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Vinson Fellow to explore economic assimilation processes with faculty mentors

March 22, 2018 | Students

By Sebastian Puerta

Sebastian Puerta

Vinson Fellow to explore economic assimilation processes with faculty mentors

As an economics student interested in research, the Vinson Fellowship gives me the opportunity and resources to explore topics that I am curious about.

Working with faculty mentors Wes Clarke and Matt Hauer, I am researching the connections between cultural and economic assimilation. This relationship matches my interests in development, social mobility, culture and immigration.

I plan to explore issues like how a marriage between an immigrant and a native affects the immigrant’s economic assimilation, as well as that of their children. Through this investigation, I hope to shed light on some of the “best” processes for assimilation and identify some of the characteristics that improve economic assimilation. 

While my fellowship allows me to research complex social science questions, I am also interested in international trade and development. For example, I have explored investor-state dispute settlement, a system that allows investors to sue countries, with Tim Samples, an assistant professor of legal studies with the Terry College of Business. We are the first to quantitatively assess the current system, affecting future bilateral investment treaties.

My work as a Vinson Fellow and with Dr. Samples allows me to find out more about some important social science questions. I look forward to completing my spring semester Vinson Fellowship project and reporting some of the results.


A sophomore from Atlanta, Sebastian is participating in the combined bachelor/master program in economics. He serves as a graduation coach, intern and executive with Hispanic Organization Promoting Education (HOPE), the Georgia Political Review, UNICEF at UGA and the Multicultural Business Student Association. He also works with the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials and has volunteered on the election campaigns of Jon Ossoff and Jim Barksdale.