Catherine Maclean - MA 2004. I began my time at Dalhousie University in September, 1998. I was a shy, quiet girl from Truro, Nova Scotia who was eager to enter a new stage of her life academically, culturally, and socially. Not sure exactly what I would choose as a major, I was confident it would be in one of three areas: mathematics, the classics, or economics. Over the next two years, I took classes in each of these three areas. By my third year, I knew Economics was for me. I enjoyed the combination of mathematics, social issues, and statistics. I entered the honours programme with an interest in Development Economics. My classmates were a pleasure to work with, we spent many hours studying and debating various economic theories and their applications.
After completing my undergraduate degree in 2002, I decided to enter a graduate programme at Dal and initially entered the Masters of Development Economics. Although I enjoyed the development classes, I started to work with Profs Shelley Phipps, Peter Burton, and Lars Osberg on an international comparison of childhood obesity project. This work focused my interests on health economics and I switched to the Masters of Economics programme.
After completing my studies in 2004, I accepted at job at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida in the Health Economics Research Group (HERG). I spent two and a half years working at HERG, analyzing the economic consequences of substance use and evaluating the cost-effectiveness of substance use treatment programmes. I had the opportunity to work with great researchers, attend health conferences, and publish ineconomic and health journals. In the fall of 2007, I entered a PhD programme in Economicsat Cornell University. I also met my husband, Doug Webber, in the pre-programme math prep camp! We were married on August 1, 2010 on the Tall Ship Silva in Halifax Harbour. We are currently in our fourth year of a five year programme. My interests are health behaviours and my current research focuses on the long-run health impacts of economic conditions at school-leaving, implications of rising obesity on recruitment in the U.S. military, and bullying. Doug currently uses U.S. Census data to estimate the prevalence of monopsony power in the U.S. labor market and the impact of monopsony power on employment, wages, and firm behavior.
I enjoyed the one-on-one mentorship offered in the Dal Economics Department. I knew all my economics professors and they knew me by name. Their office doors were always open for advice, questions, or a casual conversation. Although the department was not large, the quality of professors was very high. The Economizer on Fridays was a super opportunity for students and professors to interact in an informal situation. Working with professors early in my career was a great experience: I learned first hand what empirical research entails. The Atlantic Canada Data Centre is a great resource for empirical researchers like me, I was able to work with many rich Statistics Canada social science data sets. The Dal Economics programme gave me great preparation for my work at UM and my studies at Cornell. I am very pleased with my decision to attend Dal and look back very fondly on my time there.