Five students from St. Mary’s College of Maryland comprised the winning team of the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) 2022 iOme Challenge national student essay competition. The student team of Mary Claire Basso-Luca ’23, Jazlyn Benitez ’23, Peter Fortescue ’22, Rachael Freeman ’24, and Kiya Rodriguez ’22 was selected for “A Proposal to the 117th Congress for the Betterment of Retirement Savings.” The team was advised by Joshua Kaisan, visiting assistant professor of economics and Jennifer Tickle, associate professor of psychology and interim assistant dean of faculty.

The challenge question was to propose, as Gen Z’ers about to enter the workforce, a new perspective to the Independent Commission on Retirement Security and to develop a plan with policies to improve the nation’s retirement system for all generations.

WISER President Cindy Hounsell said, “The team’s proposal represents a frank conversation about the fault lines in our retirement system and makes the case for strengthening the savings pillar of the retirement system, for the sake of future generations.”

The winning team shares a $5,000 prize with an additional $1,500 paid to the team’s faculty advisers. The team presents its winning essay at WISER’s 18th Annual Symposium on June 22 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The symposium will also feature speakers from Congress and the Department of Labor.

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