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Sharon G. Levin Economics Scholarship

Sharon Gale Levin, Ph.D., was a Professor Emeritus in Economics and Chair of the Economics Department for almost 15 years.  She grew up in New York City, graduating from the prestigious and highly-competitive Bronx High School of Science at the age of 16. In 1968, she received her undergraduate degree from City University of New York (CCNY), where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and completed her Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Michigan in 1973.

Sharon joined the UMSL Economics faculty as an Assistant Professor in 1974, and rapidly built a reputation as that all-too-rare “triple hitter” on campus, excelling in teaching, research and service. As a teacher, Sharon was uncompromising in her standards, yet always available to students whether they were in her class or in a colleague’s class. She was a visionary in crafting curriculum that would meet students’ needs for decades to come. As Chair, she created unparalleled undergraduate and graduate programs in applied econometrics – the strongest in the bi-state region, if not the entire Midwest – that led to the placement of UMSL Economics graduates in such prominent employment venues as the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Boeing, ExpressScripts, Citibank, Mastercard, and Centene. Moreover, these innovative, rigorous programs significantly enhanced the success of UMSL Economics students applying to distinguished graduate programs in law, business and economics. Sharon was also the impetus for creating the 3-2 BS/MA program in Economics, one of the very first such programs on campus.

As a researcher, Sharon was a pioneer in the nascent field of the Economics of Science. She focused much of her attention on empirical studies of the demand for, and supply of, scientists, as well as the contributions of women, minorities and immigrants to the scientific workforce. She set an extremely high bar in her research productivity and publishing venues, which included the co-authored Oxford University Press book, Striking the Mode Lode in Science (1992); more than 40 journal publications, many published in the highest-ranked economics journals including the American Economic Review and Review of Economics and Statistics; and a piece in the number one ranked journal Science. Sharon was awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in competitive research grants from such funding sources as the Exxon Educational Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.  Both the National Academies of Science and Rockefeller University, recognizing Sharon’s seminal contributions to better understanding the scientific labor force, invited her to serve as a reviewer for their programs and research proposals. In 1993, she received the Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Research and Creativity, the first woman faculty member on campus to receive this recognition. In 2000, she was awarded the UMSL Women’s Trailblazer Award. Sharon’s research productivity continued unabated when she became Professor Emeritus in 2003. One month prior to her passing, she was still actively working on a study on the biomedical workforce, a project funded by NIH.

For almost 15 years, Sharon served as the Chair of the Economics Program and Director of Graduate Studies, becoming a mentor to her colleagues and an advisor to virtually every undergraduate or graduate student who walked through the department’s door. She believed that it was the department’s responsibility to help place its students in internships, post-graduate employment or competitive graduate programs, and spent countless hours seeking out these opportunities and making the appropriate matches. Sharon personally advised countless undergraduate majors, often mapping out 2, 3, or 4 years of course schedules to ensure that they would complete their degree in four years. During her tenure as Chair, Sharon actively recruited women economics faculty, resulting in two full women professors, an associate professor plus several women lecturers, a feat in what remains a highly male-dominated discipline.  

Sharon served on many committees outside of the Department, including the college and campus-wide ATP Committees, the college’s Planning Committee, and the campus Research Grant Awards Committee.  She quickly earned a reputation for her thoughtful, deliberative approach to the creation of processes that would yield fair, consistent outcomes. She was able to frame issues in such a way that solutions followed in a straight-forward fashion.

She was also a passionate Yankees (Mickey Mantle) fan who eventually transferred her loyalty to the Cardinals. She loved everything about sports, whether it was baseball, tennis or football, and shared many sporting occasions - whether as a competitor herself or spectator - with her UMSL colleagues.

Sharon passed away on August 21, 2017 after a hard-fought battle against breast cancer. She was 70 years old.

The Sharon G. Levin Economics Scholarship is awarded to a full-time (12 or more hours per semester) undergraduate major in economics who has demonstrated academic merit and financial need. The student must have successfully completed at least 15 hours towards the major and have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Academic YearRecipient
2017/2018 Naomi Russell & John Lovell
2016/2017 Jordan Lucas & Takeya Rhodes
2015/2016 Hagen Montano
2014/2015 Elise Dye
2013/2014 Alex Tuchel-Veyhl
Fall 2013 Michelle Cissi
2012/2013 Marisa Klein
2010/2011 Charles Biddy
2007/2008 Warren Popp
2006/2007 Alan Medina