Congratulations to King’s alumna Ishita Kumar, ’20 BA Hons Economics and Mathematics, on being named as the Global Award winner in Economics undergraduate research as part of the prestigious worldwide 2020 Global Undergraduate Awards.

“I am proud to say it is not surprising to see this exceptional scholarly activity from Ishita. It is outstanding work, yet again, by our exceptional alumni. Throughout her years at King’s, she demonstrated thinking and research that I hope will lead her to be a disruptor for change in our world. Congratulations to her and to her faculty mentors and all who supported her at King’s. On behalf of all of us at King’s, we are so proud of you. You have demonstrated that King’s was your place to become,” says Dr. David Malloy, King’s Principal.

Kumar is one of only 25 students worldwide to be honoured as a Global Winner. Kumar won in the Economics category for her submission “Forecasting Canadian Inflation Using Dynamic Model Averaging.” She is a 2020 graduate of the School of Management, Economics, and Mathematics (MEM). Kumar is currently studying at the London School of Economics and Political Science in a Master of Science in Statistics program. She is also providing online teaching assistant support for Economics classes at King’s.

In crafting her award-winning submission, Kumar applied Bayesian statistics to improve macroeconomic forecasts. Forecasts, especially inflation forecasts, are fundamental to the Canadian economy. She gives the example of the Bank of Canada, which uses inflation forecasts as an operational guide to conduct its monetary policy. It was because of this that she focused on inflation. She used a new statistical technique known as “Dynamic Model Averaging (DMA)” to produce Consumer Price Index inflation forecasts and compared their accuracy to forecasts produced by various statistical models that are widely used in economics today. Her research contributed to economic literature by analyzing the impact of DMA in an economy with an inflation-targeting monetary policy regime.  

 “I am grateful for the academic and personal mentorship that I received during my time at King’s. I would like to thank Dr. Adian McFarlane, Assistant Professor of Economics, who was my academic supervisor and helped me tremendously with the direction I took with this paper. In addition to this, the faculty at the School of MEM, King’s Residence and King’s International have supported me since the day I started at the university,” says Kumar, who adds she was “overjoyed” to receive the email from the Global Undergraduate Awards. 

Everyone at the School of MEM is thrilled with the news of Kumar’s Global win. “Ishita is our superstar! We are so proud that she is our grad! It is just amazing that so much talent comes with such a lovely personality and attitude. The combination is unbeatable,” says Dr. Grigori Erenburg, Director, School of Management, Economics, and Mathematics.

During her time at King’s, Kumar was a residence assistant, research assistant, teaching assistant, a peer guide, bridging assistant, communications assistant for the School of MEM, Editor of the 2018 issue of the MEM Insider, and was involved with the King’s Economics and Math Society. She also worked on campus during the summers. During the Spring 2020 Convocation she received a King’s Gold Medal for Bachelor of Arts Honours – Social Science.

“The King’s University College Alumni Association extends sincere congratulations to Ms. Kumar on receipt of this prestigious recognition. This is an exceptional achievement for her of which to be proud. We are honored to count Ms. Kumar as alumna of King’s, and we look forward to seeing the next steps in her career,” says Jana Gordon, Executive Director, Alumni and Development.

This is the second year in a row that a King's alumna has achieved Global Winner status at the Global Undergraduate Awards. In 2019, Madelaine Coelho '19, Honours BA in Sociology and Political Science was honoured for her paper "Rape Myths in Digital Spaces: An Analysis of High-Profile Sexual Assault Cases on Twitter.”

This year the Global Undergraduate Awards received more than 4,100 submissions from more than 380 institutions worldwide. The full list of Global Winners, Regional Winners, and Highly Commended winners for 2020 can be viewed on their website. We will be highlighting Regional and Highly Commended winners from King’s in the near future. Please continue to visit our website for the story.