What type of work are you doing now?
I’m a Research Economist in the Social Policy, Health and Economic Research unit at RTI International. I work on public health economics research projects, including developing economic models and toolkits, as well as conducting cost data collection and analysis for public health programs.
I also serve as project manager for several federally funded projects; I’m in charge of ensuring that we deliver quality research on time and within budget.
How has your graduate degree from Mason prepared you to do this work?
My time at Mason broadened my perspective on applying economic principles in everyday life and further deepened my passion for economics. Skills critical during graduate school, including time management and the ability to communicate effectively about your work, are equally vital in the working world!
What did you like about your graduate education at Mason?
I really appreciated how supportive Mason is of working students. While I was in the MA program, I continued to work part-time. It is wonderful that many classes are offered at night, enabling students like myself to work during the day and take courses in the evening.
Additionally, I loved the flexibility of the electives in the MA Economics Program. I am so grateful for the ability to do an independent study and take up to two relevant courses outside of the Economics Department. It encourages students to tailor their degree in a way that is meaningful for them and allows them to pursue their interests and apply the economic way of thinking in avenues outside of the core economics classroom.
I also loved my professors at Mason! They genuinely love their subject and desire to help their students succeed. It was such an honor to learn from each of them.
What advice would you give current students about developing their careers?
I would recommend that students scope out the economics job market with initial research: look at the economics jobs available right now and begin thinking about what kind of job/ what sector you’re interested in. Find examples of the kinds of jobs you want, and then find elective courses that would be relevant for those jobs. If applicable, take advantage of the flexibility of the elective possibilities outside of the Econ department (just be sure to follow the process to get your course pre-approved to apply to your degree!) For example, I took a health economics course in the Health Administration and Policy Department at GMU, which was very applicable to my current work!