Recent Winners

2019-2020 Winner

David Nipper of Folsom Lake College

David’s paper, Reform for the Modern American Retirement System, was chosen by the blue-ribbon panel of judges to receive the 2020 iOme Challenge award. This winning essay outlines a plan to shore up Social Security, increase personal savings and expand financial literacy and advice to workers needing it the most. Read David Nipper’s essay and the Press Release announcing the winner.

 2018-2019 Winner

The iOme Challenge winning team for 2019 is from Michigan Technological University. The students—Zach Rosenbaum, Cole Peppin, and John Ruf—were selected for their essay The Basic Proposal: Retirement Policy for a New Generation.  The team also created a short video. The faculty advisor for the team is Emanuel Xavier-Oliveira, PhD, Assistant Professor of Economics, School of Business & Economics at Michigan Tech. As the winner of the Challenge, the team received a $5,000 prize and presented their essay at a forum in Washington, DC on June 19, 2019.

See photos from the 2019 Forum.

2017-2018 Winner

The 2018 iOme Challenge winner is Evan Avila, a student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). His faculty advisor was Professor Douglas J. Lamdin, Department of Economics, UMBC.

2017-2018 iOme Challenge Question: Congress has invited a Team of millennials to join the Special Bipartisan Task Force to address the nation’s growing retirement crisis. A special emphasis will be placed on increasing retirement savings opportunities for millennials at the workplace and independently. You are tasked with developing a comprehensive policy proposal that will address challenges and result in more millennials saving for retirement. The policy proposal may include, but is not be limited to: 1) Ideas to expand the number of employers that offer plans to traditional and nontraditional workers; 2) Ideas to encourage gig economy workers to participate in retirement savings; 3) Ideas to encourage more employees to participate in the plans offered to them; 4) Ways that tax or other government policy can be used to increase savings; and 5) How to use online resources and social media to facilitate awareness and increase savings.

Read the 2017-2018 Winning Essay.
Watch the 2017-2018 team video.
See photos from the 2018 Forum.

2016-2017 Winner

The winning team of the 2016-2017 Challenge is a first-ever collaborative effort across schools. Team members include: Yankang (Bennie) Chen, Columbia University; Jiayu (Kamessi) Zhao, Columbia University; Siheng (Asa) Li, Amherst College; and Qiufeng (Joseph) Zhang, Duke University. The team’s faculty advisor is Prof. Jonathan E. Vogel, Columbia University.

This year, teams were asked to imagine the newly elected president has named your iOme Team as members of the Task Force for the Financial Security of Millennials (TFFSM). The President believes that Millennials face some unique financial challenges. And that addressing the financial concerns of Millennials will have substantial economic impact for the future of the Millennial Generation. Two of the major financial challenges that face Millennials are substantial college debt and the lack of saving for retirement. These two challenges are naturally linked to one another. Paying off large college indebtedness means those funds cannot be set aside for retirement. Teams were asked to develop a policy proposal that will solve or ease the burden of college debt for Millennials. If the college debt burden is eased, what incentives can be developed to ensure that the money saved can be channeled into savings for retirement? The policy proposal links these two financial challenges and provides solutions for both.

Read the 2016-2017 Winning Essay.
Watch the 2016-2017 team video.
See photos from the 2017 Forum