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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Morgan Klaeser

Research Department
Focus: applied microeconomics, health-care economics, industrial organization, macroeconomics
Research Projects: school finance, health-care system spillovers, socioeconomic effects of medical policies, bank incentives in the PPP, liquidity facility policy evaluation, firm distributions, corporate finance, monetary policy implementation

I joined the Boston Fed’s Research Department in 2019 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I studied Russian language, mathematics, and economics. During my tenure with the department, first with the New England Public Policy Center and now with the Macro-Finance unit, I have been involved in projects ranging from analyzing the effect of state funding on racial achievement gaps to understanding how the structure of corporate finance affects shock transmission to the real economy.

As a research assistant, I have had the privilege of working closely with just a few economists—Katharine Bradbury, Mary Burke, and Gustavo Joaquim—throughout the full life cycle of projects. Because I am exposed to every twist and turn throughout the process, I am able to see their strategies for executing high-quality research. I have had the opportunity to learn how to effectively communicate with external data vendors, work with domain experts in the field, track down new data sources, influence the direction of a project, delve into lit reviews, and work alongside outstandingly intelligent, upbeat, and helpful aspiring researchers (the other RAs!).

My favorite aspect of being a research assistant is that I am often challenged to become an expert on something very quickly. This could be innovating computational efficiency within the limitations of a restricted computing environment, reading up on prescribing laws pertaining to medications, or learning the administrative ins and outs of COVID-19 emergency relief funding. I’ve learned about many laws, algorithms, networks, markets, and cutoffs I’d like to explore during my days as a PhD student!

My supervisors at the Boston Fed have been supportive of my own academic development and work-life balance. I have taken intriguing math classes that I hope will bolster the strength of my grad school applications through the Fed’s reimbursement policy. More importantly (to me personally), I have been able to audit PhD-level seminars through local universities in areas in which I hope to pursue research. These development opportunities have not only improved my job performance, they have helped me think critically about how to take what I've learned about economics at the Fed and build off of it.

My role at the Fed has helped me feel confident about applying to PhD programs in economics and systems engineering. I would highly recommend this position to anyone interested in pursuing a higher degree in economics, law, statistics, or public policy.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.