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Following Your Passion into Economics

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Jane Ihrig

Math was Jane Ihrig’s initial passion, so much so that she always envisioned getting a Ph.D. in math and becoming a professor.

When she began her studies at Carnegie Mellon University, her math major required a humanities course each semester, so she took a shot at microeconomics. Then came macroeconomics. Then came more and more econ classes to fill the humanities requirement.

“By my junior year, I realized I was enjoying the applied math in those classes just as much as my math major,” Ihrig said.

Ihrig went on to major in both math and economics before pursuing her Ph.D. in econ, rather than math. These were among the first steps toward an economics career that saw her ultimately wind up working for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

In this Women in Economics podcast, Ihrig discusses her journey to the Fed. She talks about the importance of being mentored and of mentoring others.

She also notes how her daughter followed in her footsteps as a math major, but not as an economics major. It wasn’t for lack of trying. Her daughter took AP economics, and that was more than enough econ for her.

“But she is a math major and I think that will provide her with lots of opportunities going forward,” Ihrig said. “And I encourage everyone to follow what they’re passionate about.”

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