Citizenship: U.S.A.
Languages: English and Spanish

I grew up in Tallahassee, FL and graduated from Lincoln High School in 2000.  During high school, I ate, slept, and breathed mathematics. I regularly spent my Fridays and Saturdays doing hordes of practice competitions with my friends. I know, that's bad. 

Wanting a change of scenery, I headed north to Furman University (a small liberal arts school in Greenville, SC).  My life changed one day in an 8AM college class when, after having downed a strong cup of coffee, I woke up and realized my classes involved more letters than numbers. My discovery worsened when the professor admitted that I would only use those theories if I became a mathematics professor. Having spent half of my college career on this path, I was a bit lost . . . until I met Robinson Crusoe.

Economics became my next passion.  It gave me a practical application for my theories. I could integrate and perform derivative functions all day, show changes in marginal cost, illustrate the speed of the ATC curve, and demonstrate how profits rapidly approached zero in monopolistic games gone awry. The labor-leisure relationship became cool when I realized it was based on a complex set of differential equations. Amid all this joy, my journey once again led to another brick wall. Economic theory was nice yet "holding all things constant" began to show its transparent qualities and shortcomings.

I had a year left. I delved into urban studies which fascinated me with its economic and racial disparities.  After more reading, I was captivated by historical trends, political relationships and regimes, and sociological differences in neighborhoods and sections of cities.  My introduction to geographic information systems was brief, but it left a lasting impression.

Most likely a result of studying too many topics, I arrived at a paradoxical conclusion: I knew that I did not know what I wanted to do.  With a lust for travel and a desire to reflect on my life goals, I applied and got a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship.  A little while later, I was down in Guatemala doing postgraduate studies (at the Universidad del Valle) in development.  When not in class, I made my way across Central America to meet with Rotarians (videos of my last month of work are available online in English and Spanish). The year turned out well.  I realized that I was not cut out for a traditional 8AM-5PM job.

So what did I decide to do?  More school!  Nowadays, my second home is FSU's Department of Economics where I am in their Doctoral Program.  The first year is coursework and serving as a TA.  The second year involves taking coursework in our fields of interest.  You finish the coursework in the third year and, hopefully, come up with a dissertation topic or dabble with a few research projects.  The fourth year (and beyond) continues the dissertation and you try to develop a unique specialization.

As far as my interests go . . . as an undergrad, I liked a mix of economics courses that dealt with classical and applied approaches.  My time in Central America made me realize how problems arise when institutions are weak, corruption is rampant, and infrastructure is strained.  A graduate training with classes in several departments (economics, geography, law, and business) has introduced me to interesting moral and ethical debates that come out of policy work.  We'll see where things lead me . . .