|Ms. Demelza Hays graduated with an economics degree from the University of South Florida (USF). She currently conducts research on the correlation between an Indian woman’s status and the health of her child with Dr. Benedicte Apouey, USF Department of Economics. As Dr. Terry Sincich’s statistics upper level teaching assistant, Ms. Hays was selected as a contributing author to the Statistics for Business and Economics textbook. After studying in India through a U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarship, she founded the first Indic language organization at USF. As president of the Punjabi Club, she brought Turban Day to USF to fight discrimination against students who cover their heads in religious observance.
Also active in the community, in 2010 Ms. Hays started her own company, Tamarindo Properties LLC., which invests in foreclosed homes and manages property in Tampa. As a Hillsborough County (Florida) Supervisor of Elections volunteer, she registered over 500 students to vote during the 2008 presidential election season. Also in 2008, she volunteered during Stampede of Service (SOS) and planted flowers at a local elementary school. Her experience during SOS inspired her to participate every year of her undergraduate career as a site leader. After joining the National Society for Collegiate Scholars in 2008, she continued to stay engaged by tutoring high school students for free weekly.
The specific objective of Ms. Hays’ Fulbright research project, “Economic Impact of Microfinance in Rural Punjab,” is to determine the impact of microfinance in villages located in rural Punjab. Her conclusions will be based on statistical inferences formed from primary and secondary data compiled on thirty villages. Her study will consist of two focus groups for comparison: fifteen villages being offered financial services, and fifteen not. For each village, she will determine what the poverty line is, the amount of people living below that line, the unemployment rate, the demographics, the income per capita and the type of financial services being offered.