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Chanel Shulman

Extracurricular activities: Interfaith Theme House, Hillel (Jewish Student Organization), Baptist Student Union, Sacred Cow Tipping

Q: What inspired you to study economics?
A: I took economics in high school and found its pragmatic nature appealing. So, when I saw that I needed to take two divisional courses in social sciences, I figured that I had the interest to do well. Economics since then has been a bit of a love-hate relationship until my junior year, when I started taking electives that were of immense interest to me, like Economics of Health and Medicine, Economics of Labor Markets, Monetary Theory and Policy, and Economics of Higher Education. When the theories had policy applications, I was immediately engaged.

Q: Have you had a mentor in economics?
A: Professor Amanda Griffith has been a mentor to me in my senior year. I regret not having taken a class with her sooner. I attended her office hours relatively frequently for assistance with our papers. After covering the material I needed help with, we would always sit and just chat. She’s been a great person for me to know this year. Professor Griffith is extremely approachable. It can be intimidating to be a female undergraduate in a male-dominated profession.

Q: What was your most interesting class and why?
A: Economics of Labor Markets. We looked at economic theories and data from the literature to analyze potential policies. It’s just incredible to understand the actual economic implications of certain policies and frightening to see how often policy consequences and the policy goals do not meet.

Q: How have you celebrated diversity on campus?
A: I’ve been involved in groups that have embraced diversity and inclusion, and attended weekly Sacred Cow Tipping meetings in which atheists, Jews, Muslims, Christians and others have come together to discuss supposedly unassailable “taboo” topics, or sacred cows. These topics range from the Charlie Hebdo attack to interfaith relationships.

I have also been a member, treasurer, and president of Hillel, the Jewish Student Organization at Wake Forest. I’ve contributed as a Theme Program Assistant of the Interfaith Theme House, whose goal is to explore and create intentional dialogue around different faiths and cultures and as community outreach coordinator for the Baptist Student Union, which involves reaching out to other groups, like the Muslim Student Association, Hillel and Episcopal Student Fellowship. I never thought that I would be on Baptist Student Union’s Council, but BSU is a very inclusive and welcoming community that I wanted to become more involved in.

Q: Favorite Wake Forest tradition?
A: I love the carillon bells in Wait Chapel that ring at 5 p.m. I used to thoroughly enjoy hearing “Here Comes the Sun” and the Harry Potter theme song when I was a freshman. I didn’t hear the bells as much after I started living in theme housing my sophomore year. However, my fiancé was a carillonneur my junior year, and I got to help play “The Office” theme song.

Q: What are your post-graduation plans?
A: I’ll be working in the Office of the CEO at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center as a Presidential Fellow.

Q: If you could spend another year at Wake Forest, what would you do?
A: I would take more economics elective courses and try to write an economics thesis. I would buy a hammock and hang out on Davis field more often. It sounds silly, but it’s a beautiful place that I failed to take full advantage of.

Q: As a Magnolia Scholar, do you have advice for students who are the first in their family to attend college?
A: It’s hard to walk down a road that hasn’t really been paved. That’s what it feels like sometimes, since no one in my family has graduated from college. There’s no map laid out for you, but there are plenty of resources and great people here at Wake Forest. I would say ease your way in and try to develop a solid network of friends during your first year. Don’t worry if you don’t find it right away. Just take advantage of how incredible the people are here and the fact that Wake is a small school, making access to these amazing people much easier.