The REAL Report: Students’ take on Louisiana’s economic climate
When Dr. Patrick Scott was appointed Director of Louisiana Tech’s Center for Economic Research in 2018, he immediately began to think of ways to engage both the internal and external campus communities.
“I decided the most fool-proof way to strengthen the Center was through co-curricular involvement—a class directly connecting students to a research opportunity,” said Scott. “I went on to develop ECON 425: Regional Economic Analysis, a one-hour course for undergraduate students.”
In this class, students of Tech showcase their skills in a quarterly publication: The REAL Report.
“I treat the ECON 425 students like free-range chickens,” Scott joked. “They find something they’re interested in, learn that deeply, and then write that section of the report. The freedom to choose each research topic inspires intellectual curiosity and ambition.”
Throughout the years, students have written reports on a wide range of topics that vary like job growth from recent student housing construction and employment shocks across the state. Most students come into the classroom already having an idea of what they want to write about.
One of Dr. Scott’s favorite entries was written by Jared Johnson who, after an internship at the governor’s office, developed an interest in policy. In his report, Johnson investigated the impact of TOPS and if the program was obtaining its objective: wage growth. Jared, who is now earning his master’s in public service and administration at Texas A&M, concluded that TOPS was not statistically causing wage growth.
In the most recent issue, senior economics major Colyn Sevario discussed if self-selecting a prospective student campus tour was an indication of the student’s academic merit. News Flash: it is! After determining that, on average, Louisiana Tech’s most high achieving students attend a campus tour, admissions staff members were able to place a higher emphasis on the quality of these tours.
The REAL Report is an opportunity like no other for economic, finance, and accounting students. However, there are many more hands-on opportunities for College of Business students. Bulldog Marketing Consultants and the Student Managed Investment Fund are just two example of other programs that help students gain real-world experience.
“Learning how to explain a complex topic to someone who does not understand its nuances is something raises are made of,” says Dr. Scott, and The REAL Report does just that for its students.
Under the energetic and passionate leadership of Dr. Patrick Scott, students stretch the bounds of intellectual curiosity and academic ambition, and, according to Scott, “when you have curiosity and ambition, the sky is the limit.”
This story written by Marketing student Sophie Edwards.