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Connecticut Economic Literacy Initiative

Pursuing a More Economically Savvy State Through Education & Research


Why "economic" literacy?

Our mission is to provide an educational program to middle schoolers on not only the important aspects of financial literacy, but also the knowledge necessary to analyze and understand macroeconomic trends - two areas that are markedly under-taught in early education but are essential skills in today's climate. 



CELI is a state-wide initiative started by 2 E.O Smith High Schoolers in order to increase economic and financial literacy in Connecticut, which has been repeatedly marked as one of the worst in the country in terms of monetary education.

CELI works in 2 ways:
1. We host free and virtual programs for middle school students all across CT, in which they learn about theoretical economics with concepts like scarcity and its practical applications to their current and future lives for financial necessities such as budgeting, investing, and taxes.

2. We compose articles and videos through our publication Nutmeg Economics, which focuses on the fiscal, structural, and local economic and financial developments of Connecticut.

Since its inception, we have
-Reached 70+ students from over 8 middle schools in CT
-Received 5K+ views on our CT-based economic and financial research
-Directly collaborated with 7 organizations including non-profits, financial podcasts, CT education departments, and financial literacy app developers.
-Partnered with 3 middle schools in CT to include our program directly in their schools
-Cooperated with 4 libraries across CT to spread economic and financial literacy to their respective communities
-Recognized by CT State Treasurer Shawn T. Wooden,,, NPR's Host of "All Things Considered"

Meet The Founders

Gabriel Agüero

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Gabe Agüero is a senior at Edwin O Smith High School in Storrs, CT and a Student Advisory Board Member at the UChicago Financial Education Initiative. He is a Morgan Stanley Scholar in Finance, founded the Economics Club his junior year, and captained his Adam Smith team during the National Economics Challenge earning a near perfect score. Gabe has also taken AP Macroeconomics (5), has done an independent study on International Economics, and has attended the Economics for Leaders program in the summer of 2021. He is extremely passionate about economics and finance, and his primary goal with this initiative to share his love for this subject with those who are younger than him.

Connor Dudas

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Connor Dudas is a senior at Edwin O Smith High School in Storrs, CT and a Student Advisory Board Member at the UChicago Financial Education Initiative. In both his junior and senior year, Connor won back to back elections for treasurer of the class of 2022. He also serves as VP of Operations for EO Smith's Economics Club, captaining the David Ricardo division of the National Economics Challenge and earning a near perfect score. He also self-studied AP Macroeconomics (5) and AP Microeconomics (4), ​igniting his engagement with the subject. Connor is a voracious reader of books and articles concerning economics and finance, and is primarily interested in contributing to CELI’s research department. 

Business cycle

What does it mean when we are in a recession? What factors determine a healthy economy?


Learn why 1,000,000 dollars may not be as impressive as it sounds. 

budgeting and investing

Taxes, retirement plans, and all of the important financial aspects that school doesn't teach.


From lemonade markets to stock markets, learn about how supply and demand affect our everyday lives.

What topics does Celi teach?


educational opportunities

If you are a middle school principal or teacher, please email us at
to collaborate in implementing our program at your school.

If you are parent or middle schooler interested in attending our program, please register below. 

Upcoming Events

  • CELI @ Ashford Middle School
    Sep 30, 3:30 PM – Oct 28, 7:30 PM
    This program is fully virtual and exclusively for AMS students.
  • CELI @ Hall Memorial School
    Time is TBD
    This program is fully virtual and is exclusively for HMS students.
  • CELI @ Mansfield Middle School
    Time is TBD
    This program is fully virtual and exclusively for MMS students.
  • CELI 5-Week Program
    Time is TBD
    Time is TBD
    This is for any middle schooler who is interested in participating that does not already have a partnered school with CELI.

Previous Student Quote

Great club! All I have to say is I had a great time overall!

Exit Survey Statistics

  • 100% of students said it was an enjoyable and educational experience 

  • 100% of students said CELI taught them lessons that they will use for the rest of their lives.

  • 100% of our students said they would pursue economics/finance in high school or college

  • 58% said they would now be interested in a career in economics/finance.

  • Average of 85% on final assessment of class



When Connor Dudas and Gabe Aguero approached me about hosting a middle school economics club, I was immediately onboard. I knew there would be a lot of student interest in this topic. The project was a great success. Connor and Gabe were able to convey their goals to potential participants in order to draw them in. They were able to keep students actively participating because of their careful planning for each session. Even though the club had to meet over Zoom, the sessions were interesting, fun, and filled with useful information. Connor and Gabe each have a deep understanding of economics and it was a pleasure to see how professionally they shared their knowledge with others.


Impacts of Previous Financial Literacy Initiatives

Evidence from The Impact of School-Based Financial Education on High School Students and Their Teachers: Experimental Evidence from Peru

by Veronica Frisancho



  • The introduction of financial education improved students’  financial knowledge by 0.14 standard deviations.

  • Grade specific financial knowledge increased by 0.14 standard deviations.

  • The treatment produced a 0.18 standard deviation increase in cumulative GPA.

  • Mathematics and language performance increased by approximately 0.15-0.16 standard deviations.

  • The aggregate improvement was 0.03 standard deviations for self control, with the largest individual deviation being identified among tenth graders (0.06 standard deviations).

  • The intervention exerted a significant impact on financial behavior and was responsible for significant increases in price comparison and preferences for saving instead of borrowing, 1.2 and 1.3 percentage points, respectively.

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