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Economics Alumni

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

Updated 2018

Ryan Swartzentruber (2016)

After graduating in 2016 Ryan began working at VistaShare as a customer consultant. He then accepted an offer to attend Colorado State University in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in the fall of 2017 to pursue his Masters degree. Although fortunate enough to work on economics research at EMU, a large research university like CSU allowed him to explore more research opportunities. He quickly began working on agricultural conservation easements in Colorado and accepted a Research Assistantship at the Rocky Mountain Research Station where he researches water use under climate change. He expects to graduate in the spring of 2019 and hopes to find a teaching position at a community college in Colorado.

Taylor Weidman (2013)

Taylor Weidman is currently a third year PhD student in economics at the University of Pittsburgh, doing research in public/urban economics, behavioral economics, and political economy. After graduating from EMU, Taylor received a MS in economics at Iowa State University. Following his graduation from ISU, he received a fellowship in the University of Pittsburgh Economics PhD program. He spends much of his down time reading mostly fiction, experimenting in the kitchen, and playing in Pittsburgh's many outdoor spaces."

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 completed his PhD and accepted a position as an Assistant Professor of Economics at Weber State University in Utah.

Jordan Hollinger (2015)

Prior to graduation, Jordan began working for the Staunton based solar development company, Secure Futures, as a technical analyst. Jordan’s role with Secure Futures was to assist with general data analysis, solar feasibility studies, and financial cost-benefit analyse s. In the fall of 2014, while still completing a final requirement for his bachelor’s degree, Jordan left Secure Futures and took a job as a Research Assistant with ICF International, a management consulting firm located just outside of Washington D.C. Jordan joined the company’s regulatory, environmental, and economics line of business where he worked on a team that specialized in regulatory power sector modeling for federal clients, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Jordan assisted this team with data processing and analysis, documentation, and modeling support, working on federal regulations and policies such as the Clean Power Plan, an update of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, and Mercury Air Toxics Standards. After spending three years with ICF, Jordan left to pursue graduate education, and in the fall of 2017 began studying at the University of Virginia (UVA) where he is a dual degree student, completing both a Master of Public Policy and Master of Urban and Environmental Planning. Jordan expects to graduate from UVA in 2020.

Darrel Miller (2010)

After graduation in 2010 (and later his MBA in 2015), Darrel began work at Shenandoah Growers as the Procurement Specialist. Shenandoah Growers grows, packs, and distributes fresh culinary herbs to 10,000+ grocery stores across the United States. Darrel’s initial role was to forecast future herb needs and work with dozens of partner farms to meet that need. Darrel reports that it involved a great deal of quantitative analysis and was incredibly fun. From Procurement Specialist, Darrel spent a few years as the Operations Manager for the Fresh Cut division in Harrisonburg. In 2018, Darrel became the Director of Procurement overseeing all of the buyers at Shenandoah’s nine packing facilities. Darrel enjoys working for a rapidly growing company that has enormous potential. In the past 8 years, Shenandoah Growers has grown over 600% including the acquisition of HerbCo Inc. based near Seattle. In addition to working, Darrel got married in the summer of 2011 and has been very involved in his church, Trissels Mennonite. Darrel, his wife, and two boys currently live in Broadway, VA.

Rachel Miller (2004)

Rachel Miller has spent the last four years working for the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance in USAID, primarily focusing on providing assistance to communities affected by the conflicts in Sudan and South Sudan. Prior to joining OFDA, Rachel worked on land tenure issues with communities in northern Uganda, conducted researched on socioeconomic conditions in the West Bank, and worked with communities in Latin America to identify sustainable environmental development opportunities. She was also a beekeeper and agricultural worker in Bolivia with Mennonite Central Committee. Rachel holds an M.A. in International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame and is a 2004 graduate of EMU with a B.A. in Economic Development and International Business.

Claudette Monroy (2010)

After graduation, Claudette interned at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding with the STAR program. She continued to share her story as an undocumented immigrant student in the Harrisonburg community at different immigrant and education advocacy events such as the Newbridges Immigrant Resource Center annual gala, JMU Graduate School of Education, Purple and Gold Connections and the 2011 Court Square DREAM Act Rally. Claudette received employment authorization in April 2013 through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and moved to the District of Columbia in June 2013 to serve low income immigrant families at The Family Place as the Family Literacy Program Coordinator and Early Childhood Preschool Instructor. Claudette was promoted as the Director of Education in May 2014 to oversee the Family Literacy and Family Wellness programs. She is planning to start her Master’s degree in International Education at George Washington University in the fall of 2015. She was featured in the Summer 2018 issue of Crossroads.

Doug Wrenn (2002)

Doug is originally Harrisonburg, VA, where he graduated from EMU 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.

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