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Sanford PhD Student Attends Conference with Nobel Laureates

November 13, 2014

Sanford PhD candidate Ying Shi was one the young economists selected to attend the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting this past summer. The five-day conference featured lectures by 19 Nobel Laureates in economics and was held on the island of Lindau, Germany.
Shi was most intrigued with the lecture by 2012 Laureate Alvin Roth. He talked about “repugnant markets and prohibited transactions,” such a selling kidneys, endangered species and surrogate mother services. “I got to ask him about the ethical implications of such markets,” Shi said.

There were 460 young scientists from 86 countries at the 60th Lindau conference, the fifth one focused on economics. The laureates led discussion groups and mingled with the fellows at meals and social events.

The fellows go through a lengthy nomination process that starts almost a year in advance. Shi had to make it through three levels of selection: the university, the Oak Ridge Associated Universities Consortium and then final selection by the Lindau Council. Mars Inc. provided support for her trip. Shi was nominated by Sanford Professor William Darity, Jr.

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  • American students at Lindau Conference

    The young economists from the United States on the boat to the island of Lindau for the conference with Nobel Laureates. Sanford PhD candidate Ying Shi is standing in the first row, third from left.

“Ying Shi is one member of our cohort of outstanding PhD students who are concentrating in economics. She is exceptionally creative, curious and well trained in applied statistical methods,” said Darity.  Shi’s dissertation is focused on understanding why women are underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.  

Darity has a good track record with nominating students for the fellowship. Dania V. Francis PhD’13 was a previous fellow.

“The opening ceremony featured interviews with past student participants and laureates. It was great to look up and see a familiar face (Dania) speaking about the importance of multidisciplinary learning,” said Shi.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a keynote address. Nobel Laureate for Literature Mario Vargas Llosa spoke, along with Robert J. Aumann, John F. Nash, Jr., Sir James A. Mirrlees and Joseph E. Stiglitz.