Keith Griffin Memorial Fund

Keith Griffin entered the Ph.D. program in Economics at UCSB in the fall of 1984. During his quarter at UCSB, Keith was diagnosed as having cancer; despite having major surgery and undergoing chemotherapy, he returned to campus in the fall of 1985. The Keith Griffin Memorial Fund was established by his friends and family to honor Keith's life and courage.

This award is intended for students who have completed the first year of the Ph.D. program and are not normally eligible for any non-teaching department awards. It is intended to honor a continuing student who has shown outstanding dedication and perseverance in pursuing his or her studies.

Fellowship Recipients

Kogelnik, Maria (NEW)

Maria Kogelnik started the Ph.D. in the Fall quarter of 2016, but before joining our Economics family she graduated from the University of Innsbruck (Austria) with her Bachelor of Science in Economics (September 2013) and with her Masters of Science (August 2015) in Applied Economics. She also was a visiting undergraduate student at the University of the Balearic Islands (Spain), a visiting graduate student at McMaster University (Canada) and a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley in the Institute of European Studies where she conducted research for her master’s thesis titled “The Consequences of Capital Shocks on US Bank Lending”.

During the first year in the Ph.D. program here at UCSB, Maria completed all her core PH.D. course with flying colors and was awarded the rare score of “Ph.D. Pass with Distinction” on the Macroeconomics Preliminary qualifying exam, the only student in her cohort to receive this score on this exam.  Now in the second year of doctoral studies, she is enrolled in field specialization courses in; Econometrics, Labor Economics, Environmental, and Experimental Economics. Maria tells us that she would like to pursue an academic career in the fields of labor and experimental economics.

In her free time Maria enjoys the outdoors, especially mountaineering activities. She also does practice yoga and likes to travel and to write about it.


Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas came to UCSB in the Fall of 2010 when he started his doctoral candidacy in our Ph.D. program. Before starting his Ph.D., he completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Colorado at Boulder (June 2010) where he majored in Economics with an emphasis in Business. He graduated with a 3.77/4.0 grade point average, receiving Honors with Distinction and the award of Summa Cum Laude.

During his first year in the Ph.D. program he compiled a 3.90/4.0 GPA and passed all three required Ph.D. level qualifying exams on the first attempt. He completed his second year field specialization courses in Public Finance, Macroeconomics and Labor Economics. In his third year and until he completed his Ph.D., Brian was hired as a Graduate Student Researcher in the UCSB Economics Forecast Project run by Professor Peter Rupert.

Brian graduated with his Ph.D. in Economics in June 2017. He is now an Associate at Analysis Group in Los Angeles. We are very proud of Brian!


Chang Hyung Lee

Chang Hyung Lee came to UCSB in the Fall of 2013 when he started his doctoral candidacy in our Ph.D. program. A native of California he completed his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Santa Cruz majoring in Global Economics and minoring in Latin American & Latino Studies, graduating with a 3.94/4.0 grade point average.

During his first year in the Ph.D. program he compiled a 3.80/4.0 GPA, one of the highest of his cohort, and passed all three required Ph.D. level qualifying exams on the first attempt. Chang completed field courses specializing in Labor Economics and Econometrics, and is at the moment researching on getting a better understanding of the intersection between education and sexual orientation.  His primary research interest lies in understanding the characteristics of communities that individuals spend their childhood and whether the discrimination against homosexuals in these locations have any effect on the amount of education that they receive. Chang’s hypothesis is that education can serve as a way to mitigate discrimination and some of the education gap can be explained through the community characteristics of one’s birthplace.

In long run, he would like to continue broadening our understanding of education and human capital accumulation especially for those that are marginalized or discriminated against in society. He hopes to make some contributions that can help form better policies to reduce discrimination in both educational and social settings.

In his free time, Chang loves to both play and watching tennis. Subsequently he says that he has a goal of forming a research idea and paper related to tennis, and will soon undertake that challenge.