Tamara Apostolou, ’11, started a traineeship with the European Commission (EC) in Brussels, Belgium, even before she formally completed her master of arts in applied economics.
The traineeship is her first step towards pursuing a permanent appointment with the EC.
“My studies at Buffalo State equipped me with the tools I need to meet the expectations of the position,” said Apostolou. “Macroeconomics, econometrics, and knowledge in econometrics and statistics packages helped me conduct technical analyses.” The position is with the Directorate-General (DG) for Mobility and Transport, Unit of Economic Analysis, Impact Assessment and Evaluation. Before coming to Buffalo State for graduate school, Apostolou earned a bachelor of science in maritime transport from the University of Piraeus in Greece.
Her graduate studies gave Apostolou the opportunity to apply economic theory to real-world problems. She undertook two major projects while at Buffalo State: her thesis and an impact assessment of Buffalo State's School of Natural and Social Sciences on the local economy. “My traineeship was with the unit of the DG that deals with impact assessment,” she said, “So that study was a first taste of how to estimate economic impacts.”
Apostolou’s master thesis, “The Permanent Income Hypothesis: Estimation of a European Union Consumption Function,” sought to develop a mathematical way to test an economic hypothesis for the European countries that use the euro. Such efforts help officials develop fiscal policies.
“Relatively few studies have explored this topic for the EU,” said Victor Kasper, associate professor of economics and finance. “Tamara was a highly motivated student who motivated me, and forced a greater intellectual exchange between us.” Apostolou presented her thesis at two conferences in early 2011: the Eastern Economic Association conference in New York City and the Atlantic Economic Conference in Athens, Greece.
Kasper, who is also coordinator of the master’s program, was Apostolou’s thesis adviser. “He guided me through,” said Apostolou, “and he offered valuable comments on my work. Most importantly, he taught me how to think more widely, and how to take many aspects into consideration when I conduct an analysis.” Theodore Byrley, professor and chair of the Economics and Finance Department, advised Apostolou regarding both her professional career and possible doctoral studies.
In addition to learning and applying economic theory, Apostolou acquired critical thinking skills. “That was very important,” she said, “because it helps me interpret phenomena in economics according to several economic theories, and it helps me understand policy actions or even shape policy implications when needed.”
Buffalo State was more than an academic experience for Apostolou. “If I had a second home,” she said, “it would be Buffalo. I made so many friends there.”
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