Why did you start teaching?
I started teaching in my first year of graduate school as a teaching assistant. My graduate funding was tied to teaching for the most part, as unromantic as that sounds. However, I went to graduate school in part because I wanted to teach. I come from a family of teachers. My mom’s parents were both teachers, and my mom was a teacher, so I always had amazing role models in that profession. I always saw teaching as an incredibly rewarding career path.
You worked in IT at Target. How did your experience there influence you to become an economics professor?
I’d always thought I would go to graduate school for economics. The job at Target fell into my lap after a successful summer internship there. I think it was my personality as an economics major that made me decide to take the job at Target for a few years to save some money and start a retirement account. If anything, my industry experience made going back to school more intimidating. I had found a successful career path in IT that I enjoyed but didn’t find particularly fulfilling. Going back to school after a four-year break meant that my math skills were rusty, and I was unaccustomed to living on a graduate student budget. However, I can attest through this and other experiences that usually the things that scare you the most end up being the most rewarding.
Talk about your research in the economics of education and marriage/family economics.
My job market paper looks at the impact of significant child health shocks on the relationships and balance of workload within a household. I find evidence that women experience a decrease in their satisfaction with parenting and their life and relationship satisfaction, and these results are most pronounced for households where the mother is less active in the labor market or less educated.
I also recently submitted a paper that looks at how men and women may use grade signals differently when deciding to major in economics. We find that the decision to major in economics is heavily influenced by grades within and outside of the major, and that women are relatively more responsive to introductory economics grades than men. However, this pattern is reversed for the college dropout decision, where men are relatively more responsive to introductory economics grades than women.
Currently, I’m working on another paper that looks at how foreign peers impact domestic students in introductory economics courses and getting a few other projects underway related to salary transparency, the Black Lives Matter movement, and household composition.
In general, I was quite lucky when it came to continuing my research during the pandemic. My research doesn’t require labs or in-person interviews since it is quantitative and largely survey-based or uses other datasets from institutions or online sources.
Why did you choose Hamilton?
I chose Hamilton for a multitude of reasons, but I also feel like I lucked out a bit. I chose Hamilton without visiting campus or the area in person. I enjoyed all of my virtual meetings with the faculty. The department seemed very collegial and fun. The students … asked thoughtful questions and were engaged in my seminar. Ultimately, Hamilton offered the opportunity to have a great mix of teaching and research.
The location seemed like a great fit too, since I love the outdoors and having all four seasons.
What experiences at Hamilton stand out so far?
I had never attended a convocation before coming to Hamilton, so that experience was definitely memorable. I also loved the Common Ground event on campus and the amazing turnout for Mankiw and Romer.
Can you talk about your faculty colleagues?
This year there are three of us who are new in the department, and we’re hiring another new colleague this year. Like the rest of the College, the Econ. Department has a great mix of veteran and new professors. Being new, it’s been fantastic to have so many junior faculty around to learn with while at the same time having so many veterans to give us pointers and teach us the ropes. I think it is a great mix of experience and new ideas!
“The students … asked thoughtful questions and were engaged in my seminar. Ultimately, Hamilton offered the opportunity to have a great mix of teaching and research.”
What are your hopes for the upcoming semester?
This semester I’m very excited for the courses I’m teaching. I’m developing a new course on the Economics of Discrimination, and I’m advising a section of the Honors Thesis Seminar. It will be fun to teach a subject I find interesting and thought-provoking at the same time I’m advising students on their own, independent research. I’m also excited to see the second half of a typical school year and experience more of the Hamilton traditions!
What do you do in your free time?
I love all kinds of outdoor activities. I cross-country ski, downhill ski, camp, hike, canoe, and play pretty much any sport when asked. I love volleyball (though I’ve yet to find people to do this with here!).
What is your favorite place on campus?
I love the glens! I try to take a walk, run, or ski through the glens each day. It’s such a lovely place – great for stretching your legs or clearing your head.
What about Hamilton/your students has surprised you?
I’ve loved seeing how Hamilton students go above and beyond. They have been so much fun to get to know, and I’ve had so many interesting discussions with them! I’m constantly impressed by how much they take on each semester.