This edition of Who Makes Millersville Special features Dr. Sandra McPherson, associate professor of economics.
Q: Where are you originally from?
I grew up on a farm in western Minnesota.
Q: How did you become interested in studying economics?
One of my favorite books is “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck. Its poignant portrayal of the human suffering during the Great Depression made economics seem more tangible. The word “economics” typically evokes sterile images of stock traders, data crunchers and talking heads, but the book helped me connect economics to the real world as I realized that economic decisions affect all of us, sometimes dramatically. It really struck a chord with me and it’s the reason I started taking economics courses in college. Once I did that, I was hooked.
Q: From what school(s) have you earned your degree(s)?
I earned my undergraduate degree at Bemidji State University, which is in northern Minnesota. I got my master’s degree and Ph.D. at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
Q: How many years have you been at Millersville?
I just started my eighth year.
Q: What area(s) of economics interest you the most?
My interests lie in macroeconomics, monetary economics and econometrics. My research specifically focuses on macroeconomic and monetary issues as they apply to the regional economy.
Q: Do you have a favorite class to teach at Millersville? Why?
I really like all of the classes that I teach. I teach macroeconomics at the principle and intermediate level, Money, Credit and Banking, Statistics and Econometrics. The variety keeps things interesting and I get to interact with a range of students, from freshmen in the Principles of Macroeconomics course to seniors in Econometrics.
Q: Do you have any past or present research projects that you’re particularly proud of?
When I had my first son, I was at a different university in a tenure-track position. I made the choice to quit my job to stay home with my son. I was an at-home mom for seven years and didn’t touch research at all during that entire time. I decided to go back to work when my kids were in school, but that entailed picking up research again. The project I started was done when my kids were in bed and when my husband could distract them long enough for me to get some work done. Many people told me I’d never work in academia again when I quit my job to stay home, mainly because it would be so hard to get back into research, but I did do the research and I got it published. As a consequence, it helped me get a job in academia again. The paper I did during that time maybe wasn’t my best work, but it’s the one I’m most proud of.
Q: What are your hobbies outside of work?
I like to read, do yoga, travel, cook and spend time with my family.
Q: What is something you absolutely need to get through your day?
A hug from my husband and kids.
Q: What was your very first job?
My first job was shingling roofs with my dad. He was a carpenter and I worked for him in the summers in high school. He was a tough boss and taught me the value of hard work, as well as the value of a dollar. Since shingling roofs is not usually a job you see or expect a female to do, he also taught me that I don’t have to be defined by societal expectations.
Q: Do you have a favorite quote?
I have two favorite quotes: “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’” – Mary Anne Radmacher and “Do not let evil conquer you. Conquer evil with good.” – Romans 12:21
Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
Cell phone addiction – especially when driving.
Q: If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
I would be a novelist.