“My economics degrees led to some very lucrative job offers in the corporate world. But teaching is my passion, and I wouldn’t be nearly as happy doing anything else.”
As a child growing up in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Dr. Meghan Mihal says she never had a clear picture of what she wanted to be when she grew up. One day she wanted to be a lawyer, and the next day, a doctor. She did know that she was good at math. When it came time to choose a college, she still wasn’t sure what career path she’d follow. So she enrolled at Albright College as an undeclared student.
In college, the chairman of the math department noticed Dr. Mihal’s mathematical proficiency in Honors Calculus, and suggested that she declare a major in math.
So she did.
“I almost immediately regretted the decision. Yes, I was good at math, but I didn’t love it,” Dr. Mihal says. “Having a natural ability in something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s what you should do with your life.”
Soon after, Dr. Mihal’s advisor recommended that she try an economics class. And again, she did.
“I knew nothing about economics before taking this class, but once I took that class, I was hooked. I knew it was for me,” Dr. Mihal explains. “Economics just made sense.”
So her advisor suggested that she major in economics. Although she had just declared a major in math, she added an economics major to her course load. She never looked back. After graduating with bachelor’s degrees in math and economics, Dr. Mihal enrolled in Fordham University’s graduate program in economics and finished with her Ph.D. At Fordham, Dr. Mihal was a senior teaching fellow and instructor for undergraduate in economics, mathematics and business writing. She also worked for a time as an adjunct professor at NYU. And she realized that teaching is her passion.
In 2009, Dr. Mihal joined the STAC faculty. She teaches undergraduate and graduate economics courses, including macroeconomics, managerial economics, math for economists, and the economics of sport. Outside the classroom, Dr. Mihal is co-advisor for STAC's Business Club and advisor for Delta Mu Delta, the International Business Honors Society.
An active researcher herself, Dr. Mihal also devotes time to undergraduate research projects and conferences with her students. In 2016, Dr. Mihal took four students to the Federal Reserve Bank’s College Fed Challenge, a team competition in which undergraduate teams from around the country analyze economic and financial conditions and formulate a monetary policy recommendation. The winning teams from each region present their policy at the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System.
“Economics is important in every industry everywhere in the world. Employers see the benefit of having employees with the ability to think analytically,” Dr. Mihal says. “Students with a background in economics think differently and approach problems differently than even students of finance or accounting. Economists look at the bigger picture. It’s not a major here, but we offer enough to get students thinking differently, give them opportunities, and pique their interest.”