As you may be aware, various academic disciplines and professions have (sometimes subconsciously) excluded many talented individuals based on their gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, and socio-economic background. In response to these barriers, many young people have been prevented from following their dreams and passions. This exclusion is harmful not only to these individuals, but also to society by losing out on the talent and perspectives brought by such individuals.
Recently, the economics profession has been in the spotlight due to its lack of diversity and support for underrepresented minorities. For example, the following scorecard (taken from https://nyfed.org/3DzLkj8) shows the lack of diversity among students majoring in economics, including at SMU. In particular, the data suggests that female and minority students are underrepresented among economic majors (https://bit.ly/38xDRCR).
As economists, we believe diversity is essential to the future of our discipline, beneficial to society, and, most importantly, serves SMU students. Not only should no student be discouraged or prevented from pursuing the study of economics, but we, as a department, are committed to making sure all students are welcome and supported. For this reason, the Department of Economics, with financial support from the American Economic Association, has launched the SMU Underrepresented Minorities Economics Program, or SMƱRM-Economics Program for short.
The SMƱRM-Economics Program seeks to support students traditionally underrepresented in economics in order to not only reach their potential, but also elevate the experiences of all students studying economics at SMU. Specifically, the SMƱRM-Economics Program will hold regular events to promote interactions among students and faculty, discuss opportunities for research and internships, connect students and alumni, provide information required to navigate the economics profession, and have fun! As this is a brand-new initiative, there are opportunities for students to shape the program as they see most useful.
We plan to hold a kick-off event later this spring. To stay in the loop, please follow us on Twitter @SMURM_Economics, Instagram @smurm_economics, or join our mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org by sending a blank email to email@example.com. If you would like to interact with other URM students and access more tools, advice, etc., please join our Microsoft Team. You can contact us directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Importantly, all students are welcome to participate, even those that have not declared an economics major or minor.
We are looking forward to helping you succeed in building a better and more diverse future for SMU, the US, and the world.
Dr. Rocío Madera, Assistant Professor of Economics
Dr. Ömer Özak, Associate Professor of Economics
SMƱRM-Economics Program Mentors and Coordinators
Dr. Daniel Millimet, Dedman Professor of Economics
Department of Economics Chairperson