Bryan Engelhardt, professor of economics at the College of the Holy Cross, challenged his students in his Principles of Microeconomics class to take their learnings outside the walls of his classroom and submit op-eds to various newspapers across the country. The result? Nineteen students becoming published authors prior to graduation.
The class project had two requirements: the first was to read a nationally circulated U.S. paper on a daily basis. “One of the keys to the class is to be able to understand the ongoing debate about the economy and economic policy. The debate happens in many places, but most visibly in the press,” says Engelhardt.
The second requirement was to write an op-ed on a contemporary topic. By reading newspapers on a daily basis students learned the vocabulary and concepts needed to comprehend discussions about economic issues in contemporary periodicals.
“I asked my students to read and eventually write their own article. In writing it, I hoped they could see what they were reading at a deeper level, and in the best cases, participate in the debate. I think they most readily see the choice of their article or point of view can sway the debate, they learn the level of expertise and information required to make their argument, they learn what they say today may affect their future prospects, they learn the flexibility in the genre, they learn how their arguments and what they are reading are limited by their audience,” explains Engelhardt.
A student in the class, Connor McCann ’14, remarks, “Prior to this assignment I rarely picked up a paper and relied mostly on web searches and the like for news. But reading say the New York Times day after day was great preparation. So when it came time to begin brain storming I had a good idea about how to write a properly formatted op-ed but needed to find a way to make it desirable and enticing to read. This was by far the most difficult part, yet the most enjoyable. There were no real boundaries to this assignment which left all the creativity up to you.”
McCann’s op-ed “It’s Super drone!” was published in the Boston Herald.
Fellow published classmate Natalya Krykova ’14 agrees, “This class motivated me to read newspaper articles related to the economy, since what we learned in class enabled me to better understand the implications.” She adds the assignment, “encouraged me to voice my opinions and share my thoughts through avenues such as newspapers. I deeply care about health and wrote about a healthcare topic incorporating strategy — imposing a tiny tax to raise awareness. It’s quite possible that my career will be in healthcare.”
Krykova’s article on healthcare “Tiny Tax Could Raise Food Awareness” was published by The Hartford Courant.
Alex Khan ’16 submitted “The MTA Doesn’t Care About My Mother” to the Huffington Post, a revealing story of the MTA’s failure to provide adequate service to those with disabilities. In the op-ed, Khan describes his mother’s condition of multiple sclerosis (MS) and their family’s daily struggle to receive proper assistance under the American’s with Disabilities Act. Khan says it was Engelhardt’s class project that helped him vocalize his opinion, “It was around that time that I began thinking about the project Professor Engelhardt assigned, which was to write an economics-related op-ed. This led me to question what ultimately became my thesis – whether or not the MTA’s operating income each year is affected by its quality of service.”
Read the op-eds from all of the students in the class.
Michael Carter ’17
The Norwalk Patch: “Natural Gas: America’s Economic Secret Weapon”
Meighan Grady ’17
The Hamlet Hub: “A Letter to Wall Street Hopefuls”
Derek Owen ’17
The Lynnfield Patch: “MarketStreet has an impact”
Emily Rego ‘16
The Amherst Citizen: “Obamacare: Salvation or Devastation?”
Karlyn Whipple ’14
Wicked Local: Plymouth: “Government must assist small cranberry farms”
Donato Pizzano ’16
The Malden Evening News: “Who DOESN’T have a cell phone?”
Ryan Mahn ’17
Hopewell Valley News: “Red card for Brazil World Cup preparations”
Katherine Boyle ’16
Worcester Magazine: “A Costly Epidemic”
Chris Auray ’17
Minuteman News Center: “Obamacare rules for small business employees are too vague”
Tyler Ambrose ’17
Glastonbury Citizen: “Affordable Care Act Not Affordable for Young Americans”
Timothy Frassetto ’17
Trumbull Patch: “Obamacare Hurts Small Businesses”
Tyler Dooley ’17
Wicked Local North Andover: “A Ban on Cigarettes – Healthy for you, not for the economy”
Robert Kosharek ’17
Duxbury Reporter: “Rise out of the trenches for a real conversation on healthcare”
Madison Smith ’17
Colonie Spotlight: “Gas prices need to be lowered”
James Lizotte ’13
Telegram and Gazette: “State budgets eaten away by pensions”
Megan Meskill ’16
Times of Trenton: “Moderate inflation would benefit N.J. through the creation of new jobs”