STUdent Liam McCann Earns Best Undergraduate Presentation at the Atlantic Canada Economic Association

Liam McCann


Economics honours STUdent Liam McCann, recently presented at the Atlantic Canada Economic Association, where he was awarded Best Undergraduate Presentation for his preliminary findings related to his thesis research project for his honours at STU.


McCann’s research is focused on micro-level determinants of human capital flight in Atlantic Canada and is focused on identifying what he said are the “push factors” leading to outmigration to other parts of Canada—with a focus on skilled workers.


Originally from Chilliwack, BC, McCann said he sees the uniqueness of the program at STU and how it’s offered as major academic advantages.


“I enjoy the in-class discussions that a small program at a small university provides,” he said. “The unique course content also lends important social context to traditional economic theory.”


“Beyond impressive” —Dr. Fariba Solati, Thesis Supervisor and Professor


McCann’s research is part of his honours thesis supervisor Dr. Fariba Solati’s project titled “Brain Drain in Atlantic Canada,” where she looks at reasons Atlantic Canada loses its educated and skilled workers to other provinces and to other countries.


McCann said the student-professor dynamic offered at STU has been instrumental to his academic and professional growth.


“Working with Dr. Solati is an honour. She’s a brilliant economist, and she has a lot of faith in her students,” McCann said. “As a supervisor, she pushes to give her students access to resources that are very rare at the undergraduate level. Without her guidance, I wouldn’t have the confidence to submit my thesis for presentation at a conference.”


Solati has worked with multiple students on the project, McCann being one of the most recent. She has been able to include them in research conducted at the New Brunswick Research Data Centre using econometrics applications and models.


“The work provides students with a unique experience applying their econometrics knowledge and answering real life questions.”


Solati said she knew McCann would make an excellent honours student and encouraged him to seek out off-campus opportunities to build confidence and skills in the field.


“I encouraged him to work in such a way so that he would have enough results to be able to send an abstract to ACEA conference and hopefully present,” she said.


“To me, the most important experience for an economic student is examining real life socioeconomic questions and trying to answer them using their economic knowledge. Presenting at conferences is the best way for students to gain confidence in their skills not only as a researcher, but also as an economist.”


“Being accepted as a presenter in economics conferences while an undergrad student is impressive,” Solati said. “Being rewarded for the best presentation is beyond impressive.”


“Since the first day I spoke with Liam, I knew he was going to be an excellent student, researcher, and economist. He carefully listened to my advice and has worked really hard. He deserves to be recognized for his effort and as his supervisor, I am so very proud of him.”