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Daniel Schwindt

Job Title: Research Assistant in the Office of Financial Stability at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, D.C.

After graduation, Daniel will be working as a research assistant in the Office of Financial Stability at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, D.C. “I am thrilled by the opportunity to learn more about economics, because many of the great issues of my generation center on economic problems,” Daniel says. “It will be up to us to find solutions to those issues.”

Q: Explain your research on Venezuela. 

A: I conducted  research on the effects of political crisis events on Venezuela’s economy, specifically on their exchange rates. My mother grew up in Venezuela, so I’ve always had a deep interest in Venezuelan politics and history. Professor Mazumder in the economics department graciously agreed to mentor me, and helped guide me through every step of the research process, from getting data to writing the final paper. Through my research experience, I realized how important my liberal arts education is to understanding the world around us. I feel that research helped me not only gain greater knowledge of practical economics, but also an appreciation for the skills I learned in the classroom.

Q: What was your favorite extracurricular activity?

A: The most important organization to me personally is Do Random Acts of Kindness (DoRAK). I joined the club as a sophomore and served as both DoRAK’s treasurer and president. I fell in love with the combination of service to community and spontaneous, silly fun that I feel makes DoRAK unique among my Wake Forest experiences. From writing out Kindness Citations (like parking tickets, but with compliments instead of fees) to chalk art and candy giveaways during exam times, DoRAK convinced me that the most important thing someone can do is spread a little kindness.

Q: What shared values do you think unites the Wake Forest community?

A: Each member of the Wake Forest community is tied together by the spirit of Pro Humanitate. Over these four years seeing students, faculty and staff participating in Hit the Bricks, Wake ‘N Shake and countless other service events, I realized how important this motto is. Professors take a deep interest in not only a student’s work, but also in getting to know them. That spirit of standing for each person’s humanness unites the community. It defines Wake Forest as an institution. And it defines who we are, all of us who live and work here.

Q: Who has influenced you during your time at Wake Forest? Who would you most like to thank and why?

A: There are so many people to thank! From Professor Wilkins who instilled in me a love for Middle Eastern history to Professors Erway and Robinson, who showed me that mathematics could be exciting; to Professor May who taught me how to write in Arabic, which I still do on all of my notes because it looks beautiful; to Professor Mazumder who agreed to mentor a young sophomore he had never met before. Without Professor Mazumder in particular, I would not have realized how amazing economics could be. Without these people and many more, I would not be where I am today.

Q: Where is the one place on campus you will miss most and why?

A: I will miss the ZSR Library most of all. From countless hours spent studying in the atrium and the first floor basement where I would read philosophy books for fun as a freshman, to days during my summer research project when I would trek to the library to research Venezuela’s history and economy, to late-night cram sessions with friends and the frenzied sound of tennis shoes as student “zombies” dodged nerf darts in Humans vs. Zombies games, my Wake Forest experiences are inextricably tied to the ZSR Library.

Q: Your best advice for an incoming first-year student?

A: I would say the best advice for freshman is to open themselves up to all the possibilities. John Lennon said that “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Don’t worry so much about the dream career or dream life you have planned. That dream will probably change, and there is nothing wrong with that. If you open yourself up to what is around you, you will be able to understand yourself better. Seek out your passion and the rest will fall into place.