The University of Texas at Austin
School of Undergraduate Studies
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Samantha Speakmon

Samantha Speakmon
Business Honors and Finance

Samantha’s undergraduate research topic is Financial Impacts of the BP Oil Spill.

“Researching the financial implications of the oil spill gave me an opportunity to see a real-life example of concepts I learned in my finance classes.”

Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Laura Starks, Finance

How did you initially get involved in research?

I took Professor Starks’ Environmental, Social, and Governance Investing class, and our term project was a financial research paper on a topic of our choosing.

Briefly describe your research project.

I studied how the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 and its resulting environmental damage affected BP’s market value. I wanted to study how environmental disasters are understood and valued by the market. I looked at how BP’s stock price changed in the months following the oil spill; instead of an immediate reaction, investors de-valued BP’s stock incrementally.

What was the most rewarding part of your research experience?

I enjoyed gaining some insight into how the financial market reacted to such a major environmental incident.

How has participating in research affected your undergraduate experience?

Researching the financial implications of the oil spill gave me an opportunity to see a real-life example of concepts I learned in Professor Starks’ class as well as in my other finance classes.

Do you think getting involved in research will be helpful to you in the future? If so, how?

It has already helped me. Learning how to apply financial theory to real-life events and then synthesize the results into a concise report are important skills in the business world.

What advice would you give to incoming and current students about getting involved in research?

If possible, take upper-division courses with an emphasis on research. The early exposure to research, and the practical problem-solving skills that are developed, can give you in a competitive advantage in the workplace.

Research Week showcases the exciting work of undergraduates across campus and highlights opportunities for students interested in getting involved. Co-sponsored by the Senate of College Councils and the School of Undergraduate Studies, Research Week takes place April 15-19 this year. Take a look at the online schedule of events to find out more about Research Week events. To celebrate undergraduate research and creative activity, we’re highlighting five profiles of student researchers.