Alumna Mercer from Thermo Fisher Scientific Speaks to Economics Students

Posted on 12/13/2017 8:25:25 AM

On December 1, 2017, Hannah Mercer, a May 2017 IUP alumna, spoke to a gathering of economics students. She graduated from IUP with double majors in economics (honors track) and marketing and was recognized with the Dr. Brewer Award by the Department of Economics at commencement.

Mercer is a strategic pricing analyst in the Global Strategic Pricing Department at Thermo Fisher Scientific in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her various duties include retrieving, consolidating, analyzing, and summarizing data from very large data sets using SQL to help businesses set strategic prices in the market, implement pricing improvement programs, and track financial impact.

Academically, Mercer and her co-author won the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean’s Award for Excellence at the 2016 Undergraduate Scholars Forum and were invited to give a poster presentation at the 2017 “Undergraduate Research at the Capitol” in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Mercer received the Karl A. McDermott Scholarship for Economics, won the 2017 Pennsylvania Sports Business Conference Research Award, and was selected as the 2016-2017 IUP Women’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Mercer was a shortstop on the IUP women’s softball team and holds IUP records for career hits, career runs, and career total bases. In addition to these accolades, she was chosen by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) for the Academic All-District Softball Team for two consecutive years, and the Academic All-America Division II Softball Second Team in 2017.

In response to the question, “What do you do with an economics degree?” Mercer emphasized the growing opportunities for economics majors in data analytics/data science. Specifically, she cited IBM statistics indicating that the demand for data scientists will rise 28 percent in the next few years and encouraged the students to build their computer and business acumen. Mercer highlighted the Introduction to Econometrics class as the “single class that will prepare you for the real world” because of the quantitative, software, and communication skills she acquired from the course.

Mercer talked about the transition from college life to work life and encouraged the students not to “go through the motions” in college, but rather to “take advantage of the phenomenal Econ program IUP offers.” She recommended pursuing lifelong learning, networking as much as possible, and filling downtime during college with Khan Academy modules to enhance personal skill sets.

Mercer was effusive about how much she enjoys working at Thermo Fisher Scientific. Among her reasons was the fact that she can be herself and employ her creativity in finding answers to key questions posed by her colleagues. She also appreciates the flexibility of working remotely on Fridays after just six months on the job. Hannah also provided a comparison of government versus private sector employment based on her job search experience.

Looking ahead, Mercer plans to take the GRE in the spring and to apply to master’s programs in applied economics. Her current list of schools includes Purdue University and Johns Hopkins University. She noted that Thermo Fisher Scientific offers financial support to its employees for advanced study.

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PHOTO (From left to right):  James Jozefowicz, professor of economics, Hannah Mercer, Stephanie Jozefowicz, professor of economics.

Hannah Mercer was invited to speak to the economics students by James Jozefowicz, professor of economics. She took Jozefowicz’s Principles of Macroeconomics, Managerial Economics, Introduction to Econometrics, and Advanced Econometrics courses during her undergraduate career at IUP.