Economics Alumni

Here are some career stories from EMU economics graduates. These are the type of students who will be your classmates!

Updated fall 2013

Barry Weixler Landis (2010)

Barry is a graduate student at Virginia Tech in the Agriculture and Applied Economics department. He is fully funded to study barriers to adoption of sustainable agriculture in Uganda through SANREM CRSP, an organization that provides research for farmers in less-developed countries to increase their productivity while sustaining their soil quality and sequester carbon. Last summer he interviewed 400 farmers in Uganda and quantified their risk-preferences to see if risk-aversion to new farming technique will stop farmers from trying the conservation agriculture practice soil scientists are developing for them. He will have fully analyzed their risk perceptions by the time he graduates in the spring of 2014.

Barry says, “My economics education at EMU has prepared me well for the rigors of graduate work. My professors at EMU supplied me with a well-round view and unique perspectives of thinking about economics.”

Andrew Martin (2003)

Andrew Martin is in his fourth year of graduate studies at the Agricultural and Resource Economics Dept. at the University of Maryland, where he focuses primarily on agricultural land and production issues both in the US and the developing world. In addition, he has studied farm runoff programs affecting the Chesapeake Bay and its attached watershed, farmland price changes in the East and Midwest, issues involving Community Supported Agriculture agreements, and rainfall insurance issues in Africa. He hopes to finish his PhD dissertation within the next two years.

Matt Gnagey (2005)

Matt spent three years with Mennonite Central Committee in Aceh, Indonesia following the 2004 tsunami , where he worked with two local partners funded by MCC, implementing small-scale rural livelihood programs. These programs included reconstructing infrastructure, working with women’s groups on microcredit opportunities, organizing irrigation and water management systems, and providing start-up supplies for fisherman and farmers. While there, he lived in a small, isolated village providing opportunities to develop close relationships with neighbors and co-workers and engage Islam and Acehnese culture

In September 2009 he enrolled in Ohio State University’s Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics PhD program. He was awarded Ohio State University’s most prestigious graduate fellowship, the Susan L. Huntington Dean’s Distinguished University Fellowship.

In 2014, Matt accepted a position at Weber State University in Utah.

Lindsay Martin Styer (2005)

After graduating from EMU, Lindsay spent two years working in Oakland, California as a nonviolence educator and non-profit office manager through Mennonite Voluntary Service. From 2007-2010 she attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School as a Toll Public Interest Scholar. During law school she focused on criminal and civil rights law, and directed the Prisoner’s Legal Education Project. After graduating in 2010, she clerked for a federal district judge in Philadelphia and then spent time as a legal fellow at the American Civil Liberties Union.

In 2012, Lindsay returned to EMU as a staff member at the Center for Justice & Peacebuilding. She is currently assistant to the executive director and program coordinator for the Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice.

Rachel Miller (2004)

Following graduation, Rachel served with Mennonite Central Committee in a rural village in Bolivia, working to empower local community and women’s groups, and promoting economic development through a regional beekeeping collective. From 2006-2008, she worked for Forest Trends, an international environmental non-profit organization, on a program to connect indigenous peoples and rural communities to information and strategies that preserve environmental landscapes while also enhancing social and economic conditions in the area. Her work also evaluated the impacts of national and international environmental policies and treaties on indigenous peoples and rural communities.

During the summer of 2008, Rachel conducted research on socioeconomic conditions in the West Bank while working for the Applied Research Institute in Bethlehem. She is currently enrolled in a master’s program at the University of Notre Dame in International Peace Studies with a concentration in Political Economy. Rachel will spend June-December of this year working for the Uganda Land Alliance while carrying out research on post-war economic reconstruction efforts as part of her master’s program.

Benjamin Stauffer (2001)

Benjamin majored in Business Administration and Economics, with a minor in Economic Development. Following graduation, he volunteered with Mennonite Central Committee in Northeast Brazil to work with agriculture and rural development. He worked for three years with local organizations to develop water resources for family use by building cisterns and wells.

Following his work in Brazil, Benjamin returned to live in northern New York, joining his parents and brother in managing their dairy farm. He became a partner the following year and currently specializes in managing the crops and coordinating the 21 employees. They farm 2,500 acres of cropland, milk 750 cows and raise 700 young-stock. The business is in the midst of an expansion project to nearly double their herd size to 1,200 milking cows.

Doug Wrenn (2002)

Doug is originally Harrisonburg, VA, where he graduated from Eastern Mennonite University with BA in Economics. Most recently, he is a graduate of the Ohio State with a PhD in Applied Economics from the department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics. He is now an Assistant Professor of Environmental and Resources Economics in Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education at Penn State University, where he has a 65% research and 35% teaching appointment. The position is co-funded by the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education and the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment. Doug was hired to start working with multidisciplinary teams of researchers on issues related to climate, energy, water, and land use.

During his dissertation, he conducted research as part of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study. His current research focuses on the economics of land use change and how market forces and land-use policies combine to influence land conversion decisions and the spatial patterns of land development. He is also working on issues related water quality and the impacts of land use change on water quality outcomes as
well as research looking at the impact of climate on monsoon rainfall and subsequent irrigation decisions in India.

Aerlande Petros (2006)

Soon after graduation from EMU, Aerlande moved to Washington DC and began working for a housing agency that operated an HIV/AIDS program that provided short-term financial assistance and long-term term housing for agency clients. Through this process she was able focus her interests in economic development and decided to study public health, believing that health is a key component of economic development

She attended Saint Louis University, and worked as a research assistant while completing her master’s in Public Health. She worked on a project to help improve cardiovascular health in an African American community in the Bootheel (southeast) of Missouri by creating community gardens. However, in order to address that goal she reports first needing to support the area’s fruit and vegetable markets, and employment opportunities for community members. She believes sustainable economic development requires a healthy population and this drives her passion for doing this type of public health work.

Christopher Onyango-Robshaw (2002)

Christopher is currently controller for Eden Prairie School District, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Prior to that, he served as finance director at BlueSky Charter School. Christopher and his wife Melissa live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They recently completed an international adoption and welcomed home two teenagers, Franklin and Vina, who are adapting to their new surroundings and attending school. Their youngest daughter, Olivia, is learning to walk. Christopher enjoys traveling with his family and learning to play the clarinet.