In a special weekly series, the College of Liberal Arts is featuring a faculty member from one of our 13 departments. We asked questions about why they are passionate about the subjects they study and teach, and how they found their path to CSU. See all “Faculty Friday” features here.
Professor in the Department of Economics, Senior Scholar in the School of Global Environmental Sustainability
1. What do you research, teach, and/or study? What do you like most about it? What inspired your interest?
My main interest is teaching and researching the economics of natural resources and development. I was initially inspired by growing up in developing countries and my global travels. But this field is not just about developing economies. Essentially, I view many economic problems – from managing local environments to alleviating poverty to global problems such as climate change and biodiversity loss – to be about reconciling economic development with environmental and natural resource management.
2. Which class is your favorite to teach and why?
My favorite courses to teach are any classes – graduate or undergraduate – where I can inspire students to think about the economic aspects of environmental and natural resource management.
3. What did you want to be when you were little? When did you know you wanted to go into higher education/research?
When I was young, I did not think much about what I wanted to be in life. I loved playing sports and music, and school was something you had to get through. It was not very inspiring to me. However, at the end of 8th grade, I began a research project on American colonial pirates. Since I lived in Washington D.C. at the time, I frequently visited the U.S. Library of Congress, where I spent hours reading the archived journals and written confessions of pirates. I thought that was pretty neat, and I have been hooked on research ever since. In high school, I thought I wanted to be a writer and then possibly an environmental engineer. I played lacrosse for two years at Yale University, but then gave it up to concentrate on my studies. I loved studying and learning, but still had no idea what my direction in life should be. I took my first international politics class at the end of my freshman year, and my first economics class the beginning my sophomore year. I enjoyed these classes so much that I ended up a joint economics and political science major. It was the perfect choice for me.
4. How did you get to CSU?
For seventeen years, I was the John S. Bugas Professor of Economics at the University of Wyoming. I came to CSU in August 2017, attracted by the dynamic and holistic nature of the Department of Economics and by the opportunity to be a Senior Scholar at the School of Global Environmental Sustainability.
5. What is one thing students would be surprised to learn about you?
Since 2001, I have playing drums and harmonica in a rock band based in Southern Wyoming.