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.”

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)

After graduation, Jordan spent four months working with EMU Professor, Tony Smith, and his solar development company, Secure Futures. His primary function was to assist with data analysis, and cost benefit analyses. In September 2014, Jordan accepted a job as a Research Assistant with ICF International, a consulting firm headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia. He work within the company’s Environmental, Energy, and Technical services line of business, for a specialized team that focuses on Power Sector Modeling for Federal Clients, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Jordan assist this team with data processing, data analysis, and modeling support. The modeling they perform is used by the EPA and other federal clients to assess the impact of new environmental regulation on the US power sector, and to develop new environmental regulation under a least cost/maximum environmental benefit scenario. Over the past year, Jordan’s group has assisted the EPA in developing the new 111D Clean Power Plan Ruling, which seeks to significantly reduce carbon emissions from power plants.

Rebecca Martin (2012)

Rebecca spent the summer after graduation in Costa Rica with MCC, working as an assistant to the area directors of Central America. After that she participated in the PULSE program in Pittsburgh, where she worked at the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation. Wilkinsburg is a low-income neighborhood outside Pittsburgh, and the organization works towards attracting businesses and expanding opportunities in the community. Rebecca did a second year of AmeriCorps in DC with the Discipleship Year program. She volunteered for Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR), which assists offenders in reentering their communities, and in the community service department, where she helped offenders complete community services hours, often in lieu of jail time or fines. Rebecca now works as a paralegal at Mathis & Mathis, a disability advocacy firm in Alexandria, VA, where she prepares cases for hearings for people who are applying for Social Security Disability benefits.

Darrel Miller (2010)

After graduation, Darrel began work at Shenandoah Growers as the Procurement Specialist. Shenandoah Growers grows, packs, and distributes fresh culinary herbs to thousands of grocery stores. Darrel’s 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. Last summer he moved into the role of Operations Manager for the Fresh Cut division. In that role he oversees about 150 employees on three shifts and coordinats all the operations for a $25 million business. Darrel enjoys working for a rapidly growing company that has enormous potential. In addition to working, Darrel got married in the summer of 2011 and have been very involved in his church, Trissels Mennonite. Darrel and his wife are looking to buy a home in the next few months and are expecting their first child in August. Darrel will also wrap up his MBA studies at EMU in August 2015.

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.

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.