The first post!

The clouds have rolled over the sky for another muggy day, and part of me can’t believe that I’m almost finished with my junior year and it’s almost summer in Williamsburg. The other part is way too excited to care. This summer, I have the opportunity to independently research Venezuelan Development Cooperation as part of a Charles Center undergraduate scholarship. I will use a new, media-based methodology to assemble the first ever database about Venezuelan efforts to promote economic, political and cultural development in Central America and the Caribbean. As the first researcher to access this data, I’m really excited to learn more about Venezuelan aid– the type of projects Venezuelans fund, the stylistic approaches they take in their development work, and their presence in North America. I also believe that I will encounter challenges in building my database, and look forward to shaping my database in a way that reflects substantive nuances in my data. At the end of the summer, I plan to use econometric analysis to explore the link between Venezuelan international development and democracy. As the final part of my project, I plan to publish my database to the AidData website, so that other researchers can access and use the data I’ve collected. Hopefully (knowing Venezuela) it will yield some very interesting results!

social network and economics

I have been back on campus for two weeks and have been reading this book called “Connections” everyday. It’s a book that introduces the notion of social network into economics to study the transmission of information among people. Obviously, there’s a lot of annoying mathematical definitions and proofs involved, but the idea from the few chapter I have read is very interesting.

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The Power of Conversation

When I talk to people about my project for the first time, I can see their eyebrows raise in a combination of interest and speculation. I, more than anyone, know how large of an undertaking the project seems to be. However, what gives this project life is the tremendous amount of support I have received for my project. In early 2012, I presented my project idea at the Mason School’s Social Entrepreneurship Conference where I was able to gain valuable visibility. Through this conference and the tremendous generosity of donors at the business school, I now have more resources and funding available for my project on top of the Charles Center Scholarship.

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