Mock Trial champ pursuing economics for public good

Published: Apr 24, 2023

Portrait of student outdoors on UMBC campus
Zinedine Partipilo Cornielles (Marlayna Demond '11/UMBC)

Zinedine Partipilo Cornielles

Degree: B.S., Financial Economics; B.A., Mathematics
Hometown: Barquisimeto, Venezuela
Post-grad plans: Predoctoral research fellow

Zinedine Partipilo Cornielles fled Venezuela at age 16 with his family to seek asylum in the U.S., an experience that has fueled his passion for public service, from his research to his work with communities he identifies with. 

Partipilo Cornielles, a Sondheim Public Affairs Scholar and member of the Honors College, has conducted independent research projects with Tim Gindling, professor of economics, and Salem Abo-Zaid, associate professor of economics. His project with Gindling on the impact of financial literacy on student loan decisions among undergraduates across the United States earned the Economics Department Chair Award in 2022. Meanwhile, he has served as a teaching assistant and tutor for fellow students and has taught English to local immigrants through the Esperanza Center and UMBC’s Shriver Center.

Partipilo Cornielles is also a member of UMBC Mock Trial and helped the team win the American Mock Trial Association National Championship in 2021 against perennial frontrunner Yale University. He is part of the Sloan Predoctoral Program through the UMBC economics department and, after pursuing a Ph.D. in economics, plans to conduct research on labor economics with a focus on Latin America. 

At the end of Academic Row, a student crouches next to a Mock Trial trophy about 3.5 feet fall; one hand rests on top of the trophy, the other is pointing at it.
Zinedine Partipilo Cornielles with the 2021 Mock Trial championship trophy. (Image courtesy of Partipilo Cornielles)

Has there been a mentor or fellow student who influenced your time at UMBC?

“Professor Tim Gindling provided me with great insights as a research mentor, course instructor, and academic advisor. Thanks to Professor Gindling, I was supported in my research interests and gained invaluable experiences that have helped me fall in love with the research process. Brevin Franklin and Seth Thomas, fellow Sondheim Scholars who graduated in 2022, also helped me navigate through college when I first came to UMBC, and I appreciate their friendship.”

What has been the best part of your UMBC experience?

“On one hand, winning a Mock Trial National Championship against the odds, through Zoom, and against Yale, was incredible. On the other hand, I also want to highlight my service learning experiences as great experiences I have had. I was able to give back to the community by helping others and understand first-hand the value of education and human capital.”

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