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Student’s passion for economics is going global

Claudia Villarroel

For as long as she can remember, Claudia Villarroel has always been interested in the big picture.

She was born in Venezuela, moved to Guatemala, and spent time in high school traveling around Central America and the United States to develop a strong understanding of culture. Last year, she made her way to Orlando and began studying at Seminole State College of Florida.

This month, the 19-year-old sophomore will get the opportunity to expand her worldview even more as one of 76 students from around the world traveling to the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) college seminar, which takes place on the Georgia State University campus in Atlanta July 26-29.

The seminar, entitled “Made in China: Economic Development,” takes a look at the state and development of financial markets worldwide, analyzing issues that affect countries’ economies and promoting constructive thought and discussion. With attendees hailing from around the U.S. and as far away as India, Kenya and Brazil, it will truly be a global experience.

“I’ve been interested in economics my whole life, so this conference will give me a chance to learn a lot and experience things from a new perspective,” Villarroel says.

Villarroel, who takes after her economist father and plans on continuing toward a career in finance after college, says her classes at Seminole State helped reinforce her lifelong fascination with economics. In particular, she enjoyed the way her macroeconomics class taught her how to look at even the most mundane things through a commercial lens.

“It’s what I like most about economics – it forces you to think of things in a new way,” she says. “A table isn’t just a table; it’s a collection of parts that might come from all over the world and that all have their own costs. Looking at things economically lets you see their full value.”

It was in macroeconomics that Villarroel met Professor Susan Bell, who further encouraged her interest in the field. Bell recommended that Villarroel apply for the FEE seminar – a process that required filling out an application and writing three open-ended, economics-related essays.

“Claudia was a great student,” Bell says. “She was active and engaged; she was intellectually curious and always prepared. It was a pleasure to have her in my classes.”

Bell says the FEE’s seminar series offers students a valuable opportunity to learn real-world economic applications.

At the “Made in China” seminar, Villarroel will get the opportunity to build on her knowledge and gain insight into the workings of international money markets. The session Villarroel says she is most looking forward to is called “If Everyone Owns It, No One Owns It,” a discussion on property rights and the benefits of being allowed to profit from them. But she is quick to second-guess her preference.

“It’s hard to pick one thing I’m most excited about,” she says. “All the sessions sound really good. The whole seminar should be very interesting. I’m looking forward to hearing about new ideas and learning as much as I can about the worldwide economy.”

About Student of the Month: Seminole State’s Communications Office selects a Student of the Month based on academic achievement, campus or community involvement, and/or outstanding character. Students are featured in the Newsroom and on Seminole State’s official Facebook page. Send nominations for Student of the Month to (include Student of the Month in the subject line).

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