GREETINGS FROM THE DEPARTMENT HEAD
Greetings, and welcome to the Eastern Michigan University Department of Economics annual alumni newsletter for the 2022-23 academic year. I am Chris Elias, Associate Professor and Interim Department Head of Economics. As you may have guessed, the major change this year is that Dr. Mehmet Yaya returned to his faculty position within the department after serving as department head since Winter 2020. Dr. Yaya’s period of leadership was certainly noteworthy. Only a few months after assuming the leadership role, Dr. Yaya faced one of the most tumultuous periods in the department’s recent history, with the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting traditional classroom instruction (along with so much else) and presenting Dr. Yaya with a major leadership challenge. His actions were instrumental in ensuring a smooth transition to online instruction, as well as quelling much anxiety and uncertainty. Simply stated, Dr. Yaya handled the situation brilliantly. Another major highlight of his leadership tenure was the oversight of the creation of a new combined BS/MS Quantitative Economics degree program. This innovative program, which provides undergraduate students an opportunity to earn both their undergraduate and graduate degrees in as little as five years, has become a model that other departments within the University have copied, and, I believe, will be of major importance to the Economics Department going forward. Lastly, Dr. Yaya’s time as department head saw a significant change in department personnel. Not only did he expertly manage the retirement of several faculty members, but he also directed the hiring of three new tenure-track faculty. Under these very dynamic conditions, Dr. Yaya ensured courses were always scheduled effectively and efficiently. All told, Dr. Yaya did an excellent job, and I am very grateful for his service to the department and hope to benefit from his experience and institutional knowledge going forward.
Another significant event of the past year was the hiring of a new faculty member, Dr. Matthew Schaffer, who will join the tenure-track faculty this fall. Dr. Schaffer, who is from Michigan and received his PhD from Michigan State University, has been an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro since 2018. Dr. Schaffer, a macroeconomist doing research in the areas of monetary policy, banking, and financial markets, joins our department with a wealth of teaching and research experience, and we are very excited to have him join us.
The department has changed much over the past few years. With significant personnel turnover, a substantial decline in enrollments, a movement towards more online instruction, and artificial intelligence forcing a general re-evaluation of higher education, it is clear that this is a challenging and uncertain period. However, the faculty believe that this situation presents an excellent opportunity for positive change, and have plans over the coming year to make some significant modifications to departmental programs with the goal of better serving students. I plan to update you on these changes in a future newsletter.
As always, our students, lecturers, faculty, and alumni were very productive this year, and the subsequent sections of this newsletter will provide detailed insights into their achievements and contributions. However, before I conclude, I want to thank those of you who have provided financial support to the department this year, as those gifts have significantly contributed to the department’s mission and are greatly appreciated. Now, on to the newsletter.
Dr. Matthew Schaffer
Dr. Schaffer joined the EMU Department of Economics as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2023. Prior to joining EMU, he completed his PhD in economics at Michigan State University in 2018 and taught at UNC Greensboro from Fall 2018 to Spring 2023. His research is in macroeconomics, with an emphasis on financial markets, monetary policy, and banking. Recent work has studied how competitive conditions within the banking sector influence monetary policy transmission, how financial markets respond to monetary policy announcements, and how changes in financial regulation affect credit to households and firms. Dr. Schaffer teaches courses in macroeconomics, money and banking, and time series forecasting.
Eastern Michigan University hosted the 27th annual Student Gold Medallion Awards on March 28th. Gold Medallion awards recognize and celebrate the students, student organizations, and organization advisors who make Eastern Michigan University an exceptional place to work, live, and learn.
Graduate student Camila Henriquez Mora was honored for Outstanding Mentorship. One nominator shared that she 'made sure to make me feel included and welcomed into a new environment,' and another nominator wrote that she always 'treats everyone with the utmost respect and kindness.' Whether as a tutor, as a participant in the economics club, or in her role as a GA, Camila has demonstrated a commitment to helping others understand and navigate their EMU experience.
- Spencer Goddard, MS Applied Econometrics
- Marissa Livernois, BA Economics
- John Mercer, BA Economics
- Jalen Weather, BA Economics
- Beom Soo Shim, BS Quantitative Economics
- Christopher Brightwell, MS Applied Econometrics
- Abigeal Ikeoluwa Eludire, MS Applied Econometrics
- Masooma Farhang, MS Applied Econometrics
- Camila Henriquez Mora, MS Applied Econometrics
- Ramon Muller, MS Applied Econometrics
- Ibrahim Osumanu, MS Applied Econometrics
- Auryon Azar, BA Economics & Political Science
- Brandon Campbell, BA Economics
- Nadouba Diakite, BA Economics
- Zachary Gossiaux, BA Economics
- Kaleb Grammer, BA Economics
- Keenen Weirlangt, BA Economics
- Odia Kaba, BS Quantitative Economics
- Christopher Kaminski, BS Quantitative Economics
- Emma White, BS Quantitative Economics
- Christopher Pietsch, BBA Economics
- Daemond Agee, BA Economics