News Feature

Symposium Educates Area Youth About the Global Economy

Students study a variety of issues connected to the world’s markets

On Thursday, Feb. 25, Bridgewater State University hosted the second Global Economic Issues Symposium for nearly 100 middle and high school students from Brockton and East Greenwich, R.I. The event paired teams in a competition where the students presented research on important global economic issues.


The event was organized by Dr. Margaret Brooks, professor of economics and director of BSU’s Office of Financial Literacy Initiatives, in cooperation with Cedric Turner, CEO of Empower Yourself, a Brockton-based nonprofit agency whose goal is to educate underserved youth in urban areas in matters of financial literacy.


Students made presentations in the Dana Mohler-Faria Center for Science and Mathematics during a morning session where students responded to questions from a panel of judges, who ultimately ranked the teams according to their understanding of the problems studied. In the afternoon, the groups convened in the Dunn Conference Center for lunch and the awarding of plaques to the winning teams.


“It is critical for students to understand and seek solutions to today’s global economic problems,” said Dr. Brooks. “The quest for economic and financial literacy does not stop at our nation’s borders. International markets impact many aspects of our lives, from the goods and services we buy, to the financial decisions we make.”


The teams of students worked together to identify global problems and suggested solutions. Seeing the young people digging into tough issues like this gladdened Professor Brooks.


“It was exciting to see so many students working together on teams to identify global problems and find solutions,” she said. “The students spoke with passion and conviction as they presented their ideas for making the world a better place to live. The organizers and judges were very impressed by the high quality of the teams’ research and presentations.”


Dr. Madhavi Venkatesan, assistant professor of economics at BSU, who has been working with Dr. Brooks on financial literacy objectives, was present for the competition and awards ceremony. She spoke at the first Global Issues Symposium in January and told Dr. Brooks she wanted to be involved in helping the students prepare for the recent symposium. She then spent two days a week in Brockton working with the students.


“I had the opportunity to edit and comment on the presentation slides and the oral presentations, and to just provide that little bit of assistance to contribute to already highly motivated, intelligent and gifted orators,” Dr. Venkatesan continued. “Because my involvement was a mutual interest it was from the beginning a ‘win-win.’ I am so proud of these students and their creativity! Some of the topics were unique and could offer significant improvement to our society.”


Of the four teams she worked with, each earned a top place in the competition, and one even had an idea that, Professor Venkatesan said, she believes will revolutionize U.S. college sports.


The event was sponsored by Citizens Bank, Eastern Bank, and Bridgewater State University. A list of winners is below. (Story and photos by David K. Wilson, ’71, University News & Media)


High School Division Winners:


1st Place:


Team Name: Income and Inequality

Students' Names: Opal Polynice and Angela Girodier

School: Brockton High


2nd Place:

Team Name: Illicit Drugs

Students' Names: Mary Sanon, Marshall Delpe, Angela Frazis, Maria Cardoso, and Guidelson Celamy

School: Brockton High


3rd Place:

Team Name: Game of Loans

Students' Names: Jordan Faye, Asad Aden, Megan Geslin, and Maite-Abigail Denis

School: Brockton High


Middle School Division Winners:


1st Place:

Team Name: The Lost Generation

Students' Names: Nick Sanzi, Chris Teng, Max Hofstetter, Anita Milsom, Sydney Fay, Stella Younkin, Jake Barron, Jack Gecawich, and Ella Corraro

School: East Greenwich - Cole Middle School


2nd Place:

Team Name: Women’s Educational Rights

Students' Names: Jessica Caterson, Talin Calikyan, Kavana Girish, Maya Barnes, Maddie Curnow, Kate Burbridge, and Gabriela Daumont

School: East Greenwich - Cole Middle School


3rd Place:

Team Name: Global Warming

Students' Names: Abdul Abbas, Josh Lovering, Jaylen Darosa, Taliyah Houston


School: Brockton – Ashfield Middle School