During the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s annual Math X Economics program, which is coordinated by the Economic Research department, students from Ruskin and Center High Schools got an inside look at the field of economics and the Fed.
Bank President Esther George gave opening remarks and explained the mission areas of the Fed and how economists at the Bank support our monetary policy function.
“Whether you’re going to be an economist, go into finance or explore other options, think about this particular aspect as a possibility someday,” George said. “I want you to think that there could be an opportunity for you at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.”
The morning was filled with insight into economics and how the Bank values knowledge of math and economics. Students heard about the field of economics from employees at the Bank and played games to develop skills related to probability and statistics. A panel of Bank employees shared their career paths with students and took time to answer questions to help the students better understand what jobs in economics look like.
“They are a bunch of smart kids with good questions,” said Thealexa Becker, a data scientist in the CADRE department. “I got the impression they were thinking more about their careers than just what to choose for a major.”
The students, a mix of sophomores, juniors and seniors, are high achievers who are mostly college bound. Terri Redden of Ruskin High School, who teaches business classes and has been at the school for 25 years, enjoyed watching students participate in probability games and learn about technology applications that apply to data science.
“As a business teacher, I’m all about the numbers,” Redden said. “With this generation, everything is on their phone, but they don’t always connect technology to the business world. They need to be connected to this environment.”
Jayden Phi, a junior at Center High School, was a top scorer in the Math X Economics game activity. He thought the whole experience was great, but particularly appreciated the insight he gleaned from his fellow competitors.
“You learn a lot about people, who are more business-savvy,” he said.
Sarai Hunter, a senior at Center High School, will start at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in the fall. She plans to major in accounting and actuarial science because she really likes math. During the career panel she asked Bank representatives about their degrees and how their careers evolved. She walked away with a better perspective on careers with a math focus.
“I feel like I have more options available to me now than I thought,” she said. “I can use math for a variety of them.”
Vice President and Senior Research and Policy Adviser Jon Willis provided closing remarks, sharing his career path and his favorite parts of his work.
“All of you have two main resources—time and money—and economics is about how you decide to use them,” he said. “Part of my work is to look at how individual decisions add up to impact the whole economy.”