This summer, 16 Georgetown McDonough undergraduate students conducted research as part of the sixth annual Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. They will share their findings at the McDonough Undergraduate Research Symposium on Oct. 19 in Shea Commons.

Students worked with 14 Georgetown University faculty members to investigate various business topics, with a diverse range of subjects such as patterns in global food waste, the future of Brexit, the impact of Russian import substitution, and the benefits of managed futures. Each fellow received a grant to work on their research project for five to 10 weeks.

Under the guidance of Ricardo Ernst, Baratta Chair in Global Business and director of the Global Business Initiative, sophomore Steven Mucyo (B’20) researched the impact of the tech revolution in his home country of Rwanda. Over the past decade or so, the Rwandan government has implemented business and tech-friendly policies in an attempt to encourage home-grown entrepreneurship, attract foreign investors, and decrease its dependence on foreign aid. Mucyo spent the summer working at an incubator in Rwanda and studying the effects that these policies have had on technology and business on the domestic economy.

In his research, Mucyo detailed an example of how impactful the tech revolution has been in Rwanda. Zipline, a drone company based in California, uses its fleet of drones to deliver lifesaving medical materials such as blood, drastically reducing delivery time. Rwandan hospitals have begun using this service, resulting in better medical treatment and a further integration of technology into the economy.

Sophomore Megan Carey (B’20) investigated the disproportionate number of women CEOs within the Russell 3000, the 3,000 U.S. companies with the largest market caps. Under the guidance of Catherine Tinsley, Raffini Family Professor of Management and director of the Georgetown University Women’s Leadership Institute, Carey examined factors such as educational background, career paths, and their roles on other public board of directors. Carey found that about 5 percent of these companies had female CEOs, and 20 percent had women in senior executive positions.

“Gender equity in the workplace is an issue that has gotten a lot of attention as of late, and in my opinion that has a lot to do with the work researchers are doing to bring it to light,” Carey said. “The more we know about what that inequity looks like and what might cause it, the more we can do as individuals, in our organizations, and in society to mitigate it.”

Carey’s most surprising find was that of the CEOs researched, a disproportionate number of the females had law degrees. She also found that when in distress, companies were more likely to appoint a female CEO. Carey’s conjecture was that distressed companies may be more likely to want a CEO with a legal background, although she hopes to do more research based on this hypothesis.

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