Students of the Week

(Fall 2017 and Spring 2018)


March 30, 2018

Our fifth ambassador of the week for Spring 2018 is Francesca Walsh!


Francesca is a fourth-year double major student. She designed her own major through the BDIC Department: a Neuroscience, Economic Decision Making, and Social Systems major with a second major in Economics and a minor in Biology. Francesca started out as a Physics major before realizing she shared a stronger interest in social and economic systems, their structures, and how individuals within these systems act to make changes through time. Hence, she created a major that highlights her interests; “I've always been fascinated by money and how money shapes decision making, so I created a major that allows me to take the systems approach I learned in Physics in order to understand the complex systems around us”. She reasoned that an Economics background offers a foundation in the traditional theories of economics while a Biology minor provides an understanding of the micro-level factors of decision making.

Francesca is part of the NeuroLearning and Performance lab studying how uncertainty and environment resources affect temporal discounting. “I'm interested in how money shapes decisions and how systems change over time due to the decisions made within them”.


Just like most of our seniors, Francesca entered STEM AP her freshman year because “I felt lost at such a large school and didn't meet too many girls in my classes”. She was looking for a STEM support network and access to help with time management and how to find opportunities on campus. Her favorite part of STEM AP is mentoring; being able to help younger students, especially neuro-track students, who are interested in research and the applications of decision science.


She is enrolled in a Neuroscience Master’s program at UMass in the neuro-economics lab. After acquiring her Masters, she plans to pursue a PhD in decision science or behavioral economics with a focus on the cognitive neuroscience aspects of economic decision making.


Outside of STEM AP, Francesca spent a summer at Oxford through the UMass Amherst Oxford Summer Seminar, and interned at a hedge fund doing investor profile research. She also became involved with the International Relations Club and Model UN team at UMass. “I love to keep up with politics, economic news, and the late-night satire. I also like spending time with my friends and enjoying the last weeks of my senior year”. Her hobbies include reading, crochet, sewing, and DIY projects. A woman of many talents! Keep it up.


Congratulations Francesca!

STEM Ambassadors Program