Meet Dr. Dozie Okoye, a newer face in the Department of Economics. Read his story below.
I am Dozie Okoye, an Assistant Professor of Economics here at Dalhousie since the fall of 2013. I was born in Nigeria, and moved to Halifax from London, Ontario, where I had spent nine years as an undergraduate and then as a PhD student. I was told it was not a good idea to remain in one place for that long, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in London and learned a lot at the University of Western Ontario. Needless to say, it was time for a change when the opportunity to come to Dalhousie came up. I have found Halifax to be very welcoming, with particularly nice people, and an environment that is easy to love.
My journey into economics was not as straightforward as I would have liked coming out of high school. I arrived in Canada looking to complete an undergraduate degree in physics, but friends managed to convince me it would be difficult to eke out a living as a physicist (hint: never listen to friends who are just as clueless as you are). I began a business degree but found that detour to be uneventful. By my second year, I had enrolled in the honours specialization program in Economics at Western. I chose economics because it combines the rigour of physics with the material and human focus of business, and it's been a rewarding journey so far!
After completing my undergraduate degree, I gladly accepted an offer to continue on to graduate school at the same school. I must say that the first year of graduate work in economics was the most challenging period of my life as a student, because I suddenly found myself doing all the rigour with very little material focus. It was expected that the mathematical rigour needed to apply economics to human problems must be acquired first. Nevertheless, the challenging work encouraged me to work more closely with other students and opened up my circle of friends. I survived that year and eventually completed my PhD thesis, which focused on human capital and its contributions to economic growth and development through the lens of macroeconomic growth models.
The focus of my work has shifted slightly since I came to Dal. While still focusing on issues around human capital and development, I have begun to analyze problems related to the historical process of human development (skill acquisition, education, health) and how this process depends on the socioeconomic environment where individuals live (production technology, political and governance framework). My research has extended to studies of the impacts of historical events on contemporary development with a particular focus on the African continent. While I believed myself to be a macroeconomist as a PhD student, it appears I have become an applied microeconomist, and that change is the nature of life for an economist. My research has also grown to be interdisciplinary and now involves collaboration with academics from other social sciences, geography, sociology, political science, and history. It is safe to say that I have grown and evolved as an academic over my four years at Dal.
Over the past four years, I have taught classes in both introductory and intermediate macroeconomics, as well as classes in public finance and economic growth in a historical perspective. It has been a privilege to contribute to the Masters in Development Economics program by teaching the macroeconomic theory sequence of the program, and supervising MDE student theses. Above all, teaching has been a rewarding experience for me as I have watched students progress through the ranks, from first to fourth year, or from Masters to PhD, and then into the workforce.
Here is a toast to more fun, learning, and growth at Dalhousie!