Professor Spotlight: Yahya Madra

 

Yahya Madra is a visiting Associate Professor of Economics at Drew. She will be among the professors holding a roundtable discussion on Imperialism for the April 2 Drew Caspersen Conference examining World War I. The conference will include lectures, exhibits and feature professors from Centenary University, Southern Alabama University, the College of Saint Elizabeth and Drew. For more information, check the link: https://www.drew.edu/news/2017/03/15/drews-caspersen-school-examines-world-war-i

Where are you originally from, how did you end up at Drew and how long are you planning to stay here?

I was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. In 1995, after completing my BA in Economics at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, I came to the US and began my graduate studies in Economics at UMass Amherst. After UMass, I taught for three years at Skidmore College, and then for five years at Gettysburg College where I received tenure in 2011. But that same year, I decided to return back to Istanbul (after being away for 16 years—much of my adult life—it was about time) and began teaching at my Alma Mater. Unfortunately, last year, in part due the increasingly oppressive political atmosphere in Turkey and in part due to personal reasons, I decided to relocate back to the US. Actually I was very lucky—right around the time I made my decision, [the] Economics Department here at Drew was looking for a faculty for a two-year visiting position. So, I immediately applied and gave a job talk on one snowy Friday afternoon in early February 2016. I actually already knew a number of faculty. Prof. Safri and I went to graduate school together, and I was aware of Profs. Curtis’ and Olmsted’s research. The rest of the faculty I met during my campus visit, and they were all very welcoming. I immediately felt at home here.

What courses do you teach this semester?

This semester I am teaching two sections of Intermediate Macroeconomics and a writing-intensive seminar on Development Economics. I like both courses but I think Macroeconomics is going much better—even though it is the more mathematical of the two courses. I wish my students in the Development Economics seminar spoke more—I guess it is my job to make them participate more.

What do you like most about Drew?

First and foremost, the diversity of the student body—which is in stark contrast with the more homogeneous campuses of Skidmore and Gettysburg. I think this, in part, is a reflection of the diversity of New Jersey, but I think there is more to it than that. The student body is diverse on a wide variety of registers, and they all bring their richness to the classroom. I like the fact that we have a significant contingent of international students, but I also find the student athletes to be very responsible and academically “on top of their game”.

Why should students at least take a class in economics?

Because the economy shapes our lives in many different ways; it shapes our jobs, our homes, our education and our health.

Where is your office and when are the best times to see you?

My office is located on the second floor of the Lewis Hall. I teach on Mondays and Wednesdays and I try to be on campus at least three days a week. So, most Fridays I am on campus, but sometimes I try to come to campus on another day of the week for a change of pace. Since I commute from NYC, when I come to the campus, I stay for the entire day.

What is one thing you want students to know about you?

I am a very active twitter user (@ymadra).  While I do tweet a lot in Turkish on the political economy of Turkey and Middle East, I also tweet a lot in English on a wide range of topics, including economics and politics as well as arts and pop music (electronic music, Britpop, Glam Rock). I would be tremendously happy if Drew folks were to follow me and of course, I will definitely follow back— just say hi with a “mention” and a #DrewU hashtag.

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