Economics Department Launches Campus-Wide Contest

(Nov. 30, 2012) Armstrong's economics department has launched the inaugural Monica Lewis Economics Policy Contest, an interdisciplinary call for new thinking on public policy issues. The contest is supported by Mr. and Mrs. Dale Lewis and is named in memory of Dale Lewis' sister. The winning team of three will receive $7,500, approximately equal to one semester's tuition for each student.

The 2012-13 Monica Lewis Economics Policy Contest revolves around the increased domestic supply of natural gas and the need for policies to manage the expanded natural gas usage the country will most likely see. Each team will tackle the subject and assess and compare different paths the United States can take to harness this alternative realm of energy.

Research teams will be comprised of three undergraduates who are enrolled in the 2012-13 academic year. Teams must represent at least two different academic disciplines—at least two team members must have different declared majors.

“This competition is a great opportunity for students to tackle a pertinent public policy issue,” said Jason Beck assistant professor of economics. “And since it's multidisciplinary, this is a great chance for students with different academic backgrounds to come together as a team to solve a problem. This is good preparation for the sort of situations they'll likely be dealing with in their professional lives.”

“The interdisciplinary nature of the contest shows students that it takes a variety of academic backgrounds to assess a public policy option with any level of completeness,” added Nicholas Mangee, also assistant professor of economics. “Our students will be evaluating various natural gas policies which will become front-and-center issues for U.S. energy throughout their adulthood. There is no question that they will be affected by natural gas policy in the future.”

Dale Lewis, Armstrong class of 1992 and a notable alumnus, is director of strategic analysis at the CSX Corporation, a leading supplier of rail-based freight transportation in North America. Lewis attended Armstrong as a mid-career student and focused on economics. After graduation, he attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a Master of Science in Transportation Economics from the School of Ocean Engineering. Lewis was recruited by CSX out of MIT, and over the last 18 years, he has served the company in various leadership roles in finance, labor relations, marketing, trucking, and engineering support.

Through the Monica Lewis Economics Policy Competition, Armstrong students have the opportunity to combine analytical thinking with their own creativity and initiative to help shape a new vision for the future.

For more information on guidelines and deadlines, contact Jason Beck at or 912.344.2536, or visit the Department of Economics web site.