Rachel Jordan decided to come to UMass Lowell before she ever visited the campus – in large part because the chair of the Economics Department was Prof. Monica Galizzi.
“I had already visited all of the other schools I’d applied to, and nothing about them really stood out for me,” she says. “When I saw that the chair of the department at UMass Lowell was a woman, I was like, ‘Wow! That’s cool.’”
Shortly afterward, Jordan came to a campus event for admitted students and spoke with Galizzi in person. She says their conversation only confirmed her choice.
“She made a lasting impression on me,” Jordan says. “She said she would be happy to answer any questions I had about the department and help me to choose a school, even if it ended up not being UMass Lowell, because there are so few women going into economics.”
Jordan had fallen in love with economics during a class at Lynn Classical High School. She applied early action to UMass Lowell and was accepted to the university and the Honors College. And she was offered a financial aid package that was, well – economical.
She also fell in love with what she saw of the UML campus and Lowell online, because it reminded her of her hometown, Lynn, Mass.
“I had been Googling pictures of Lowell and people working at the school,” she says. “It’s very diverse, like Lynn, and you have all the old mill buildings. So I was like, ‘This is my second home!’”
Since arriving on campus, Jordan has added minors in Spanish and finance. She’s joined the Economics Club and the Federal Reserve Challenge team, which spends months doing intensive research and preparation before the annual competition.
She’s also broadened her education through study abroad, first as a sophomore, studying poverty and conservation at Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences in Germany, and then as a junior, as part of an Honors College study abroad program in Cuba over winter break.
“The people in Cuba are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. And the food was great because it was all homemade,” she says. “It definitely was the best thing I’ve done in college, hands down.”
Now, Jordan is a member of the Women in Economics club, started by Asst. Prof. Kelly Hellman with support from Galizzi. Jordan says it’s great for women students to have a place to talk about their experiences, because women are underrepresented in economics.
Thanks to the Career & Co-op Center, which invited Jordan to tour Liberty Mutual Insurance in Boston, she applied for and got a paid summer internship doing data analytics for the company’s telematics program, which uses data collection devices to monitor people’s driving habits and set their insurance rates.
Upon successful completion of the internship, she can apply to Liberty Mutual’s Analytics Development Program, a series of three, paid, three-month internships in different departments that would prepare her for a full-time job with the company.
Before she does that, she will complete her last three classes and her honors thesis on the changing demographics of the U.S. workforce, advised by Asst. Prof. Brendan Epstein, a former senior economist for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, D.C. (He also advises the Fed Challenge team.)
“The professors here have been absolutely amazing,” Jordan says. “I’ve only had good experiences.”