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Terry undergraduates build the business research ecosystem

Undergraduate research programs provide important experience for those headed to corporate offices and classrooms
Friday, May 27, 2022 - 9:09am
Merritt Melancon
Maggie O'Leary and Maric Broudreau at CURO Symposium

More than two dozen Terry College students joined undergraduates from across the University of Georgia this spring to present posters and PowerPoints as part of the UGA Center Undergraduate Research Opportunities Symposium.

For business students seeking research-centered master’s degrees, experiencing the academic research process helps them apply their classroom learning to real-world problems.

“For students who want to go into higher education in economics or a related field, having that research experience is increasingly crucial to their graduate school applications,” said Ian Schmutte, associate professor of economics and undergraduate research mentor. “For students who aren't planning on going into academia, having research experience sharpens those critical thinking skills. That’s valuable in whatever you will be doing in the rest of your career, regardless of your field.”

Terry College has worked to improve undergraduates’ access to research opportunities, both by supporting CURO scholars and through the Terry Opportunities for Undergraduate Research (TOUR) program. This year, 37 Terry undergraduates received stipends to assist with 10-week research projects through TOUR.

Students can participate in either a TOUR or CURO project in any given semester. Schmutte’s undergraduate mentee Ben Logan Thompson is a third-year economics student and worked on his project “Compensating Minimum Wage Differentials” for two semesters under the TOUR program before participating in the CURO undergraduate research assistant program.

He studied whether changes in minimum wage laws affected workplace safety. The process included collecting OSHA regulations from different industries and keeping track of violations in several states.

“By the end of the process, Ben has generated a data set that is cleaned up and ready to go,” Schmutte said. “We’ve done a lot of preliminary analysis, and he’s done a lot of background research on OSHA regulations and institutional research.”

Collaborating with a faculty member who can guide the research process was key to getting the project done, said Thompson, who graduates in 2023.

“Collaboration makes learning so much more enjoyable and effective,” Thompson said. “My faculty mentors had high expectations of me, and I had to come to them with insights and understanding beyond what is expected in a classroom. Because research is a collaborative endeavor, I felt more invested in both the process and the outcome.”

Several other Terry undergraduates or intended business students joined Thompson for the CURO Symposium on April 4-5. Nine paired with Terry College mentors:

  • Drew Capuano, a fourth-year marketing and management information systems major, worked with marketing assistant professor Rosanna Smith and presented his research poster, “From Ideal to Real: How Body Size Representation Influences Perceived Authenticity and Brand Outcomes.”
  • Angela Chavez-Rueda, a fourth-year marketing major, also worked with Smith and presented her research poster, “The Algorithm and the Instagram Face: Effects of Recommender Systems on Beauty Standards and Mental Health.”
  • Caitlin Gardiner, a third-year finance major, worked with finance assistant professor Daniel Rettl and presented her research poster, “Impact of Board of Director Efficiency on Hedge Fund Activism.”
  • Owen Hite, a third-year economics and real estate major, and John Bendernagel, a fourth-year economics and finance major, worked with economics professor Martin Gervais and presented their research poster, “Effects of CARES Act on Labor Market.”
  • Kayla Lambert, a second-year marketing major, worked with finance assistant professor Daniel Rettl and presented her research poster, “Does the Market Get It Right? A Comparison of Stock Price Reactions and Foot Traffic Responses to Retailer Boycott Calls.”
  • Maggie O’Leary, a fourth-year management information systems major, worked with MIS department head and associate professor Maric Boudreau and presented her research presentation, “The Market of True Matters: A Novel Framework for Taking Stock of Personal Values.”
  • Kara Phillips, a third-year finance and marketing major, worked Rettl and presented her research poster, “Banking Relationships on the Allocation of the Paycheck Protection Program Funding.”
  • Catherine Anne Shih, a second-year finance and international business major, worked with finance assistant professor Daniel Rettl and presented her research poster “The Effect of Corporate Governance on Corporate Environmental Policies and Outcomes.”
  • Marleena Tamminen, a fourth-year German and economics major, worked with economics associate professor Laura Zimmermann and presented her research poster “Medicaid Expansion and Wealth-Building.”