besides all that I am learning, I am grateful to feel welcomed into the community of the Research Department, which makes coming to work every day a genuinely enjoyable and rewarding experience. I anticipate learning much more and gaining many more skills in my time at the Bank, and these skills and experiences will serve me greatly when I make the next step in my career. I plan to attend graduate school either in economics or a related field. My work at the Bank is preparing me to excel in whichever field I choose to pursue and to carry out the Bank's mission of public service that makes a difference.

Justin Sun

Research Department
Focus: financial markets, banking, macroeconomics
Research Topics: credit supply shocks and their impact, bank covenants in the leveraged loan market

I joined the Boston Fed's Research Department in June 2022 after graduating from Cornell University with BAs in economics and computer science. In my short time working at the Bank with senior economists and policy advisors Falk Bräuning and José Fillat, I have already started working on multiple projects in areas of economics that are new to me, providing me with valuable learning experiences. At the same time, I am constantly exposed to new programming and statistical methods that economists use, which allows me to both understand the literature and develop my quantitative skills.

Whether it's collaborating with other RAs on a project, hearing about their other projects, or simply hanging out, working as part of a group of RAs has been a very rewarding experience. I look forward to using the valuable knowledge and encouragement I receive daily from members of the Research Department to support me in my future endeavors.

Tanner Thering

Research Department
Focus: applied microeconomics, labor economics, health economics
Research Topics: opioid use disorder treatment and employment among individuals with OUD, informal employment

I joined the Bank's Research Department in June 2022 after graduating from Michigan State University with a BS in economics. I work with senior economist and policy advisor Mary Burke on projects researching the relationship between opioid use disorder treatment and employment. Working with the New England Public Policy Center, I am also responsible for collecting and organizing information about the economy of the First District. Since joining the Bank, I have gained insight into how to conduct impactful economic research, and I have refined my programming skills and economic knowledge. The supportive atmosphere among the Research Department's economists and research assistants has been a great working and learning environment. I can recommend the RA position to anyone looking to work with a welcoming, collaborative group of highly motivated economics students. When I leave the Bank, I hope to pursue a graduate degree in economics, public policy, or a related empirical field.

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.

Calvin Zhang

Research Department
Focus: macroeconomics, finance, econometrics
Research Topics: bank lending behavior, lender and borrower matching, spatial data

After graduating from the University of Chicago with an economics specialization data science degree, I joined the Boston Fed as an RA for senior economist and policy advisor Christina Wang. So far, our work primarily focuses on geographical, hard, and soft criteria for lender-borrower selection and matching.

Being an RA at the Boston Fed has been a rewarding experience in many ways. I work on interesting projects that use quite novel data. I've had opportunities to collaborate in depth with my economist in many stages of the research process: the theoretical frameworks, data wrangling, regressions, and more. I'm challenged to problem-solve, bring initiatives, and learn something new every day. On top of doing the technical work, I am part of a cohort of RAs at the Boston Fed that is incredibly supportive and collegial.

I plan to apply to graduate school in economics, and I'm certain my experiences at the Boston Fed are preparing me well for research.