Department Awards

Each year the Department of Economics honors students and faculty with awards for scholarship and teaching. Please join us in congratulating the 2011-12 winners.

Undergraduate Students

The Department of Economics grants one annual award to the top graduating senior from each of our three undergraduate majors: economics, management science and joint mathematics-economics. Recipients are chosen by faculty vote from a pool of top students in the graduating class of each major. The award is mentioned at their college commencement ceremonies, and awardees receive a total cash award of $500. For more information on these annual awards, email

Seymour Harris Award for Excellence in Economics
Recipient: Martina Di Bella

Martina Di Bella

Martina is working as a research associate for a biotech company, helping to develop a diagnostic test for cancer. She recently applied to medical school and hopes to matriculate next fall. She has applied for combined M.D./Ph.D. or M.D./M.B.A. programs. As Martina explained, “I hope to, in the future, have a career that allows me to intertwine my passion for both economics and medicine.”

This award commemorates Seymour E. Harris, a prominent government advisor from the 1940s through the 1960s. He was a noted member of the Harvard University Department of Economics faculty and the founding chair of the UC San Diego’s Department of Economics.

Joel Dean Award for Excellence in Management Science
Recipient: Edmund Yan

Edmund Yan

Edmund is currently pursuing career opportunities in corporate finance, interviewing for financial analyst and investment analyst roles in the private sector. Edmund plans to obtain some work experience and then continue his education in an M.B.A. or C.F.A. program.

This award commemorates Joel Dean, a prominent management scientist who was also a noted faculty member of the business school at Columbia University. He was a visiting professor at UC San Diego’s Department of Economics throughout the 1970s and was one of the pioneers of our management science major.

Award for Excellence in Joint Mathematics-Economics
Recipient: Ali Palida

Lawrence Schmidt

Ali is working at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as a research analyst. He assists economists in writing academic papers and conducting policy projects. His group primarily studies banking activity and finance through empirical and theoretical analysis. Ali feels his education at UC San Diego prepared him well for the position: “It is fascinating work which requires a direct application of the material that I learned at UCSD. I also believe that it is excellent preparation for graduate study in economics, which is my ultimate goal.” In his spare time, Ali is taking additional math coursework at Columbia University and is enjoying exploring New York City.

This award was established in 2008 and is granted to our most outstanding joint mathematics-economics student.

Graduate Students

Walter Heller Memorial Prize (Best Third-Year Paper)

This award is given annually in memory of Dr. Walter Perrin Heller (1942-2001). Dr. Heller was a leading 20th-century economic theorist and an early member of the UC San Diego faculty. He joined the department in 1974 and remained active until his death in 2001. This award formally recognizes our graduate students who have shown the most promise in their future careers in research.

  • Lawrence Schmidt

    Lawrence Schmidt

    “Flexible Modeling of Conditional Quantiles Without Crossing”
  • Fan (Dora) Xia

    Fan (Dora) Xia

    “Estimating Expected Bond Yields: Restriction by Factor Construction”
  • Alex Imas

    Alex Imas

    “On Prosocial Incentives”

Best Graduate Student Research Seminar Presentation

Graduate Student Research Seminars are organized by the students for the students to encourage presentation of early research in order to receive feedback from peers to keep projects on track. This award is designed to encourage graduate students to present research projects at all stages of development, but especially projects that have not yet been presented. The best presentation at the Graduate Student Research Seminars is selected annually by a committee of peers.

  • Sam Bazzi

    Sam Bazzi

    “Wealth, Heterogeneity, Income Shocks, and International Migration: Theory and Evidence from Indonesia”

Teaching Assistance Excellence

Annually the department recognizes graduate students who demonstrate great efforts in their teaching, as emphasized by glowing teaching evaluations from undergraduates, graduate peers and their faculty supervisors. Nominations are solicited from the faculty and awards are made by the graduate committee. Each of these recipients for the 2011-12 academic year showed clear commitment to the teaching mission of UC San Diego.

Clive Granger Research Fellowship

Six fellowships, named after Nobel Prize winner Sir Clive Granger, are awarded each year for the most promising graduate student research.

The fellowship carries a small stipend and allows the student to make more rapid dissertation progress by minimizing work obligations for a quarter. Nominations are made by the faculty running the thesis workshops (in consultation with their colleagues) and awards are made by the Graduate Committee.


Undergraduate and Graduate Teaching Awards

In recognition of faculty and graduate students who demonstrate great effort in teaching, the department awards annual prizes for the best undergraduate and graduate teaching. Awards for undergraduate teaching are given to the best faculty member(s), lecturer(s) and associate-in(s) teaching undergraduate courses. Recipients of undergraduate teaching awards are selected by a committee composed of the department chair and past faculty awardees who review undergraduate student evaluations. Awards for graduate teaching are given to the best core course instructor(s) and the best elective course instructor(s). Recipients of the graduate teaching award are selected by current doctoral students.