Undergraduate Award Winner: Bianca Turman

Portrait of Bianca Turman

Bianca Turman, a rising junior studying economics and finance, won a 2023 President’s Student Leadership and Service Award for her community and campus engagement. By working with organizations such as the Minnesota Pre-Law Society and No More A Stranger, Turman is gaining valuable experience for her future career in law. Additionally, she has found “a community among students with interests similar to mine,” Turman explains.

What brought you to the University of Minnesota and how did you end up choosing your majors?

I realized my interest in economics by participating in speech and debate in high school. My coach encouraged the team to read the news every day (by the time I graduated, I had subscribed to over a dozen newsletters) and had us read Greg Ip's Little Book of Economics. As I became familiar with the rudimentary concepts, I became more interested in economic events. My coach encouraged my enthusiasm for the subject, and as I continued my readings, it felt like an obvious choice for me to further my learning in college. 

I decided to pursue a second major in finance because it is closely derived from economics and wanted to bring a more business-oriented perspective to my studies. 

Which CLA class or professor has had the biggest impact on you? Why?

I took ECON 3101 - Intermediate Microeconomics in the fall 2022 semester with Professor Thomas Holmes and Professor Hannes Malmberg. It is a challenging class, but it is also so rewarding. I remember flipping through my notes at the end of the semester and being in awe at the amount of material we covered. 

Both professors brought amazing energy to the course; I could truly see their enthusiasm for the subject. They regularly encouraged us to explore questions on our own and develop an intuition for the concepts we covered. They would also connect the topics to current events or their own research. 

What relevant experiences have you had outside of the classroom to enhance your studies? How have they influenced your career goals or other ambitions?

While my interest in the legal field began through my coursework, my involvement in the Minnesota Pre-Law Society (MPLS) developed it further. This organization afforded me the opportunity to engage with law school professors, students, and practicing attorneys. In addition, it helped me find a community among students with interests similar to mine. 

As a freshman, I began volunteering with No More A Stranger (NOMAS) Legal Services. As a volunteer, I have learned about America's asylum and immigration processes from a new perspective. While I don't foresee myself practicing in this area, the exposure has definitely heightened my interest in the law!

What has been your favorite part of your experience with your department?

I am a member of the Economics Undergraduate Student Board (EUSB). Every month, we host a donut hour to foster greater community amongst students in the economics department. One of my favorite experiences has probably been my involvement with these donut hours. They are an amazing opportunity to meet faculty and other students. It is extremely enriching to connect with professors outside of the classroom, and they will often share insight into their research. Also, the economics department regularly invites students to lectures and seminars on topics ranging from environmental policy to the Federal Reserve that are always a great experience.

What's next on the horizon?

Next year, I hope to gain more research experience in preparation for my honors thesis. I plan to attend law school once I've completed my bachelor's degree, so I hope to research a topic that combines my two primary interests. I have a few ideas in mind, but I would like to learn more about the fundamentals of law & economics before making a final decision. 

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