For Immediate Release—Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2007

Tony Hoppa
Assistant Vice President for Communications
(585) 245-5516

SUNY Geneseo's Fed Challenge Team
Wins District Competition and $15,000 Prize

Advances to national competition on Nov. 27 

GENESEO, N.Y. — Fresh from victory at the district level in New York City, students from the State University of New York at Geneseo will compete for the national championship in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York 2007 College Fed Challenge. SUNY Geneseo will compete with regional winners from the Boston, Chicago and Richmond Federal Reserve districts on Nov. 27 at the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors in Washington, D.C. for the $25,000 top prize.

Already, the Geneseo team has won $15,000 in prize money through the western New York and district competition. In the first round, Geneseo topped SUNY Binghamton, Ithaca College, the University of Rochester and Niagara University on Oct. 26 in Buffalo. The team then advanced to the district semifinals on Nov. 16 in New York City, defeating Princeton University, Rutgers University, Iona College, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the College of New Jersey. 

The College Fed Challenge is designed to foster understanding of the Federal Reserve's role in developing and implementing monetary policy and spur greater interest in academic study and career development in economics and finance. Each team participates in a 20-minute presentation on current economic conditions and a 15-minute question and answer session led by a panel of judges.

The team consists of five seniors: Kale Smimmo, an economics and mathematics major from Middle Island, N.Y.; Jonathan Davis, an economics and theater major from Rochester, N.Y.; Kevin VanNostrand, an economics and mathematics major from Saranac, N.Y.; Greg Kaleka, an economics and French major from Pittsford, N.Y.; and Onur Bayraktaroglu, an economics and art studio major from Istanbul, Turkey.

Chris Annala, associate professor of economics, and Leonie Stone, assistant professor of economics, serve as advisors to the team. According to Stone, Geneseo has consistently performed well since entering the Fed Challenge five years ago, coming in second at the district level just last year.

"Our record of achievement reflects the educational excellence provided by the School of Business, especially within the department of economics," said Mary Ellen Zuckerman, dean of the School of Business. "The Fed Challenge competition allows our students to gain valuable hands-on experience with high-level presentations and develop critical thinking skills essential to business success. This is a wonderful opportunity for them and we are thrilled with their success."

According to team member Kale Smimmo, preparation for the Fed Challenge is a time-intensive process that began in mid-September. "Fed Challenge is one of the biggest commitments I have ever made in college," he said. "The team has met frequently to write the presentation, which must be consistently updated to reflect the dynamic U.S. economic system. We also practice the question-and-answer skills which reflect our depth of knowledge in economics."

Presentations are judged according to the following criteria: discussion of current economic and financial conditions; near-term forecast of economic and financial conditions that affect monetary policy; identification of risks that threaten the economic well-being of the country; and recommended actions the Federal Reserve should take with regard to short-term interest rates.

Geneseo's Fed Challenge team stands to win $25,000 if it takes home the national title. Of that amount, $15,000 would be directed to the School of Business. Last year, Geneseo placed second in the district competition, winning $10,000, of which $7,000 was allocated for the School of Business.


This release was written by Sara P. Wagner, a senior English and communications double major from Hilton, N.Y. serving as a media relations intern in the Office of Communications and Publications.