The College of Behavioral and Social Sciences congratulates Melissa S. Kearney, a faculty member in the Department of Economics, who recently was named as a Neil Moskowitz Professor.
“Melissa is one of the most distinguished members of our department, and I am glad to be able to recognize her achievements with this honor,” said Distinguished University Professor and Chair Maureen Cropper.
Professor Kearney’s research focuses on issues of social policy, poverty and inequality. She served for two years as the Director of the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution. She is a member of the board of the Notre Dame Wilson-Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities; a scholar affiliate of the MIT Abdul Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL); and co-chair of the J-PAL State and Local Innovation Initiative.
"From advising the president of the United States on tax policies that benefit working families to her groundbreaking research on reducing teen pregnancy rates, Professor Kearney embodies our college's mission to 'Be the Solution' to the world's great challenges. We are proud to support her research and teaching efforts, and we are grateful for the ongoing support of the Moskowitz family,” said Dean Gregory Ball.
Professor Kearney’s work has received national attention in the media and throughout the economics and policy worlds. Among her most visible projects, her work with Wellesley College economist Phillip B. Levine found that greater access to Sesame Street in the show’s early days led to improved early educational outcomes for children. They also found that MTV’s 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom programs led to a 5.7 percent reduction in teen births, which accounts for one-third of the overall decline in teen births in the year and a half following the show’s introduction in 2009. Professor Kearney has advised President Obama on economic policy; with Professor Lesley J. Turner, she developed a second earner tax credit proposed by President Obama during his 2014 State of the Union Address.
With this professorship, Professor Kearney’s work will be sustained by an endowment from Neil Moskowitz, ECON ’80, a distinguished alumnus of the college. Mr. Moskowitz serves on the BSOS Board of Visitors, and received the Distinguished Alumnus award from the College in 2001. He also was a trustee of both the University of Maryland College Park Foundation and the University System of Maryland Foundation.
After receiving his bachelor’s from the University of Maryland, Mr. Moskowitz earned an M.B.A. from Harvard. He then began his career at Goldman Sachs, where he rose to be a manager of U.S. and European equity operations. Mr. Moskowitz later joined Credit Suisse First Boston where he served as chief financial officer and was head of the investment banking support functions for the investment banking division of Credit Suisse.
In 1994, Mr. Moskowitz established the Martin Moskowitz Award Fund in memory of his father, who was a lawyer with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In 2010, Mr. Moskowitz created three additional funds, including the Hilda Moskowitz Graduate Fellowship in Economics, the Moskowitz Family Scholarship Award in Economics, and the Neil Moskowitz Professorship.
“We are deeply grateful to Neil Moskowitz for his steadfast support,” Professor Cropper said.