Top Junior Prize for JRCPPF Associate Gloria Wang

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Dec. 22, 2023

Princeton junior Gloria Wang '25, a long-time JRCPPF student associate, was awarded 1st place by the Economics Department for her junior independent work. Wang's junior paper is titled “The Effect of Marijuana Decriminalization on Opioid Prescribing Rates.”

“It was incredibly rewarding to see how a simple research question could be answered with data and how this analysis could hold real-world policy implications,” Wang said.

For Wang, deciding on a topic or specific research question for her paper was the most challenging part of the process. She knew she was interested in topics at the intersection of health, technology, and public policy, but it took a lot of reading and several conversations with her advisor, Professor Kelly Noonan, to begin narrowing down a long list of potential topics.

In the end, Wang found inspiration in a discussion from her Law and Economics class. Learning about different ways drug policies relate to economics pointed her in the right direction. With the help of her advisor, she began to explore several datasets related to drug policy. 

Wang—who is also pursuing certificates in Finance and Statistics & Machine Learning—encouraged students to study what’s most interesting to them, but to start exploring that interest early in the semester given how much reading can be required. She also encouraged students to be open-minded and ask for help. 

“Writing your Junior Paper isn’t a linear path, and there are many points at which you can pivot. Don’t be afraid if your research leads you down a different path than the one you initially set out to explore.”

“Roadblocks are natural in the research process, but there are many resources available to you at every stage of the Junior Paper. Schedule times to check in with your advisor and your Assistant-in-Instruction (AI), and don’t be afraid to reach out to other professors who may be experts in your topic. The Economics Statistical Services (ESS) is also a fantastic resource for data analysis. And finally, make sure to use your network of peers! They are all going through the same writing process, so they can be a great help for talking through your ideas and offering feedback.”

Image removed.The Economics Department recognized three other student Junior Prize winners: Samantha Lee (2nd place), Aaron Ventresca (3rd place co-winner), and Henry Wright (3rd place co-winner). The prizes, awarded based on students’ GPAs through the end of junior year and an assessment of the student’s Junior Independent Work (JIW), recognize top students moving into their senior year. To be recognized with a Junior Prize, students must earn top marks in challenging courses while also producing an impressive Junior Paper.

For more advice, information, or resources on Junior Papers, visit the Junior Independent Work (JIW) page on the Economics Department website.