Apr 142012

Christine Wohlforth is the Acting Director of the Dickey Center for International Understanding

Some of the best parts of the Dartmouth experience take place away from Dartmouth. Take Victoria B. ’11, who did an internship in Hanoi, Vietnam with an organization promoting sustainable development in Vietnam two summers ago. By her own admission, she was unprepared for the experience, and struggled to work with no Vietnamese language, living in a dorm with a bunch of westerners and commuting an hour each way to her job. Upon her return, she described the experience as “challenging, exhausting, rewarding, frustrating and scary”. But her internship, supported by the Dickey Center for International Understanding, also gave her the opportunity to try out real research, some of which she incorporated into her senior honors thesis. It also gave her the desire to return to Vietnam. Better prepared to embrace the culture she had only superficially encountered previously, Victoria just completed a Lombard Public Service fellowship working with Save the Children. She took Vietnamese, and practiced this skill interviewing street youth and families living with HIV/AIDS. Victoria is now preparing for a career in public service and advancing her study of Vietnamese. As she says, “Vietnam truly changed my life, and I am grateful for every minute I got to spend in that amazing country.”

Victoria B. '11 with some of the youths she worked with on her Lombard Fellowship in Hanoi.

Mar 312012

Dear Class of 2016:

Congratulations to all of you and welcome! I’m the vice chair of the economics department and looking forward to seeing you here for Dimensions weekend and First Year Orientation. I spent today teaching my seminar on finance and I have a couple of ideas for you to ponder. Look at the enclosed graph. The green line is the yield on the Treasury Inflation Protected Security. The TIPS. This is the yield on the 5 year TIPS. The TIPS pays this rate PLUS the future change in the price level. Thus as an investor you get the real yield on the TIPS (the green line) plus inflation.

What is that enormous spike during the financial crisis? Apparently the market expected deflation (ie inflation would be negative) so in order to hold the TIPS investors demanded 4% figuring that -2% “inflation” would be added to their return. Would it make any sense to expect deflation in the US economy? Couldn’t the Federal Reserve just print more money to cause inflation if it needed to? You have probably heard the terms QE and QE2 meaning quantitative easing. QE and QE2 have a lot to do with this ability to create inflation. Under quantitative easing the Fed has been creating money and buying bonds with it. What does that accomplish? Creating (printing) more money and injecting it into the market keeps interest rates down and tends to increase the price level. This is exactly what the Fed wants to do in this weak economy.

Stranger still, why is the green line below zero now? Its at minus 1%. Why are investors willing to lock in a **negative** real yield on a five year Treasury investment? If banks are paying zero percent, and there is 2 percent inflation, banks are paying -2% in real terms and the TIPS is paying -1% in real terms. Is that the best investors can do and would they be better off putting their money in the stock market and trying to earn a positive real return?

The financial markets are a fascinating part of the economy and our aim is to help you understand these phenomena at a deep level. Each of my students is working on their own research project related to some aspect of asset prices or firm or investor behavior. I hope and suspect that many of you will be economics majors and it will be interesting to see how the world evolves during your time here

Yours truly,

Prof Bruce Sacerdote ’90

Mar 292012

A note from Senior Tour Guide Anna Fagin ’13

Hey future 16s!!! Congrats on getting into Dartmouth, I’m so incredibly excited for all of you, and jealous that you still have a whole four years to look forward to! I just wanted to take a little time to tell you about some of the AWESOME things I’ve gotten to do in class here at Dartmouth.

As an economics major, much of what I learn in class feels relevant not only when I read the news, but also when I make everyday decisions. This idea was most recently brought home when in my Game Theory and Strategic Tactics class, we were challenged with using economic theory to improve the Dartmouth experience. All twenty-five members of my class were invited to present and join the Dartmouth Strategic Planning Committee. We were tasked with discovering Dartmouth’s competitive advantage and using our economic knowledge to devise a strategy for Dartmouth’s future. We used our status as members of the student body to research trends on our campus and discovered what students at Dartmouth really want and need. We had the opportunity to present our findings to some of the most influential decision makers at Dartmouth, and are currently watching our ideas come to fruition.

In an art history class I’m taking this term, I have a rather unique classroom. Instead of spending all my class time in a lecture hall, my class is partially taught in Dartmouth’s Reserves Room in the library. Dartmouth is home to a famous and unique mural series done by the celebrated Mexican muralist, Jose Clemente Orozco. Instead of having midterms or a final, for this class, we are providing the scholarly text to accompany the visitor’s guide to the murals. The Dartmouth computer science and art history departments as well as the library have collaborated to digitize and create an app displaying the collection. My class has the privilege of analyzing, researching, and explaining the piece in the new app. I’m thrilled to leave a little piece of my work here for future Dartmouth students and visitors to enjoy.

I spent last spring in Italy, on Dartmouth’s art history foreign study program. Rather than a traditional classroom, I had class every day in a new location in the city of Rome, one morning at the Pantheon, the next at Piazza Navona. There is no better way to learn about art and architecture than to wander around Rome and Florence and stumbling into masterpieces like the Trevi Fountain entirely by accident. I fell asleep every night with a view of the Capitoline from my bedroom window. My term can best be described as a 10-week PhD guided tour of Rome and I couldn’t have left more inspired and excited to continue to study the origins and development of art. When I was thinking about where I wanted to go to school, the potential for studying abroad was definitely one of the things that immediately drew me to Dartmouth. I knew I wanted an opportunity to explore the world and get to learn at the same time, and that’s totally what my Dartmouth FSP allowed me to do.

Mar 292012

A note from tour guide David Jiang ’12: 

Hi ‘16s! At Dartmouth you can enjoy the beautiful Hanover campus as well as travel all over the world with our study abroad programs. I came into college knowing that I wanted to learn Chinese, but never imagined that I would end up spending three months traveling through China. Accompanied by 19 fellow Dartmouth students and a faculty advisor, I got to experience life as a student in Beijing.

During the day, we took classes with professors at Beijing Normal University. At night, we attended cultural events. With my free time I’d hop on a bus or subway and explore the city. From 10-story malls to traditional hutongs, Beijing has the perfect blend of old and new. We took two midterm trips, traveling to Tibet, Chengdu and Xi’an among others. I left the program with improved language skills, a greater understanding of Chinese culture and new friendships with my classmates that continued when we got back to campus. 64% of students study abroad in their four years here and now I know why. Come join the Big Green because you never know where your Dartmouth experience will take you.

Mar 292012

A note from Senior Tour Guide Dennis Zeveloff ’12: 

Congratulations on being accepted to Dartmouth! It’s been a great place to learn–the cross-curricular scope, student-professor interactions, and world-class research have really enhanced my academic experience. I can’t think of another place where I’d be able to help publish a textbook, run experiments on the school’s fMRI, travel to Bosnia, and write reports for the government all in four years.

Mar 292012

Dear Dartmouth Direct readers,

Thursday, March 29th, was a very big day for the admissions office – we went live with our admissions decisions for the Class of 2016! The entire Dartmouth community is thrilled to welcome its newest members. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be featuring guests posts from tour guides, faculty, and administrators on this site. We hope you enjoy hearing from voices across campus as we share our excitement about the Class of 2016.