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Michigan Tech Team Wins iOme Challenge

The following press release was issued by Michigan Tech writer, Mark Wilcox:

For the second time in four years, a team from Michigan Technological University has won a national retirement security essay competition.

The three-student team won the 2019 iOme Challenge sponsored by the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER). The iOme (I OWE ME) Challenge is a national competition designed to raise awareness among college students about the impact of retirement security on the social and economic well-being of society.

The Michigan Tech team, all of whom have taken economics and other courses in the School of Business and Economics (SBE), is comprised of data science graduate student Zach Rosenbaum and undergraduates Cole Peppin (chemical engineering) and John Ruf (mechanical engineering). Peppin and Ruf are pursuing minors in economics.

Students from across the country responded to the annual essay competition with a policy paper and a promotional video. Students were asked to imagine that Congress named them to an Independent Commission on Retirement, with instructions to re-evaluate and modernize the retirement system from the perspective of Gen Z-ers. The Michigan Tech team’s winning essay was titled “The Basic Proposal: Retirement Policy for a New Generation.”

The Michigan Tech team is advised by Emanuel Xavier-Oliveira, assistant professor in the SBE. Oliveira was also advisor to Michigan Tech’s first iOme Challenge winner Jerrid Burdue, who captured the top prize in 2016.

Xavier-Oliveira said the team is comprised of members of Michigan Tech’s Economics Club. Throughout the year, they organize lectures and panel discussions on a variety of socioeconomic topics, including a November 2018 Economic Outlook Report for local counties. “Naturally, when I introduced them to the iOme Challenge, they immediately jumped on board, because financial security, regardless of which time horizon we’re talking about, is a dear topic to them.”

Xavier-Oliveira said the students are very concerned about rising student debt and how it may impose significant constraints on their generation’s ability to retire comfortably. “Add to this scenario the current challenges about the sustainability of the US Social Security system and you get a group of alert and talented Huskies brainstorming a winning essay.”

Read the full story at mtu.edu/news.

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