MassBay Student Selected for Diversity in Economics Summer Institute

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In full transparency, the press release and photo were submitted to SOURCE media by MassBay Community College.

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WELLESLEY – MassBay Community College is pleased to announce Pierre Alain Belcher of Newtonville,  is the only community college student, and the only student from Massachusetts, selected to participate in the inaugural cohort of the Expanding Diversity in Economics (EDE) Summer Institute hosted by the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago (BFI).

The EDE Summer Institute is designed to identify and support talented undergraduate students from a broad range of backgrounds who are interested in the study of economics. The Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago’s goal is to diversify the pool of students majoring in economics who may go on to a graduate program or an economics-related career.

“I am very excited and thankful for the opportunity to be part of this program and I would like to thank MassBay Professors Thomas Niemi and Courtney DeGeorge for writing letters of recommendation for me,” said Belcher. “Economics is a field that I am very interested in because in my home country of Haiti, the economy is unstable and there aren’t a lot of opportunities for people to advance in business. I hope to someday return to Haiti to bring hope and my experience to help the Haitian people build a stable and prosperous economy.”


According to the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago, Belcher was selected from a pool of more than 200 applications. He is one of 45 students selected for the inaugural cohort, which represents 31 higher education institutions and is composed of 33 women and 12 men, with 53% of the participants identifying as African American and 22% as Latinx. The cohort GPA average is 3.78 and 17 participants are first-generation college students.

Belcher, who studies international business at MassBay, moved to the United States three years ago from his native Haiti. He graduated from Newton North High School in Newton, MA, in 2020 where he thrived both inside and outside of the classroom. Belcher completed an advanced college prep curriculum with a focus on science, math, and literature, earned the Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy in French, ranking in the 85th percentile for the National French Contest in 2020, and served as a peer tutor in French. At Newton North High, he was also a three-sport athlete in football, basketball, and track and was a cast member of the high school theater group.

Since enrolling at MassBay in fall 2020, Belcher made Dean’s List, is in the Honors Program, and is an active participant in the Multicultural Mentoring Program at MassBay, all while studying remotely during the pandemic. Belcher is trilingual, speaking French, Haitian Creole, and English. He works part-time at Whole Foods Market, while also interning at the Horace Mann Elementary School in Newton.

Belcher looks forward to learning about economics and its role in international business. His future goals include earning his associate degree and transferring to a four-year university to pursue a bachelor’s degree in international business and economics.


The EDE Summer Institute was launched by BFI in 2021 with support from the Booth School of Business, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, and Northern Trust. It is a first-of-its-kind summer program targeting early undergraduate students for exposure to economics. Participants receive a stipend for satisfactory completion of the three-week session, with Pell Grant-eligible students receiving additional funding. They also receive certification of completion from the University of Chicago. The EDE will be held virtually from July 18 – August 6, 2021.

Following the 2021 summer program, participants will become part of an ongoing EDE mentoring network, and select participants will be eligible to participate in research projects and assistantships during the academic year.

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MassBay Community College is the most affordable higher education option in MetroWest Boston, offering a robust portfolio of courses and more than 70 associate degree and certificate programs with flexible day, evening, and weekend classes in Ashland, Framingham, Wellesley Hills, and online. MassBay students receive an unmatched educational value by earning stackable credits that transfer to bachelor’s degree programs, and workforce-ready skills necessary to advance careers in high-demand fields such as health and life sciences, automotive technology, engineering, business, cybersecurity, and the humanities. MassBay’s Associate Degree in Nursing (RN) and Practical Nursing (LPN) programs were both ranked as the #1 Nursing Program in Massachusetts in 2020-2021 by national nursing advocacy organizations RegisteredNursing.org, and PracticalNursing.org. Since its founding in 1961, MassBay has been accredited by several governing bodies and remains firmly committed to its mission of meeting the needs of the diverse local communities it serves. We value the intrinsic worth of all individuals, collectively in pursuit of inclusiveness and prioritize our work towards achieving equity within our community and beyond

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