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Keep up on the latest stories on academic programming, campus events, alumni stories, and student and faculty research in the Department of Economics.

Annual J. Fagg Foster Awards Ceremony

This ceremony is named for the beloved economics professor, the late J. Fagg Foster. Foster served as a faculty member at the University of Denver in the Department of Economics for three decades. Professor Foster defined economics as the study of how the means of life and experience are provided. He spent his career trying to replace misunderstandings of human behavior that contaminate economic theory and practice, as well as scientific inquiry at large. Foster's comparative, historical approach to the study of economics influenced countless students with enthusiasm for the world of ideas.

The J. Fagg Foster Award is presented every year to a student who has demonstrated excellence in the undergraduate study of economics.

In addition to the J. Fagg Foster Award, the Department of Economics awards the Satish Raichur award for a graduate students who has demonstrated excellence in the study of Political Economy.

Prof. Raichur was department chair when he suddenly died of a heart attack in June 1980 at the untimely age of 34. He was devoted to the diversity of cultures and of ideas, which led to his dedication to this Department's being a home for the consideration of alternative ideas in economics.

J. Fagg Foster Award

Bela Vilela

Bela grew up in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and came to DU thanks to the Colorado Women’s College Leadership program! She is an Economics-Political Science double-major with a Leadership minor. According to Bela, “the department’s approach to Economics has opened my mind to different perspectives and I learned to embrace the pluralism of the field.” What’s next for Bela? Graduate school! Bela is hoping to advance research on Latin America but isn’t sure whether her path will lead to staying in academia or into the policy world. When she is not studying, Bela loves playing her guitar and getting in touch with her roots through Bossa Nova, which she describes as “the serenity of Brazilian rhythms that move [her] soul.”

Sarah Heutmaker

Sarah grew up in Highland Ranch, CO, and decided DU was her top choice – in part, because it kept her close to home in the midst of the pandemic. She is an Economics and Math double-major with a Physics minor. “With exposure to both heterodox and orthodox perspectives, I have learned to think critically about economic issues and consider their broader societal implications.” Sarah is not entirely sure what comes next, but she is interested in monetary policy and would love to work for the Federal Reserve some day. She is also a member of DU’s women’s rugby team.

Zecheng You

Zecheng grew up in Sichiuan, China, and moved to Shanghai for school and eventually to Colorado Springs for High School. He wanted to stay in CO for college and so he ended up at DU. Zecheng is in our 4+1 program and a triple-major in math, physics, and economics. He says he has “really enjoyed the camaraderie within the Econ department, because every student helps each other and the professors are always willing to offer help as well. The core courses including micro, macro, and origins of modern economics are very illuminating because they gave a very comprehensive explanation of how to develop economic theories.” Zecheng is headed to a PhD program in physics at the university of Michigan, but he plans to keep up with economics on the side.

Mario Flores Lopez

Mario grew up in El Chiquihuitero, Calvillo, Aguascalientes, and came to Avon, CO, with the plan to save money to afford law school in Mexico. Plans changed and he ended up enrolling in community college and earning an associate’s degree before transferring to the University of Denver. He was always interested in law school and economics, so becoming an economics major only made sense. He also added a Business Analytics minor. His “experience studying economics at DU has surpassed [his] expectations because of the heterodox approach … that incites critical thinking.” Mario plans to work for nonprofits that aid first generation immigrants and is still planning to go to law school, where he will specialize in immigration law to “provide immigrants the services needed to maneuver their way into their new home country like [he] once did.” Outside of school, he likes running and finding new places to hike near Denver.

Sam Robinson

Sam was born in London (UK) and grew up in Chicago. He was specifically attracted to DU because of the study abroad program. DU’s location and promise of small classes also helped. What he “enjoyed most about studying economics at DU was the chance to apply economic theory to real-world examples. It was enlightening to be able to view real-world events from a more critical economic perspective.” He is an Economics-International Studies double-major with a minor in Japanese. Sam is not sure where he is headed next but thinks it might be good to gather some work experience before starting graduate school. He is looking for a job that allows him to travel or maybe even live abroad for a while.

Satish Raichur Award

Grishma Neupane

Grishma grew up in the heart of Kathmandu City, Nepal. She pursued an interdisciplinary major in finance, audit, law, and economics to get a more holistic background before deciding to specialize in heterodox economics in a graduate program. In her own words: “I was looking for a heterodox economics graduate program in the US when I talked to Dr. Markus Schneider about the economics program at DU. Talking to Dr. Schneider and learning about DU's program made me choose DU for my graduate degree, which undoubtedly has been the best decision. ... I really enjoyed writing my thesis with Dr. Yeo Hyub Yoon. He made the daunting and stressful thesis writing fun and exciting and made sure I enjoyed writing it.” Grishma is not sure yet about her next steps, but hopes to pursue research in the finance / economics area - or maybe get a Ph.D.


Past Award Recipients

  • J. Fagg Foster Award


    Marihah Abdullah

    Abran Bartlett-Miller

    Jordan Koler


    Sophia "Rosie" Contino

    Sarah Wiltshire


    Grace LaMendola 


    Brenn Anderson-Gregson

    John “Marcus” Dockerty

    Jacquelyn English

    Elizabeth Lochhead

    Samuel Pargament

    Ryan Taylor


    Morgan Smith

    Sydney Donati-Leach


    Bryce Anderson-Gregson


    Xinghang Lu

    Madeline Doering

    Alexandra Hoffman


    Alexandra Coulter

    Thomas Tarler


    Anita Balakrishnan

    Deshae Gehr

    Lily Montesano


    Samuel Kauffman

    Zachary Gonzales


    Caitlin Hendee

    Sarah McEahern


    Reina Gong

    Kyle J. McDonald


    Evan M. Corzine


    Michael O. Sajovetz


    Elizabeth Hansen

    Logan Mrtin

    Tomas Merrill

  • Satish Raichur Award


    Madison Beckner

    Federico Colombo


    Bryce Jones

    Paula Leone Samuda

    Daniel Spinrad

    Adam Szymanski-Burgos


    Allie Coulter 

    Abby Magnus


    Sumaiya Saif


    Chen “Cassie” Chen

    Elen Murvanidze


    Danyi Wang


    Matthew Silva


    Kyle Glenn


    Nicole Alexander

    Sira Nukulkit


    Alexander Spray


    Marcus C. Fresques

    Dustin J. Page


    Rachel F. Hartgen


    Luisa Sanchez de Tagle


    Edgar Luna