Skip navigation

Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Economics

Current Students

MA Graduate Degree

Alumni Profiles

Find out what our graduates thought of their time studying Economics at DU, and how their experience has helped them in their careers.

NICHOLE ALEXANDER

Nichole Alexander Year Graduated: 2014

Current Employer/University: United States General Services Administration – Public Buildings Service

What do you do in your current position? Or what   program are you at currently?
I am the Region 8 Portfolio Strategist and I work on the asset management side of the portfolio management department.  In this position I basically manage the financial metrics of the federal government’s real estate portfolio in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado.  This encompasses all of the federal buildings that the other government agencies use to fulfill their missions, such as office buildings, lab space, federal courthouses, post offices, and border stations, among others.

How did you become interested in Economics?
I actually started undergrad as a Spanish education major, but after I took intro to microeconomics I realized that I loved every aspect of economics and so I switched majors.  I am particularly interested in income inequality, poverty reduction, social mobility, and education policy.

What is the most unique aspect of the DU Economics Program?
I really like that DU approaches economics from a heterodox perspective and that economic history and qualitative analysis are a big part of the program, not just quantitative analysis.  I think this creates a very well-rounded education in economics and fosters critical thinking.

What did you enjoy most in studying economics and your time at DU?
I really like the economics program is small enough that each student has the opportunity to build relationships with all of the professors that can last after the program ends.  I also really like that there are enough electives for each student to take a few classes that are particularly interesting to them, outside of the mandatory classes for the program.

What was one aspect of DU that helped you find your career interest or has been important to your career?
The wide range of economic ideas that I was exposed to through the program along with the ability to tailor the course of study to fit my interests really allowed me to narrow down what I wanted to do for my future career.  I want to be an economic policy analyst focusing on inequality and social mobility, and prior to starting the program I really had no idea that job was even an option; I knew that I wanted to do something with poverty reduction, but I didn’t know much beyond that point. 

What was your favorite course in Economics?
Advanced Micro J

What advice would you give to current students about careers in Economics?
Make sure you don’t pass up any opportunities, even the unlikely ones, because you really don’t know where that path will lead you.  I’ve had the opportunity to talk to quite a few CEOs and to ask them about their career paths and that is the advice I got from almost every single one of them.  If you jump at the opportunities that come your way and even make opportunities for yourself, your career may follow an unexpected path, but you will probably be much better off in the end.  The current president and CEO of American Savings Bank, the largest bank in Hawaii, was an electrical engineering major and started his career as an engineer for GE; by taking opportunities that came his way and not being afraid to branch out, he now has a very successful career that he loves, and he lives in one of the most beautiful places in the world.  I took a job at GSA that wasn’t very econ-related, but it got my foot in the door and since then I’ve been promoted a few times and I now have an economist position.  It still isn’t the field of economics that I would ideally like to work in, but I am gaining valuable experience and standing within the government structure, which will pay off in the end and help me get my dream job in the future. 

Christopher Stiffler

Year Graduated: 2013Christopher Stiffler

Current Employer/University:  Colorado Fiscal Institute

What do you do in your current position? Or what program are you at currently?
I’m CFI’s economist. CFI is a non-profit research and advocacy group that provides credible, independent and accessible information and analysis of fiscal and economic issues facing Colorado.  I write research papers on various topics from better ways to measure economic growth in Colorado, to designing a paid family leave insurance program for the state, to the impact of low wage workers in the state.  I’m also frequently invited to speak on topics like: income inequality in Colorado, Colorado’s unique constitutional constraints on state revenue, and public K-12 finance in Colorado. 

How did you become interested in Economics?
I started my undergraduate career studying Latin, Physics, and Education.  I didn’t take my first economics course till my junior year of college, when I realized that economics combined many of the topics and skills I enjoyed.  It combines psychology, history, and sociology with the statistics and math background that I enjoyed from physics and the puzzle-aspect that I enjoyed from studying languages like Latin. 

What is the most unique aspect of the DU Economics Program?
The DU program does an excellent job honing your skills about questioning assumptions.

What did you enjoy most in studying economics and your time at DU?
The side conversations with professors and fellow graduate students outside of class were some of the most rewarding aspects of my time in the graduate economics program. 

What was one aspect of DU that helped you find your career interest or has been important to your career?
I found the job posting of my current position on the graduate economics emailing list serve. 

What was your favorite course in Economics?
Macro Theory

What advice would you give to current students about careers in Economics?
There are many careers outside of a path of an economist that are very well suited for the skills that you learn in economics courses.  Having a foundation in statistics or a mastery of macroeconomic topics will help you in a lot of career paths.