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Ray Brastow

Fed for Thought

Economics professor Ray Brastow stays sharp at Richmond Federal Reserve

Hands-on learning isn't only for students at Longwood University. Just ask Dr. Ray Brastow, professor of economics at Longwood's College of Business and Economics.

Brastow travels weekly to the Federal Reserve in Richmond, Virginia, where he contributes his economic expertise to the Federal Reserve. Brastow works there with a team that supports bank examiners. By poring over global, national and local economic data, keeping current with financial trends and synching it up with the day's business news, Brastow's team forecasts how today's economic developments may impact tomorrow's banking operations.

"We do our best to help examiners connect the dots in a dynamic and complicated financial environment," says Brastow.

Bank examiners, however, aren't the only beneficiaries of Brastow's work. His finance and economics students at Longwood learn from a professor on the economy's front lines. "What I do at the Fed absolutely makes me a better professor," says Brastow. "By getting out of the classroom and into the economy's reality, I'm able to stay current, apply knowledge and theories to real world experience, and offer relevant anecdotes and observations to the classroom."

Brastow's Fed connection also makes connections for Longwood students and scholarship. Several Longwood economics and finance majors have interned at the Fed, and, in 2008, Longwood hosted the Federal Reserve's symposium on the mortgage crisis.

"It's a truly a win-win," says Brastow. "I've been passionate about economics since my own undergraduate days, and my contribution to the Fed keeps me close to the action and creates a truly unique learning opportunity for my students."