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Federal Reserve Visit

Longwood's ‘inside connection' at Richmond Federal Reserve nets rich experience for students

Students in a Longwood economics course last semester got a close-up look at how the economy really works.

Five of the seven students in Dr. Ray Brastow's Honors Economics 217: Principles of Micro Economics visited the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond a week before Thanksgiving. Brastow works at the bank part time as a financial economist in the Supervision, Regulation and Credit Department, and arranged the in-depth visit. Students met for an hour with five Longwood alumni who work in supervision, regulation and credit, then had lunch in the executive dining room. Later they met with the Human Resources Department and toured "The Fed Experience," an interactive, multimedia exhibit in which visitors explore their personal connections to the economy and the Fed's role.

"The Longwood graduates who work there were really excited to meet and talk with the students," said Brastow, professor of economics, who organized the trip. "Each employee spoke about his or her career path, what they do at the Fed and how Longwood prepared them."

The Longwood students also enjoyed the visit. "It was a fantastic experience and a great opportunity to see how things work there and how the Fed controls things," said Kristyn D'Angiolillo, a sophomore history/secondary education major from Smithfield. "None of us who went are economics majors, and, being a history major, we usually don't get into how things work now."

Katerina Wiley, a freshman business management major and Spanish minor from Goochland, said she received some "good advice from the alumni on how to handle our future, and they talked about internships. I didn't really realize how important internships are."

Stephanie Roddenberry, who graduated from Longwood in December 2011 and interned at the Fed in the summers of 2010 and 2011, knows from personal experience just what an internship can do for you. She started her new job as an assistant examiner at the Richmond Fed in January.

"Stephanie is an exceptional student," said Brastow. "She came to me in fall 2009, and I encouraged her to apply for an internship at the Fed, but I didn't get her the internship. ... Her abilities got her the internship."
Students like Roddenberry and those who recently visited the Fed benefit from Brastow's work there in many ways. He not only provides them with an "inside connection" but also brings what he learns at the Fed into the classroom.

"In my work at the Fed, I provide data and analysis for bank examiners," said Brastow. "We try very hard to get ahead of any emerging risks, changes in bank regulations, et cetera, that might affect banks. In August [2011] I wrote an eight-page report on possible risks to banks associated with the debt-ceiling debate and subsequent ratings downgrade. With the economic downturn, I did a lot of crisis data analysis, trying to get a handle on what was going on with banks and financial markets.

"I've learned an enormous amount about the real-world economy, which has enabled me to bring to the classroom a much deeper appreciation for how the economy works. It's been a great boost to my career to get off campus and into the real world."

Learn more about Longwood's College of Business & Economics