Foltin joins elite scholars, Nobel laureates at Lindau

Paul Mayne//Western News

Economic PhD student Zinaida Foltin has been invited by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to join a group of 360 other scholars from 66 nations as part of the sixth Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences this August in Germany.

What would you ask a Nobel laureate? Zinaida Foltin is working on that answer right now.

The Economics PhD student is one of nine Canadians asked by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to join a group of 360 other young scholars from 66 nations as part of the sixth Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences. Held this August in Germany, Lindau Meetings provide young scholars the opportunity to exchange ideas with Nobel laureates.

“It’s exciting to be able to chat with Nobel laureates. But, possibly more importantly, is the opportunity to meet with so many scholars from around the world,” Foltin said. “There will be so many opportunities to network, to make connections, to meet my counterparts from all over the world. Through those conversations it will be fruitful in terms of actually furthering my academic research or forging some academic relationships.”

Every three years, organizations from across the world nominate emerging economists to participate in this four-day program. Key topics at this year’s meeting will include monetary and fiscal policy, as well as the economics of inequality. Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, is one of the keynote speakers.

At Western, Foltin’s research explores economics in education, in particular how classmates can affect outcomes for each other – grades, employment opportunities, etc. – through working in small study groups.

She found that when a group of students from the bottom portion of the GPA work together that synergy actually benefits the students. Similar results showed when grouping top students together.

What is it about this teamwork that makes it work? Foltin hopes to find out.

“Is there a better way of putting students into groups so they all perform, on average, better?” she said. “Our current groups are OK. But is there a better way? Are students affecting each other? It seems they are. If so, there has to be a better way to go about it.”

SSHRC selected Foltin based on her academic and research achievements, motivation and dedication. She will have travel, as well as part of her participation costs covered by SSHRC.

“We’re honoured to have these talented, SSHRC-funded doctoral students take part in an amazing training opportunity at this prestigious event,” said Ted Hewitt, SSHRC President. “Participation by promising scholars in these types of international opportunities contributes greatly to sustaining and enhancing Canada’s position as a global leader in humanities and social sciences research.”