Caleb Stephens & Onsurang Norrbin

Questions for student:

Where are you from?

I am from Quincy, Florida, about twenty miles west of Tallahassee.

In a few sentences tell us about your honors thesis! How would you describe it to someone not in your academic field?

I chose to research the internal efficiency of the World Bank, specifically focusing on the International Development Association (IDA) branch. Essentially, I used the financial statements of the IDA to calculate how much money was being spent on the administration of the IDA, rather than on core poverty alleviation concerns. I found that the IDA financial statements were less than opaque, demonstrating a startling inconsistency and lack of transparency across reports, which hindered the formulation of a concrete conclusion.

How did you choose your mentor, and what do you recommend students interested in starting an honors thesis look for in a mentor?

I reached out to Dr. Norrbin after taking two excellent classes with her involving international economics. I actually had the idea of working with World Bank data from using that data in her classes. I approached her and broached the topic, and she graciously agreed to mentor me in this project. I would definitely advise students to look for a mentor they know they like, and who (hopefully) likes them. I would also suggest prioritizing relevant subject matter, as you never know with whom your mentor may be able to put you in contact.

What are your plans after you graduate from FSU?

After continuing to work this summer in my current position at the Government Accountability Institute, I will be attending law school in the fall, although I have yet to make my final decision of the exact school. Currently my top offers are from the University of Virginia, Columbia, New York University, and Duke. I am quite excited to see where this route leads, and hopeful of continuing to conduct research in some form after graduation.

Dr. Onsurang Norrbin - Thesis Director

Onsurang Norrbin, Ph.D.

professor, economics

Thesis Director

Questions for mentor:

What motivates or inspires you to mentor undergraduate students?

I look forward to the chance to work with enthusiastic undergraduate researchers. Most undergrads are new to research, but they are excited and eager to learn. Honor students usually come to see me with some research ideas in their minds. It is a privilege to see these young people grow intellectually through the process of research. They have to overcome obstacles, make mistakes, edit their thoughts, adjust the expectations, take ownership of the project, solve problems, and gain confidence at the end of the finish line. I believe that the growth they experience will prepare them for their long-term academic/career goals.

What do you think characterizes a good mentoring relationship between student and honors thesis mentor?

A good mentoring relationship promotes life-long learning. It is a synergy of knowledge sharing and willingness to step outside your comfort zone to be able to explore the possibilities and learn something new together.



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