Publish-worthy research isn’t limited to graduate students. Just ask Melody Haxton. The IU South Bend Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics alumna researched and wrote a paper while she was an economics undergraduate student that examined the question of how an efficient economy can exist when the average minimum wage earner has not seen an increase since 2009, yet inflation has increased by over 8.25%.
One of her goals as an undergraduate was to be published, Melody explained. So she set out to finish the paper, written for her intermediate macroeconomics class, and submit it for consideration to the IU South Bend Undergraduate Research Journal. To her delight the paper was accepted for publication in the spring 2014 issue, and she was invited to participate in the IU South Bend Undergraduate Research Conference held on campus during the spring semester.
She became interested in her research topic after listening to President Barack Obama’s address to the nation regarding raising the minimum wage. “It made me more aware of the issue. Obama discussed the big picture,” she explained. “I studied the state-by-state and region-by-region statistics.”
Melody transferred to IU South Bend from Spokane Community College. After completing her economics degree in 2014, Melody is pursuing a Master of Science in Applied Economics at John Hopkins University. “It’s a high-ranking economics program, ranked in the top 25 nationwide,” she said. “I couldn’t be more proud to represent IU South Bend at John Hopkins.”
Melody is very pleased with the opportunities she had at IU South Bend’s Leighton School, especially Assistant Professor Vicar Valencia, who directed her research. “The Leighton School faculty is wonderful,” she said. “The opportunities are limitless, because the faculty will do whatever it takes to help you shine in your classes.”
Melody is a shining example of what an undergraduate student can accomplish at the Leighton School. Last spring, she won the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges Award, as well as, the Sharon Rose Miller Scholarship. She was also inducted into Omicron Delta Epsilon, a highly recognized international economics honor society.
After earning her master’s degree with a concentration in financial economics, Melody hopes to begin her career in a financial economics research or consulting firm.
As she looks to her future, she feels her experience at the Leighton School prepared her well for graduate studies. “I am very grateful for my undergraduate experience at the Leighton School,” she said. “I probably would not be pursuing my graduate degree at John Hopkins had it not been for the continuous support and encouragement from the Leighton School of Business and Economics faculty and staff.”