Photo by Matt D'Annunzio
Ahyan Panjwani 16
mathematics - economics
Hometown: Karachi, Pakistan
Who I was when I got to Reed: I was always second fiddle—never topped any class. Not being a prodigy means I need to work hard. It mattered to me what everybody else thought about me; was I living up to their expectations? I lived by a plan, trained to take the least risky route, and worked as hard as I could to stand up to those expectations.
The professors: My professors were the best things that happened to me. They picked me up when I was nothing, groomed me, and made something out of me. That would not have happened if I had gone to a big research university, because those professors would never know me; there would be an abyss between us.
Outside the classroom: I went back to Karachi and started an afternoon school for kids in the slum area near my old high school. Instead of coming all suited up and talking to students for an hour about Reed, it was about getting down and doing what mattered. An admission officer said that fall they saw a huge increase in the number of applications from Pakistan.
How Reed changed me: Reed gave me the much-needed freedom to figure out what I wanted to do in life, and made me realize that I need not make decisions based on what others would think about it. Now I call myself a global nomad. I have a sense of how things work in the world, and Reed was part of that. It is the best thing I could have done for myself.
Financial aid: Reed’s generosity made my wildest dreams come true. I received the Verne & Elizabeth Dusenbery Memorial Scholarship and the Phillip & Jeanne Wertheimer Scholarship. In providing these scholarships, the Dusenberys and Wertheimers have made a commitment for world peace and harmony by bringing the world closer one kid at a time, one student at a time.
Word to prospies: Have a general idea of what you want to do, but it need not be set in stone. Come with an open mind and expect to be doing top-notch academic work.
Thesis: Estimating the Impact of Commodity Market Shocks on Real Business Cycles Using Bayesian Methods
What it’s about: Not everyone loves low gas prices. With crude oil at decade lows, the Brazilian economy faces an uphill battle against high inflation and unemployment rates. I created a model of the economy and simulated various monetary policy specifications to see whether the Brazilian Central Bank can ease the strain using inflation targeting; they cannot.
What it’s really about: An excuse for me to play with MATLAB.
What’s next: I’ll be starting my doctoral studies in economics at Yale in the fall.