When Scott Jeffrey '15 and Kevin Roberts '15 began their Davidson experience as first year hallmates on Third Belk, they never imagined they might graduate and become coworkers at one of the most important financial institutions in the nation.
But it's not that surprising, given the similarities of their lives during the past four years-first year hallmates, senior year roommates, both economics majors, both studying economics while abroad in London, and both conducting summer research with the same professor through the Davidson Research Initiative and the Abernethy Grant program.
They're now planning to remain roommates after graduation this spring, when they will move to Chicago to work as associate economists at the city's branch of the Federal Reserve. Their primary duty will be assisting economists with research projects and helping prepare reports for the national Federal Open Market Committee, which decides the country's monetary policy.
The remarkably similar paths they've followed at Davidson began with their inclination toward economics discovered in Economics 101. "I really enjoy the problem solving aspects of economics," said Jeffrey. "I also appreciate the fact that economics is a social science-an attempt to understand and quantify human interactions."
Roberts added, "I've always liked math, so economics particularly appealed to me because it is a way to apply math in a way that visibly affects people's lives."
In 2013, both Jeffrey and Roberts studied economics abroad in London–Roberts for a semester at Queen Mary University and Jeffrey for the full year at the London School of Economics. "While I missed the close interactions with professors that I'm used to from Davidson, it was still great to study a broader range of topics that I couldn't have accessed otherwise," said Jeffrey.
"Study abroad introduced me to some concepts that I later studied over the summer at Davidson," said Roberts.
Roberts and Jeffrey traveled the academic road side-by-side again last summer, when they both completed summer research projects-Roberts through the Davidson Research Initiative (DRI) and Jeffrey through the Abernethy Grant-under the supervision of Assistant Professor of Economics Shyam Gouri Suresh.
Roberts investigated the effectiveness of economic programs used by developing countries to alleviate economic inequality and accelerate technological growth. Jeffrey studied the effects of foreign aid funds on developing countries.
"We both valued Dr. Suresh's advice and mentorship throughout the summer as we completed our summer research," said Roberts. "We're looking forward to applying the research experiences we've gathered at Davidson and abroad."
Before they graduate this spring, Roberts and Jeffrey will prepare to relocate to chilly Chicago from their respective homes of Boone, N.C. and St. Louis. "We've been warned about the cold," said Jeffrey, smiling. "Repeatedly."
Their jobs in Chicago will last from two to three years, at which point they both plan to purse doctoral degrees in economics. Considering their synchronized strides to this point, it seems the odds are high that the two will end up as classmates—and perhaps roommates—at least one more time!