Economics major learns problem-solving in Washington

miguel perez
miguel perez
Miguel Perez visits the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

By Miguel Perez ’18
Major: Mathematical Economics
Hometown: Manteca, CA

During my summer internship in Washington, D.C, I have worked on two projects to organize documents and data for the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

My first project was to create a library where my coworkers can find historical documents effortlessly. I read about 200 documents, and I applied a naming convention for each document. This project really helped me get an idea of how the housing market works. Furthermore, I learned about policy and how math is used to implement policy. Now my coworkers can find documents much quicker than before.

In my second project, I created a data warehouse. The main software I used for this project was Stata. I wrote code that will clean specific datasets that FHFA receives, which will allow workers to focus on performing their analysis. Before I wrote the code, they had to clean each dataset they received, one dataset at a time. In order for my code to be robust enough so that they can use it in the future, I had to use regular expressions. When I first started working on this project, I didn’t have any experience with regular expressions. Now that the project is done, I feel a lot more comfortable coding.

Every course I took at University of the Pacific prepared me for this internship. For instance, here in Washington, I attended a few meetings where topics such as linear regression, elasticity and logistic regression were discussed. It was really satisfying that I was able to follow what they were saying.

Even the more theoretical courses helped me. While I was working on my first project, I read papers that contained some material I learned in mathematical economics. By taking that class, I was able to follow and understand the theory behind decisions that were made in the past.

I have only been here for two months, so I haven’t been exposed to a lot of topics. I will say that the economics department really helped me think outside of the box. Pacific’s economics department helped me become a better problem solver.

My time in D.C. has been great. I have gone to several museums. My favorite one so far was the National Air and Space Museum. I have tried different types of food: Jamaican, Ethiopian and Greek.

D.C. is by far my favorite city of the ones I have been to. The people here are really nice and helpful. The city always has something going on. Overall, my experience has been great.

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