This feature is part of the “Nine Lives” feature from the summer 2013 issue of VISIONS magazine profiling nine ISU faculty members who are mixing it up in and out of the classroom
Back Story: Grew up in Philadelphia. Received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Tufts University in 2001, a master’s in statistics at University of California San Diego in 2006, and a Ph.D. in economics in 2009 at UC San Diego.
How I came to Iowa State: I finished grad school at UC San Diego in 2009 and I was looking for a job. Iowa State was the most appealing. It seemed like a really good department. Everyone was really pleasant, really nice. It seemed like a good research environment.
What I teach: I teach Principles of Macroeconomics, Econ 102. It’s an intro-level class. And I co-teach Econ 674, a Ph.D. class in macroeconometrics. Typically in the fall I teach another Ph.D. class, an intro to statistical methods for economists.
Scholarly pursuits: A lot of the stuff that I’ve been working on is kind of abstract, because it’s less about actually understanding macroeconomics but it’s really more about understanding the sorts of statistics and statistical methods that people use in macroeconomics. A few of the projects I’m working on now are looking at “If you had a few different forecasting models what would be the right way for picking one of them?” The focus is on the methodology instead of the actual modeling.
Blog? I do have a blog. Doesn’t everybody? It’s a sports statistics blog: pseudotrue.com. I spend way too much time thinking about sports.
Working with students: I like working with college students. The nice thing about college (and I appreciate this more now that I’m no longer in college) is that you really have so few responsibilities except just to learn as much as you can. I think a lot of the students really take that seriously and try to understand things. It’s fun to help with that.
At home: Wife, Jess, and three children: Blair, 4, and twins Nathan and Alice, 18 months
Life changer: The twins were born three months early. They were born on Jan. 26, 2012 and were due in April. They were in the NICU for a while, obviously. Alice came home on supplemental oxygen. They’re both doing really well now. Alice started crawling [in the spring]. It was funny, because Nate had been crawling awhile, and you could tell that she was jealous. She would watch him crawling around and she would get upset. She was proud of herself when she could start chasing after him.
How I balance teaching, research, and family: I don’t know. I don’t sleep enough, which is probably not a great strategy. I don’t know if I pull this off, but the trick is to minimize the other stuff that you’re doing so you don’t waste time: stuff other than family or physical health or research or teaching. And then just try to be disciplined. When I’m home, I’m home; when I’m at work, I’m at work; when everyone’s asleep, I work again.