by Taylor Bryant
University of West Georgia’s Richards College of Business student, Sandra Santiago, was awarded first place in this year’s Academy of Economics and Finance Undergraduate Paper Competition in Economics. The winner was announced at the 51st Annual AEF Conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which students were unable to attend due to inclement weather conditions.
Sandra’s paper, titled “Predicting the Quality of Red Wine,” examined the measurable chemical characteristics of Portuguese red wines to predict wine quality measured subjectively by wine experts’ tasting data. The objective was to determine to what extent measurable chemical characteristics of the wine could predict the quality as expressed by wine experts.
“I picked this topic after discussions with my economics professor, Dr. Smith,” shares Sandra, a third year senior from Snellville, Georgia. “ I wanted to inform everyone about the quality of red wine according to its intrinsic values. I was absolutely ecstatic to hear that I had won first place.”
Dr. Joey Smith, UWG professor of economics, sponsored Sandra for the competition. “Each student worked above and beyond what was expected of them to have the opportunity to work on original research, present their findings and compete in the AEF competition,” says Dr. Smith. “I am extremely proud of our students and always enjoy working with them to achieve their goals.”
UWG junior Drew Barker tied as runner up with Armstrong Atlantic State University student David Hoover for his paper titled “The Evolution of Health and Older Age Labor Force Participation.”
“I was specifically interested in recent labor force participation trends,” says Drew, a Newnan, Georgia, native. “I wanted to see how much of a factor health has been in the increasing labor force participation of older individuals. I was proud that Sandra and I were able to represent UWG and the economics department by receiving first and second place respectively in the competition. It was an extremely gratifying experience.”
Drew was sponsored by Dr. Michael Sinkey, UWG professor of economics. “Sandra and Drew are highly dedicated economics students and have worked hard to learn how to ask and answer interesting research questions,” says Dr. Sinkey. “Both students wrote papers that are publishable and their first- and second-place performances in the AEF Paper Competition are indicative of their promise as budding scholars. We are excited about the promise of their careers and will continue to seek opportunities for them to shine on regional and national stages such as the AEF.”
Both students will receive monetary awards and a certificate from AEF for being selected in the competition.