Professor Robert T. Deacon Graduate fellowship

Robert T. Deacon received his PhD in Economics from the University of Washington in 1972 and is currently Professor of Economics and affiliated Professor of Environmental Science & Management at UCSB. His research specialties are natural resource and environmental economics, with special emphasis on the role political institutions play in the management and use of these assets. Professor Deacon has served in editorial positions for several scholarly journals and had held fellowship or visiting faculty positions at universities in the U.S. and abroad. He has also served as an advisor or consultant to domestic and international research institutions, conservation organizations, private firms and government agencies.

Laura Cox and Jay Cohen received their bachelor’s degrees from UCSB; Laura in 1983 in business economics and psychology, and Jay in business economics in 1984. Both earned MBA degrees from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University in 1988. Laura currently serves as chair of Bridge the Gap College Prep., an organization dedicated to providing educational support for Marin City students. Jay is president and CEO of Cohen Capital Management, a financial investment advisory firm based in Corte Madera, California. They reside in Tiburon, California with their three sons: Trevor, Keegan and Brodie.

This fund will support doctoral student research on broad topics of social policy, including but not limited to, employment opportunities for the jobless and minorities; job training and job search; discrimination in the workplace; the effectiveness of our educational system; financial reform of

public education; health effects of environmental pollution; health insurance and health care options; credit market access for minorities; and the effectiveness of policies to control crime.


Bob Deacon

Fellowship Recipients

Antoine Deeb

Antoine Deeb was born in Dekwane, Lebanon and attended the American University of Beirut, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics (May 2014) graduating with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. He also earned his Master of Arts in Economics (May 2016) also earning a perfect 4.0 grade point average. While at the American University of Beirut, Antoine had one of our Ph.D. Alumni, Dr. Darius Martin who was his M.A. thesis supervisor. Darius said; “Antoine is one of the best students I’ve encountered in my career here, and I am especially happy to recommend him to my alma mater….he has the motivation and the personality traits that are ideal in a graduate student. I expect that he’ll have no trouble transitioning to independent research, and will be a great addition to your incoming cohort.”

Antoine joined our doctoral program starting in the Fall 2016, and during the first year of the program once again earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average and passed all three preliminary qualifying examinations on the first attempt. On one of the exams (Microeconomics) he was awarded the rare score of “Ph.D. Pass with Distinction”.  Now in the second year of doctoral studies, Antoine is taking field specialization courses in Labor Economics and Econometrics. He plans to focus his dissertation research on the impact immigration has on labor markets worldwide with a focus on the current situation in Europe.


Bana, Sarah

Sarah Bana joined our doctoral program starting in the Fall quarter 2013, shortly after completing her Master of Arts degree in Applied Economics from Georgetown University.  Prior to attending Georgetown, she was awarded her B.A. in Quantitative Economics with a minor in Mathematics from the University of California Irvine (June 2010). She also served as the Executive Vice President of Associated Students at UC Irvine from October 2009 to June 2010.

From the time she graduated from UC Irvine and through her completing her M.A. degree from Georgetown, Sarah also worked as a research assistant for RAND Corporation in Washington D.C.  Sarah provided qualitative and quantitative research assistance to several projects related to military family research, ROTC production and diversity, Navy Flying Hour Program, irregular warfare, officer education and Army rotation tempo and quality of life.

Sarah is currently focusing her dissertation research on displaced workers, specifically those who lose their job because of a firm or plant closing. Her research shows that displaced workers on average suffer substantial earnings losses after the event, and do not recover in the next ten or fifteen years we see them in the labor force. This has led her to look into the differences in these workers’ experiences to uncover potential causes.

She is also looking at California’s paid family leave program, and researching the policy relevant questions about the benefit amount: would giving more to mothers and fathers to take the leave lead to positive or negative labor market consequences?

When asked how this award benefited her dissertation research, Sarah said; ”I am honored to be the recipient of the fellowship and use it for my studies.  Thanks to your contribution, I was able to make substantial progress on this work. In fact, I presented at two conferences this year: the Society of Labor Economists (SOLE) Meetings in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the Western Economics Association International (WEAI) in San Diego, California. I will also be attending a conference in Boston, Massachusetts at the end of July where my co-author is presenting, and hope to meet valuable connections for my time on the job market."

Adam Wright

Adam Wright came to UC Santa Barbara in the Fall quarter 2010 from the University of Richmond, where he completed his Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Economics, graduating Summa Cum Laude. Adam then went on to earn his Master of Education with a concentration in Secondary Education from Arizona State University, graduating with a perfect 4.0 GPA.  During the two years of his graduate program, he taught ninth and tenth grade mathematics at Agua Fria High School in Avondale, Arizona helping to bring education equality to a low-income community.

His research interests include addressing minority-student gaps in cognitive and noncognitive development, teacher and student peer effects, and for-profit colleges and federal student aid.

Adam’s research and main contribution of his dissertation work is to link early childhood changes in disruptive behavior to eighth grade suspension, which itself have shown to be predictive of college attendance and completion.  Additionally he is using an investigative report by the U.S. Government Accountability Once (2010) that details how for-profit college admission officers in four schools encouraged applicants to falsify data on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) so that they can qualify for federal grants and loans. He specifically aims to determine whether eligibility for federal Pell Grant aid is overstated at certain for-profit schools, conditional on observable student characteristics.

Adam earned his PHD from UCSB in Spring 2017 and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Western Washington University.