The Economics Department hired three Assistant Professors this winter, who will begin teaching in 2024. The new department members include Zara Contractor, a Ph.D candidate at Yale University; Alice Gindin, a Ph.D candidate at the University of Pennsylvania; and Germán Reyes, a Ph.D candidate at Cornell University.
All three professors stated that the main reasons that brought them to Middlebury were its excellent academic accomplishments in economics and its students’ passion for studying economics.
“Middlebury College has an excellent reputation for academic excellence, and the opportunity to work alongside accomplished and dedicated scholars is a really unique one,” Reyes said. “I am very excited to work at an institution that is widely recognized for its excellence in undergraduate education and its commitment to a liberal arts education that fosters critical thinking, creative problem-solving and effective communication skills.”
Contractor, who studies the intersection of macroeconomics and labor economics, mentioned her interest in the research opportunities at the college. “[Middlebury College] has a fantastic community of researchers there,” she said. “So that definitely was a big draw for me.”
Gindin is an economic theorist specializing in microeconomic theory with specific interests in political economy, learning and contract theory. She shared her excitement to work with the other two incoming Economics professors.
“The Economics Department at Middlebury is pretty big compared to average liberal arts colleges. But even given its size of twenty-some people in it, you don’t expect to join with two other people, which is really exciting,” she said. “I’m really excited to meet them and hang out, but also have a shared experience of being new professors, doing the same thing with the same goal. Working alongside them and having buddies is a very nice and valuable experience.”
Reyes, who is a behavioral economist interested in labor markets and public policy, talked about his hopes in and beyond the classroom.
“I expect to be intellectually challenged in both the classroom — by engaged students — and in the department — by my incredibly thoughtful colleagues,” he said. “I hope to help foster a strong sense of intellectual curiosity among students and to inspire them to become lifelong learners.”
Reyes also shared his connection to New England, especially Vermont.
“My partner was raised in New Hampshire. I have spent a lot of time in New England during graduate school breaks — hiking through the breathtaking White Mountains, enjoying fantastic skiing in Vermont and exploring local coffee shops in Boston,” Reyes said. “I am very eager to move to Vermont for work and explore the substantial hiking opportunities!”
Contractor, who visited campus at the end of February, expressed her love for snow and excitement about moving to Middlebury.
“I was there [on campus] near the end of February. There was a snowstorm, and I was there, and it looked really beautiful,” she said. “Moving to Vermont is going to be a big change. But I’m coming from New Haven, where we have relatively similar weather, and I really like the snow, so that’s all good… I’m just excited about everything.”