Trang Hoang ’15: Economist keeping connections
Trang Hoang ’15 grew up in Hanoi, Vietnam, and came to Cornell College to pursue a degree in economics. Being away from her family has been her biggest challenge and earning her Ph.D. is one of her proudest achievements.
Now an economist for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., Hoang took her first economics course with the late Professor of Economics and Business Jerry Savitsky, which is what inspired her to major in economics and later get her Ph.D. in economics from Vanderbilt University. She still fondly remembers an array of classes from religion to music theory.
“Having a liberal arts education is very important, not just for my career but because of how it enhances your life with being able to hold discussions about social issues, and I’m very grateful for that. Cornell prepared me through the economics and math courses that gave me a strong foundation to help me power through my Ph.D. I remember others in my Ph.D. program were saying ‘this is so difficult, you need to study really well,’ and I realized that a lot of this I already knew. And, in general, Cornell provided me with analytical skills that I continue to use.”
Outside of the classroom, Hoang was active in Eyes of the World, where she found a great sense of community with members from all over the world. At the end of her senior year she presented at the annual Student Symposium. This project helped her dip her toes into the waters of research and taught her that she could be an independent thinker.
At the Federal Reserve Board Hoang helps maintain the giant machine that influences the U.S. monetary policy to promote maximum employment and price stability. Her area of expertise is forecasting U.S. trade (goods and services). She has to stay on top of the relevant events that could impact trade—from the blockage upsetting shipping in the Baltic Sea to flights not being able to cross borders due to war. That kind of monitoring and evaluating of events requires a lot of resources, which is why Hoang is among 400 economists tracking and analyzing information.
She values people and relationships and intentionally works to keep her Cornell connections. They include faculty, friends, and her host family, Professor Emeritus of Psychology Carol Enns and her husband.
“The people I met at Cornell have turned into long-term relationships,” she says. “They have become very important people in my life.”
She considers her family her biggest supporters.
“My mom always wants me to do the best thing for me,” Hoang says. “She is the best mom ever, so giving, so loving, and has always put her children above her needs. And that is the reason I have been able to make it here in the U.S.”