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March 16, 2006 • Volume 14 Number 13

BC Senior Wins Major Research Honor

By Reid Oslin
Staff Writer

Jamie Lee, a senior economics and history major in the College of Arts and Sciences, has won an undergraduate research award from the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences.

Lee is the third Boston College senior in the past four years to win the coveted AAPSS research honor, one of 10 presented annually. He will receive the award at the academy's annual dinner in Washington, DC, on April 23.

Rhodes Scholar Brett Hunneycutt '03 was the first Boston College undergraduate to win the award. Matthew List followed in 2005.

Lee, an A&S Honors Program student from Leawood, Kan., had been nominated as a Junior Fellow at the Academy by the Economics Department faculty, making him eligible to submit his work in the research competition. The title of his entry was "Did It Work? The Effect of Welfare Reform Nearly a Decade Later."

"In the paper, I looked at different types of welfare reforms that were implemented and then looked at the effects of those reforms on welfare use and labor market outcome of single mothers," Lee said. "What my study sought to do was to tease out the effects of the policies on those trends: Was welfare use going down because the economy was really good? Or, was it because we had implemented these new reforms?"

Lee is developing a senior honors thesis with Adj. Assoc. Prof. Richard McGowan, SJ (CSOM), that will explore the same topic.

Lee shared credit for the AAPSS honor with three faculty members who helped him prepare his entry - Fr. McGowan, Adj. Assoc. Prof. Catherine Schneider (Economics), chair of the department's undergraduate program, and Drucker Professor of Management Sciences Alicia Munnell, director of BC's Center for Retirement Research, where Lee has been a student researcher for the past three years.

"I am very grateful to all of those people and very excited to have won the award," said Lee, whose twin brother Chris '06 attends BC, as does younger sister Merritt '09.

Schneider said, "I am just completely in awe of the work that Jamie did on this project. This started out to be his senior thesis which was to be completed sometime in March or April," she said. "When he was invited to submit a paper to the Academy, he just tore into his work. I think he spent two-thirds of his Christmas break pulling all of this together and doing all of the work that he had originally planned to do later in the spring."

Lee has accepted a job with an economics consulting and research firm in Boston where he will do economic analysis.

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