Empowering the Next Generation

A Reflection on the AEA CSQIEP Queer Economics PhD Student Mentoring Conference

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Dr. Konstantin Platonov was a mentor in the AEA CSQIEP Queer Economics Student Mentoring Conference in Summer 2023. The unique experience, focused on supporting LGBTQ+ graduate students navigating their final years of the graduate school left a profound impact on him as a mentor of the conference.

Hosted at the heart of Berkeley, CA, the inaugural conference fostered a welcoming and inclusive environment where students felt comfortable discussing their research and, at the same time, exploring their identities. In a dedicated session, students shared their projects and received feedback from mentors and peers. In other sessions, students discussed with mentors the common challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals in the economics profession, such as navigating the job market, teaching a diverse body of students, and life of a queer economist in general. Coming from different academic and professional backgrounds, mentors shared what a typical day looks like depending on the career path students pick: academy, government, or private sector.

As a macroeconomist, Dr. Platonov mentored a group of students with related research interests. He had the opportunity to share his academic journey and to talk about his current research. He witnessed the students’ passion for their research and their commitment to contributing to the field of economics which was truly inspiring. Through one-on-one interactions and group workshops, he offered guidance on research development, job market preparation, and career building. 

However, the impact went beyond the traditional mentor-mentee relationship. With more than one hundred participants, the conference fostered a sense of community and belonging not only for these students but for mentors too. Dr. Platonov saw students connect with peers and mentors and learn from each other. 

Dr. Platonov had the opportunity to contribute to a more diverse and inclusive economics profession by supporting LGBTQ+ students to create a space where everyone feels welcome and can thrive. Economists of all identities and backgrounds are essential to the economics professions, and they have a lot to offer for their communities.

Dr. Platonov encourages other economists to consider participating in future AEA CSQIEP Queer Economics PhD Student Mentoring Conferences. He has found it to be an incredibly rewarding experience that helps to build a more diverse and inclusive economics profession for all.