The idea that I could study and research in this area was amazing to me and after a few years working for the government, I decided to return to school so that I could learn more about household economics.
My decision to attend Dalhousie was a last minute, roll the dice, jump. After finishing my undergraduate degree in Dec 1993 from Concordia University, I really didn’t know what to do with my economics degree. The job market wasn’t strong at that time and after a year of not moving forward I decided to return to school for an MA. I loved the East Coast and decided to try Halifax. Those two years I spent at Dalhousie were amazing. I graduated with an MA from Dalhousie in 1997. I met many wonderful people (including my later spouse, Ryan Compton (MDE 1997)) and had a blast absorbing the Maritime culture. We all but lived in the three houses of the economics department during our years in Halifax – spending countless hours in the computer lab in the basement and hanging out in the attic. We learned much in our courses – I still have notes from classes taught by Talan İşcan and Kuan Xu – and even more just from lunchtime discussions with the faculty. Following a year of courses, I spent a year working as an RA for Prof. Osberg. From him, I learned an immense amount about the process of research. I shared an office with Lynn Lethbridge and had a great year working on regressions and listening to musical soundtracks. Following graduation, I moved to Ottawa for a few years, working first at Statistics Canada and then at the Department of Finance. Many of our classmates from Dal also headed to Ottawa and these years seemed an extension of our Halifax days, only with jobs rather than classes.
After a couple of years, Ryan and I decided to head back to school for our PhDs and moved to St. Louis to attend Washington University. My inspiration to return to school was Prof. Phipps. I remember exactly sitting around a table with Prof. Phipps and some other women in the master’s program, learning about household and feminist economics. The idea that I could study and research in this area was amazing to me and after a few years working for the government, I decided to return to school so that I could learn more about household economics. When we were looking at schools for our PhD, we deliberately considered the aspects of Dal that were key to our success – a smaller program, dedicated professors who were doing interesting research, the ability to work as RAs, high standards and a community feel among the department.
After we graduated, Ryan and I moved to Winnipeg and have been at the University of Manitoba ever since – about 18 years now. Working in academia has been amazing. I have been actively researching in household economics, tackling topics such as couple migration, family proximity, bride kidnapping, restaurant tips and discrimination, and couple mortality. I am active in the Canadian Women Economists Committee, currently serving as chair. In this role, I have met and worked with women economists across the country.
Ryan and I keep busy with our three boys and all the sports and chauffeuring that that entails. We both have family in the East Coast and so are lucky to be able to visit NS every few years. When we do, we always take stroll past the three houses of the economics department, then off for a lobster roll on the pier and a beer at the Lower Deck, reliving those memories!