PHOTO CAPTION: Armstrong State University students Sebastian Hernandez, left, and Thomas Kavoori, right, recently earned top honors in the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Paper Competition at the 53rd Annual Academy of Economics and Finance Conference in Pensacola Beach, Fla. Economics Professor Michael Toma, center, was awarded the Service Fellow Award at the conference.
(February 17, 2016) – Armstrong State University Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Economics Michael Toma and Economics students Thomas Kavoori and Sebastian Hernandez took top honors at the 53rd Annual Academy of Economics and Finance Conference in Pensacola Beach, Fla., Feb. 10-13.
Kavoori, who entered his paper, “The Impact of Religious Non-affiliation on Young Marriage.” and Hernandez, who entered his paper, “The Effects of Remittances on Female Secondary School Enrollment in Developing Countries,” were unanimously selected as co-winners in the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Paper Competition, which included a field of 16 competitors from five universities in Georgia, Texas and Colorado. Both students initiated their research under the direction of Toma during their fall semester senior thesis class, and completed the projects during the winter break with Toma’s further guidance.
Each year, the Academy of Economics and Finance holds a conference for economics and finance professors and practitioners to gather and present academic research. Ten years ago, Toma, along with Armstrong economics professor Rick McGrath, founded the undergraduate paper competition.
Toma was awarded the Service Fellow Award in recognition of his extraordinary contributions and achievements supporting the Academy’s mission of advancing teaching, research and service. At the meeting, he was elected to serve as the group’s First Vice President.
His other work with the Academy includes serving as the group’s Second Vice-President coordinating the Academy’s outstanding paper competition for Ph.D. students and selecting the Pensacola conference’s overall best paper in Economics and also Finance. He has served on the Board of Directors, the Site Selection Committee and the Research Fellow Award Committee. He was the organization’s local arrangements chair and co-chair for two conferences, and is currently an associate editor for the Academy of Economics and Finance Journal. In 2014, he was named by Academy to receive its Teaching Fellow Award, recognizing long-term excellence in teaching undergraduate students.
“I am very humbled to be recognized by the academy, especially for work that I feel so deeply connected to and passionate about, but it is an even greater honor to watch two of my students succeed in such a rigorous competition,” said Toma. “Their success is a true inspiration and motivates me to continue my work with students in teaching and research.”