Director of Industrial Development, Economic Development Department
City of Auburn
City: Auburn, AL
Major: Economics, 2018
Little did I know when I decided to attend Auburn University and chose to major in economics that the program would play a key role in my academic and professional development. The economic classes I took challenged me to think critically, seek out pertinent and factual information, creatively apply data to solve problems, and always consider the flip side of the coin. The developmental challenges proposed in the classroom were not a result of a well-written textbook, but rather the outcome of engaged, brilliant, and hardworking professors. I was consistently pushed to be the best student I could be from past and present professors while receiving the support and tools I needed to realize success. With small class sizes, thought-provoking courses, and dedicated professors I believe that the economics program is one of the very best that Auburn has to offer.
Andrew Johnson '20
Major: Economics, 2020
The success of my college career can be entirely accredited to my choice to major in quantitative economics. The major allowed for challenging coursework, as well as research experience. Economics courses encourage a rigorous understanding of math, and advancement of critical thinking skills. Hands-on research experience allowed me to develop the tools necessary for success in the field, and how to ask meaningful questions. My exposure to research also led to a mentorship from one of the professors, without whom I would not be the economic thinker I am today. Through the opportunities provided by the quantitative economics program, I honed the skill set which made me a quality applicant for the Federal Reserve Research Analyst Program.
George S. Ford '90
Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal and Public Policy Studies
Major: Economics, 1990
Dr. George S. Ford is the Chief Economist of the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal and Public Policy Studies, an internationally-respected Washington-based non-profit public policy think-tank. Since leaving Auburn University he has worked in both the public and private sectors, including positions at the Federal Communications Commission and multiple private communications providers. Dr. Ford has conducted numerous technical business and economic studies – an effort which has resulted in over sixty academically published academic journal articles, many more unpublished works, and many internal business reports, some of which drove significant investments in telecommunications infrastructure. Dr. Ford has authored over one hundred reports released by the Phoenix Center, and ranks among the top 1% of authors on the Social Science Research Network. In addition to his publication record, Dr. Ford regularly testifies on economic matters in forums such as the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Copyright Royalty Judges, the Canadian Royalty Board, and numerous state regulatory agencies. Over the years, he has advised governments, both domestic and foreign, consulted to large companies, and delivered academic papers and public addresses at conferences around the world. Dr. Ford is a respected expert in the areas of government regulation, the technology industry, intellectual property, and economic development, advising governments and private parties on issues involving economics, econometrics and business and regulatory strategy.
Ghislain Nono Gueye '17
Assistant Professor of Economics
Louisiana Tech University
Major: Economics, 2017
Ghislain Nono Gueye is originally from Côte d'Ivoire (West Africa). After completing his bachelor's degree in economics in Central University in Ghana (West Africa) in 2010, he came to Auburn University for a master's degree in economics in the spring of 2011. Two years later, he transitioned to the department's Ph.D. program and chose International Trade and Financial Economics as his field courses. He published the first chapter of his dissertation in an elite journal before completing his Ph.D. in the summer of 2017. He is currently an assistant professor of economics at Louisiana Tech University and his primary research interests are in time series dynamics and open macroeconomics. He is also very active in the field of data science as he teaches a seminar joined by students and professors.
Schyler Burney '19
Graduate School: University of Mississippi
City: Decatur, AL
Major: , 2019
Through my studies I gained an appreciation for the analytical aspects that uphold the social sciences. My degree challenged me to study the inner workings of human behavior, while simultaneously giving me real world experiences in problem solving. The variety of courses offered in the quantitative track allowed me to pursue my interests in mathematics, law, and society. I am confident that Auburn’s Economics Department has prepared me to think critically about the world around me as I begin to establish my career in the legal profession.
Jessica Kiser '19
Graduate School: Vanderbilt University
Major: , 2019
I began at Auburn as a quantitative economics major, not fully understanding what it actually meant to be an economist. But, the econ professors at Auburn encouraged and challenged each of us with in-depth discussions about all aspects of economics. We were taught to analyze, ask thoughtful questions, and use mathematics to interpret results. As a result, I have learned more than I ever anticipated. The professors helped to spark my real fascination with economics and have encouraged me to continue my education by entering the economics PhD program at Vanderbilt. While the quantitative economics program was challenging, I feel confident that it gave me the tools for success in the future. War Eagle!
Troy Ferguson '19
Partnerships Project Manager
City: Prattville, AL
Major: , 2019
Troy Ferguson currently works at Wolfram Research as a Partnerships Project Manager. While attending Auburn University he won Tigercage, a business plan competition, and formed his own startup that attempted to garner government clients. His studies gave him the theoretical underpinnings to work with machine learning models. Outside of the classroom, he was very active in on-campus involvement for students of all backgrounds.
"Auburn’s quantitative economics program is effectively a STEM program housed within the College of Liberal Arts yet fulfills the goals of an arts education more than any other program on campus. With the Bachelor of Science program, one can expect to be trained in both the communicative and quantitative skills necessary for economic analysis or comprehending any topic in social science. This program gives you an excellent base to further cultivate your own knowledge in diverse fields like data science, artificial intelligence, policy analysis, statistics, politics, finance, law and business. I was drawn to the program because of the friendliness of the professors and the desire to become literate in the world around me. Through lectures, career advice and tailored feedback, the department provided me with the knowledge necessary to excel in interviews with several companies and organizations leading me to a job I deeply enjoy directly working with well-known companies in the technology sector. Being able to actually understand biases and assumptions in data and models is crucial in an era when ambiguous data is being used more and more as the underpinnings for critical decisions. Auburn’s Economics Department deeply engrains this heavily valued skill.”
Jeremy Newman '19
Graduate School: Harvard University
City: Ridgewood, NJ
Major: , 2019
Jeremy Newman graduated with a double major in economics (primary track) and political science. At Auburn, Jeremy served as President of his fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi, as Opinions Editor of The Auburn Plainsman, and on the SGA’s Lobby Board. He is pursuing a Juris Doctorate at Harvard Law School.
"The study of economics has formed an invaluable base for my continuing education, and I credit this to the commitment, knowledge and zeal of the Auburn department in their instruction. Delving into the mathematical principles and models of economics and their qualitative and contemporary application helped develop my analytical and research skills while also showing the connection of the economics discipline to many sectors of academic thought. Working closely with Dr. Seals in econometrics, I was giving the freedom and encouragement to explore novel and historical ideas for my research project, along with the necessary support to ensure I learned and applied the correct economics to produce a paper I was proud of. As I begin my pursuit of a J.D., I feel confident that the Auburn Economics Department has set me on a path for success."
Kai He '19
Graduate School: UAB School of Medicine
Major: , 2019
When I first came to Auburn, I had no plans of pursuing an economics degree. I took a few economics classes because I enjoyed the subject and wanted a break from the pre-medicine track that I was on. As I took more economics classes, I decided to minor in it, and eventually majored in it because of how much I enjoyed the faculty. My economics professors, especially Dr. Seals, were instrumental in my success at Auburn University. Although I will be moving on to pursuing a medical degree at UAB, my time in the economics department not only made me more competitive during the application process but also prepared me for a completely different aspect of life outside of medicine. I know that my economics degree will continue to be a large part of my future. As Dr. Seals first said when he found out I was a pre-med student seeking an economics degree, “So, you not only want to be a doctor but be a rich doctor.”
Sarah Abrahams '19
Major: , 2019
Like many students, I came to Auburn uncertain about what I saw myself doing after graduation. One thing that attracted me to the study of economics was the potential to acquire a versatile skill set. The economics curriculum cultivates your ability to think critically and problem solve, assets that are invaluable in all career fields. The quantitative track and courses like Econometrics especially prepared me for the highly analytical and data-oriented aspects of my current role in financial consulting. Studying economics has also changed the way I process information and approach daily life, always “thinking like an economist” with efficiency in mind. What really distinguishes this department is the faculty, whose passion for the field create an interesting and enjoyable learning environment. I greatly appreciate my professors for taking a real interest in their students, offering mentorship, and providing a challenging yet supportive atmosphere that continuously engaged my intellectual curiosity.
Gannon Padgett '18
City: Birmingham, AL
Major: , 2018
Gannon Padgett graduated with a degree in quantitative economics in 2018. During his time at Auburn, he spent his time as the Video Editor at The Auburn Plainsman and served as the president of the Auburn Film Club. He now works in New York City for Mercer as an actuarial analyst.
"When I came to Auburn, I wasn't sure what major I wanted to pursue. I knew I wanted to learn about mathematics, but I also wanted something more applied to real world issues. Quantitative Economics was the perfect fit for me, and the faculty at Auburn really helped me pursue that goal. Dr. Seals, Dr. Beard, Dr. Stern, and Dr. Vickers to name a few were particularly important in my development. One of my favorite classes (and most challenging) was econometrics, which is a class at the cornerstone of statistical analysis and economic theory. I am excited to take what I have learned in that class and at Auburn in general into my career as a consulting actuary. War eagle!"
George Miller '17
Product Modeling Analyst
City: Washington, DC
Major: , 2017
George Miller graduated from Auburn in 2017 with a degree in economics. At Auburn, he performed research for the Statistical Consulting Center and Economics Department and coached youth soccer. He works as a product modeling analyst for GEICO in Washington, DC. As a product modeling analyst, he generates insurance models using big data and researches the impact of policy changes.
“In my econometrics course, I not only learned advanced analytic techniques. I also learned how to vocalize my findings in ways that people lacking technical backgrounds can understand. I would not have made it to where I am without the Economics Department. The economics professors at Auburn are more than willing to offer assistance and guidance. I never expected to get to know my professors so well."
Kate Hughes '17
Director of Clinic Operations
MainStreet Family Urgent Care
Major: , 2017
Kate graduated from Auburn University in May 2017 with a dual degree in Industrial & System Engineering and Economics. She now works as Director of Clinic Operations for MainStreet Family Urgent Care, one of the largest urgent care companies in the state of Alabama.
“I was wrapping up four years in Auburn’s engineering program when I decided that my college education was not complete. Although I greatly benefited from my engineering studies, I felt that I was missing a certain level of “big picture” thinking. By adding an economics major, I was looking for ways to apply the rigorous statistics and mathematics coursework I had completed to subject matter that I felt more profoundly interested in. I found the economics department at Auburn to be everything I could have dreamed of. The small staff size and number of students meant that you were able to develop relationships with your professors that you could not in other programs or schools. Their attitudes, which reflected their genuine passion for the subject matter and interest in their students, made classes both effective and enjoyable. Upon graduation, I pursued a career in business operations. Now, as Director of Clinic Operations for an urgent care company, I manage 16 urgent care clinics throughout the state of Alabama. I am thankful for the economics department at Auburn for the skills it afforded me.”
Brice Bishop '17
O'Neal Steel, Inc.
City: Birmingham, AL
Major: , 2017
Brice Bishop graduated with a degree in economics in 2017. While at Auburn, Brice held various leadership roles within his fraternity, Beta Upsilon Chi, including acting as Social Chair and Recruiting Chair. He also worked at BB&T as a part-time teller, and eventual banker, outside of his classes. Upon graduation, Bryce interviewed at O’Neal Steel for a business intelligence analyst role with his econometrics predictive modeling paper in hand. While Brice received an email a week later stating that he did not get the job (only because of his lack of experience with Power BI), he was told that the company was so impressed by his econometrics paper that they passed his resume on to the accounting team, which was currently looking for a financial analyst. Today, Brice uses predictive modeling daily so that O’Neal Steel can be prepared for future sales or cost fluctuations.
Jie Zhang '20
Assistant Professor of Economics
Hunan University, China
Major: , 2020
Jonathan Newman '16
Assistant Professor of Economics and Finance
Major: , 2016
Thomas McQuade '00
City: Honolulu, HI
Major: , 2000
Thomas McQuade earned a Ph.D. in computer science from Monash University (Australia) in 1971 and a Ph.D. in economics from Auburn in 2000. He is an independent researcher living in Honolulu, Hawaii, and his research interests include the organizational structure of social systems such as markets and science, the interaction of government and science, and the theories of complex adaptive systems and spontaneous social order.
Paula Gant '96
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Oil and Natural Gas
US Department of Energy
City: Washington, DC
Major: , 1996
Dr. Paula Gant is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil and Natural Gas in the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy. As Deputy Assistant Secretary, Dr. Gant administers domestic and international oil and gas programs, including policy analysis, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) import and export authorization. Dr. Gant's work at DOE is focused on realizing the promise presented by America's abundant natural gas and oil resources which hinges on prudent production, environmental stewardship and efficient use. The Department of Energy's research efforts seek to deploy the best available science, analysis and technologies to ensure a more secure energy future by leveraging our domestic natural gas and oil resources and protecting our air, land, and communities. Dr. Gant previously worked for the American Gas Association and Duke Energy. She has also served on the faculties of Louisiana State University and the University of Louisville. Paula is a native of Louisiana. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from McNeese State University and a Ph.D. in Economics from Auburn University. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her family.
Hugo Toledo '99
Professor of Economics
American University of Sharjah
Major: , 1999
Hugo Toledo is Professor of Economics at the American University of Sharjah (AUS) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He joined AUS in 2001 as an Assistant Professor of Economics, and served as Associate Professor and Department Head from 2006 to 2013. In 2006, he was the recipient of the First Dubai Economic Research Award for his research on the UAE labor market. He has published in journals such as Applied Economics, Review of Development Economics, the International Review of Economics and Finance, the International Trade Journal, the International Journal of Human Resource Management, and the Journal of Economic Studies, among others. His current research interests look at directional predictability of exchange rates and income redistribution with free trade. He has presented papers at peer-reviewed international conferences in the US, Canada, Spain, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Austria, Italy, Australia, Singapore, and Thailand.
Wen Shi '16
Columbus State University
Major: , 2016
Mark Thornton '89
City: Auburn, AL
Major: , 1989
Mark Thornton is Senior Fellow at the Mises Institute. He serves as the Book Review Editor of the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. His publications include The Economics of Prohibition (1991), Tariffs, Blockades, and Inflation: The Economics of the Civil War (2004), The Quotable Mises (2005), The Bastiat Collection (2007), An Essay on Economic Theory (2010), and The Bastiat Reader (2014). Dr. Thornton served as the editor of the Austrian Economics Newsletter and was a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Libertarian Studies and several other academic journals. He has served as a member of the graduate faculties of Auburn University and Columbus State University. He has also taught economics at Auburn University at Montgomery and Trinity University in Texas. Mark served as Assistant Superintendent of Banking and economic adviser to Governor Fob James of Alabama (1997-1999), and he was awarded the University Research Award at Columbus State University in 2002. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and received his PhD in economics from Auburn University. In 2014, he debated in opposition to the "War on Drugs" at Oxford Union.
"The Auburn University Economics Department has a tradition of excellence that dates back for more than a century. Like the University's mission, the Department has always had a strong commitment to understanding the world in practical and honest terms. It commitment to teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels has resulted in a steady stream of graduates who are important contributors to state and national--governmental, educational, legal and business institutions. Its faculty and graduates have long been known for their practical research, known as "applied microeconomics." The Department is widely known throughout the world due to the accomplishments of its faculty and students and its association with the Mises Institute, as well as its association with the Colleges of Agriculture and Forestry."