Jack Knetsch Award

The Jack Knetsch Award recognizes the best essay in the Economics Honours Thesis course (ECON 499W). This award is named after emeritus professor Jack Knetsch, who joined Simon Fraser University at its inception and retired in 2000.


Jerry Eiswerth

When I first began my studies at SFU in the fall of 2020, I wasn’t sure what major would be a good fit. After a year of classes in various disciplines including history and computer science, I took first year micro and macroeconomics courses. I quickly realized that economics was my calling. Being able to put precise names to abstract concepts such as opportunity cost and diminishing marginal utility was like speaking a language I already knew, but never had the words for. Further, I realized that an economist’s toolkit can be used to help and better people’s lives through policy change.

During my time at SFU, I was fortunate enough to be able to work as a research assistant for Dr. Krishna Pendakur, a leading expert who studies poverty and inequality, which fueled my desire to pursue graduate studies in economics and follow in his footsteps. I also credit the economics Honours courses for challenging me in ways that shaped me into a better student. I want to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who supported me during this journey. Beginning in September, I will be continuing my education as a Masters student at UBC’s Vancouver School of Economics.

Past winners


When I began this course, I had reservations about my research abilities. However, after immersing myself in two semesters of dedicated research and diligent study, my understanding of economics has greatly improved, and my research skills have been refined. The opportunity to empirically apply the economic knowledge garnered during my undergraduate studies has been particularly rewarding.  My research paper successfully demonstrated the environmental implications of behavioural economics, and I was able to support my findings with solid empirical evidence. I am truly grateful for the unwavering support and invaluable guidance provided by my thesis supervisor instructor, whose dedication has been crucial in nurturing my academic growth.

I joined Simon Fraser University in spring 2018. My first interaction with economics was an entry level macroeconomic course where it was the first time I realized that our society is running under certain rules and we can in fact make the world better by utilizing these rules. As I learned how to model and test these rules, it further developed my passion for economics. For now I’m open to all types of economic research before settling down on a specific area of expertise. After graduation, I will continue my studies in the MA economics program at the University of Toronto, starting later this fall. I hope I can go further in the world of academia. 

2021: Andrew Hicks

Andrew Hicks is a recent graduate of SFU with a Bachelor of Arts degree with honours majoring in Economics. Since stumbling onto Economics in his third year, Andrew has grown increasingly fascinated in the subject and its practical policy applications. Aside from his studies, he has developed his understanding of economic research through several research projects as a research assistant to Dr. Kevin Schnepel, and through his honours thesis under the supervision of Dr. Shih En Lu, both of whom he is grateful to. His thesis investigates the causal effect of basic income on recipients’ willingness to take risk based on evidence from the 1970s Manitoba negative income tax experiment. 

Andrew will be pursuing his MA at the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver School of Economics this Fall and intends to pursue a career in economic policy research. His research interests include applied microeconomics, causal inference, and development economics. Andrew would like to thank his family for their constant support, and the professors in SFU’s honours Economics program for their advice and clever insight during his undergraduate studies.

Hamza Abdelrahman is celebrating the completion of his honours bachelor of arts degree in economics after four years filled with high academic achievements and community engagement. Since joining SFU in 2016 as a Major Entrance Scholarship recipient, he has completed three co-op work terms and volunteered with multiple groups on campus. He has received a number of awards, including the Glenn Berg Award for academic excellence in economics; the Big Data Research Award; the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award; and the Robert C. Brown Award for outstanding leadership and academic performance. For his honours thesis, Hamza looked at the causal effect of the disbursement of social assistance payments on drug crimes and alcohol sales in Vancouver, BC. He plans on completing graduate studies in economics and has set his career sights on becoming the prime minister of his home country, Jordan.

Jordan Hutchings is a recent honors economics graduate from SFU. He was recruited from Ontario to come play golf on the varsity men’s golf team by the late John Buchanan in 2014. It wasn’t until after taking the Principals of Microeconomics that Jordan learned he had a deep interest in studying economics. Alongside playing on the SFU golf team, Jordan’s main focuses included working as a research assistant for Professor Hendrik Wolff and writing his honours thesis that quantified the impact Yelp ratings have on restaurants. Jordan is currently working at the Bank of Canada within the Canadian Economic Analysis division, and he will be pursuing his M.A. at the Vancouver School of Economics at the University of British Columbia this fall. His research interests include applied microeconomics, econometrics and environmental economics. Jordan would like to thank his professors, especially his thesis supervisor Professor Shih En Lu, for their constant support throughout his undergraduate experience.

Artem Sadreev is currently in his fourth year in the economics honours program at SFU. He first started studying economics back in his final years of high school. He was amazed by how broad applications of microeconomics theories are. They can be used not only to analyze individual firms in the market, but can also model a very broad range of everyday interactions in our society. That’s why he was so excited to apply his economics knowledge to develop a theoretical framework that can be useful in analyzing the issue of rising prescription drug abuse. Right now, he is switching his focus a bit by studying for his CFA Level 1 exam. He hopes it will help to diversify his risks in the labor market so that he can find a job where he can fully use what he learned during his university years. He thanks his professors for their continuous support and motivation, and for allowing him to learn so much about the world around him.

In a department known for its hard marking, Justin finished his B.A. with an incredible CGPA of 4.12. He accomplished this while taking a full course load, being married, and working part time. Justin is also highly committed to and engaged with his community. In the past, he has volunteered with the Vancouver Island Addiction Recovery Society and is currently a youth leader with the Calvary Baptist Church.

Justin also received the Dean's Undergraduate Convocation Medal when he graduated in 2012. 

“I have thirty years of teaching experience… I rank Justin among the top one or two students I’ve ever taught, and on certain dimensions one of the most talented persons I’ve ever known.” – Douglas Allen, Department of Economics