April 9, 2012

Shannon McCoy Studies Financial Literacy in UCARE Project

The UNL UCARE program gives undergraduate students the opportunity to learn the practice of research by undertaking a two-year project under the guidance of a faculty sponsor. Shannon McCoy, a finance major at the College of Business Administration from Papillion Neb., culminated his research project with a poster presentation at the UNL Undergraduate Research Conference on April 5.

McCoy’s project was titled “Survey of Financial Literacy in U.S. High Schools,” and his faculty sponsor was Dr. Carlos Asarta, assistant professor of practice of economics. McCoy used the national FinanceChallenge.us online competition portal which was developed internally at CBA by Dr. Roger Butters, in his role as president of the Nebraska Council on Economic Education, to assess the level of financial literacy among U.S. high school students.

“Finance Challenge teachers signed up teams of three to four students to compete in the challenge,” McCoy said, “The students took an exam to measure various standards and financial concepts.”

McCoy used concepts set in place by the Jump$tart coalition, a Washington DC think tank which sets financial literacy standards for high schools across the country. After collecting and analyzing the data from the high school students, McCoy found some troubling information.

“Our conclusion was that among high school students financial literacy seems quite poor across various standards and concepts. On a scale of 0 to 100, the highest average score on any of the concepts was only 56 percent which is pretty troubling.”

The research also examined gender differences in financial literacy.

“When you break it down by gender, male students score significantly higher in almost every single concept compared to their female peers. Some of the reasons behind this appear to be a role-model gender effect.”

McCoy sees future research as being one of the keys to begin changing financial literacy outcomes for both male and female students, particularly in terms of finding ways to make sure female students are exploring all their options before choosing a career path.

Dr. Asarta affirmed McCoy’s research and is planning on submitting the findings to a peer-reviewed journal for publication in the near future.

“Shannon is an intelligent, applied and involved student leader, and it has been a pleasure working with him over the past 2 years,” Asarta said. “He has been instrumental in supporting my research endeavors and I believe that he has been able to gain a true understanding of what we do as researchers along the way.”

Although McCoy will be graduating this semester, his future plans to attend Law school make the UCARE program all the more worthwhile.

“The UCARE program is great preparation for students in learning how to conduct research and that’s going to be a major part of my legal education,” McCoy said. “I would recommend undergraduate business students to consider doing research.  They may not think about it as much as other majors, such as the sciences and engineering, but it’s a great opportunity for business students and it’s a nice part time job. It’s also a great thing to have on your resume and talk to future employers about because it shows your dedication to academics.”

UNL College of Business UCARE Projects for 2011-12:

Accountancy, School of
Lian Xue (Year 1)
The Cost and Benefit of Dual Class Capital Structure
Faculty sponsor: Huishan Wan

Jing Lim (Year 1)
Pension plans and Capital Structure Adjustments
Faculty sponsor: Yijia Lin

Zachary Bishop (Year 1)
Entrepreneurship and Economics: A look at growth in employment and personal income
Faculty sponsor: Eric Thompson

Carly Williams (Year 1)
The Effect of State Lotteries on Working Class Individuals
Faculty sponsor: Sam Allgood

Shannon McCoy (Year 2)
Assessment of Specific Determinants of Student Performance in Business and Economics
Faculty sponsor: Carlos Asarta

Adeline Boey Nee Yan (Year 1)
A Comparative Study of Virtual World and Traditional In-class Education
Faculty sponsor: Fiona Nah

Hill Lam Choy (Year 1)
Information Technology Outsourcing by Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and Its Impact on Economy
Faculty sponsor: Keng Siau

Amanda Chwee Pui Mun (Year 1)
Smarter Education
Faculty sponsor: Keng Siau

Hanji Li (Year 1)
Business Applications of Virtual Worlds
Faculty sponsor: Fiona Nah

Siting Wang (Year 1)
The Assessment of Implicit Psychological Capital and its Implications for Health, Work, and Relationships
Faculty sponsor: Peter Harms

Yunjie Zhou (Year 1)
Culture and Leadership in Virtual Worlds
Faculty sponsor: Fiona Nah

Foong Cheng (Year 2)
Social Networking Websites and Educational Applications
Faculty sponsor: Keng Siau

Ee Von Cheong (Year 2)
Consumer Decision Making in Virtual Worlds
Faculty sponsor: Fiona Nah

Jieling Mai (Year 2)
Efficacy of Virtual Worlds for Team Collaboration
Faculty sponsor: Fiona Nah

Mei Wan Wong (Year 2)
Pedagogical Strategies for Three-Dimensional Virtual World Education
Faculty sponsor: Keng Siau

Yue Li (Year 1)
Changing nature of masculinity and femininty globally
Faculty sponsor: James Gentry

Kye Le Ho (Year 2)
Changing nature of masculinity globally
Faculty sponsor: Jim Gentry