Economic Research Fellows Program

The Undergraduate Research Fellows Program supports talented undergraduates to work side-by-side with an Economics professor on the professor’s research team. Each student recipient receives a stipend of $2,500 per quarter (for winter and spring, 2023), professional development training, and the opportunity to present their findings at an event in May / June of the Spring quarter.  

Application Process

The application requirements include success as a student, a demonstrated interest for research, and a passion in economics. Each applicant must be a full-time UCLA student enrolled for the entire academic year (Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters). Extension students are not eligible for this program.  In order to be selected for this program – the student should have a 3.2 cumulative GPA, and must have already completed Econ 101. Completion of Econ 103/Econ 103L is not required but is strongly preferred. We encourage students from the Class of 2023 and the Class of 2024 to apply.

Candidates will be asked to submit a resume, your unofficial transcript, a one-page essay detailing your interest in Research Fellows, and answer four short answer prompts. After a review of all applications, selected students will be invited to participate in interviews with the Vice Chair of the Department of Economics and other Economics faculty.

In order to be considered for the program, you MUST meet all eligibility requirements and complete the entire application.

Research Fellows 2020-2021

Masha Melkonyan

Masha is a senior majoring in Mathematics/Economics. Although she transferred to UCLA from Santa Monica College (SMC) in fall 2019, her story at UCLA began before transferring. She participated in a summer research program in 2018 and won an award for her work at a research conference called ABRCMS. While at SMC, Masha was an active student participating in many extracurriculars. She helped fellow students understand Multivariable Calculus better through self-conducted sessions during the one year that she was a Supplemental Instructions Leader. Then, Masha was a Supplemental Instructions Mentor for an additional year training new leaders. At the same time she was a volunteer as well as a board member at the Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society for two years. After receiving a “President’s Circle Award” at the end of her journey at SMC, Masha was thrilled about transferring and being able to gain new experiences here at UCLA. Before joining the Research Fellows Program, Masha was an Assistant Analyst at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Masha hopes her last year as an undergraduate will be as productive as the previous ones and is excited about contributing to economic research as a Research Fellow.

Claire Nelson

Claire Nelson is a 4th year mathematics/economics major from Thousand Oaks, California. Claire has worked as a research assistant at the Anderson School of Management and as a summer research analyst for the Capital Markets research team at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. At UCLA, Claire is a director in the External Committee of the Undergraduate Economics Society. Before the pandemic, Claire played violin in the UCLA Afro-Cuban ensemble and the UCLA Symphony. After graduation, Claire will return to the New York Fed Capital Markets team as a Senior Research Analyst. After the two-year position, she plans to apply to PhD programs in economics. She hopes to be a professor at a research university or an economist at an institution like the Federal Reserve. Claire is interested in researching household finance, student loans, public economics, and the mortgage-backed securities market.

Minghao Pan

Minghao Pan is a junior math major. He participated in math competitions in high school and his courses and readings in UCLA have been focusing on analysis. He was attracted by economic models and the methodology of microeconomic theory and empirical works when he studied at Chinese University of Hong Kong during the summer of 2019. Later he has broadened his views by taking graduate courses in economics and working as a research assistant. Now he is working on or helping with projects in optimal bankruptcy codes, OTC markets, choice theory, and time allocations. In his free time, he enjoys reading books in social science and playing poker. Minghao plans to apply to Ph.D. programs in his senior year. He has not decided whether to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics or economics. He would like to stay in academia after graduation.

David Yu

David grew up in the Bay Area before coming to UCLA for college. He is a third year majoring in Mathematics/Economics. The analytical nature and widespread applicability of economics inspired him to choose this path. In his free time, David enjoys cooking and playing ultimate Frisbee. David is still exploring the many subfields and research areas within economics. At this moment, he is most interested in microeconomic theory and labor economics.

Abhi Vemulapti

Abhi is a currently junior at UCLA who is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics/Economics and a Master’s in Economics. Abhi went to Davis Senior High School, where he was a member of the Citrus Circuits Robotics team and the Speech and Debate club. Throughout college, Abhi has pursued his interests in programming, mathematics, and economics through research assistant work and an internship at the Federal Reserve Board. In his free time, Abhi enjoys making and listening to music, playing video games, and reading business news.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are selected for this program, please note the following

  • The required paperwork to issue the quarterly stipends will be submitted to the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office in Murphy Hall. Once the paperwork is processed, the recipient should receive the payment within 10-15 business days. The payment will first pay off any BruinBill balance, then refund the student the unused portion. International students may be charged taxes on the amount to be paid out. If the student has BruinDirect, and it is still in effect when the award is paid out, then the student will receive the award electronically. Otherwise, a paper check will be mailed to the student’s address filed with the university and may take up to 3 weeks to receive the check.
  • If the student is currently receiving need based federal financial aid from the university, the student must be aware that if the scholarship/fellowship award exceeds their federal need or the Cost of Attendance, the federal aid will be reduced and may cause a  bill if funds have been disbursed. The student may consult with his/her Financial Aid Counselor to determine if and how this award might affect his/her financial aid package for the year.

For more information, visit the Financial Aid Office website.

If the student is an international student, he/she will need to fill out a form called GLACIER. The student must complete this form when he/she receives the email request. Otherwise, their award will not be processed and disbursed. International students’ awards will not be processed until the GLACIER form is submitted and complete.

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