This week I interviewed Jared Soares, a UPS Alumni who works not too far away at Earth Economics!
When did you graduate from UPS?
Can you tell me about your work at Earth Economics? (What do you do? How did you end up there? Do you have an idea of where you want to go within/outside of Earth Economics?)
I am a research assistant. My primary job is to assist project leads and analysts. This can be anything from compiling data for reports to travelling to events to present information for private and public decision makers. I also work with our fund development program, finding new opportunities for Earth Economics and maintaining connections with our clients and community. I will actually be coming to campus throughout the year to provide workshops on ecosystem services and natural capital accounting for classes and larger audiences.
I first started working for Earth Economics as an Intern after graduation (summer 2014). Garrett Milam actually introduced me to Zac Christin at Earth Economics when I told him that I had been interested in working for them. I had about a year of volunteer and part time work with Earth Economics before coming on full time in August.
Since working for Earth Economics, I have become even more aware of the relationship between nature and society. Not only that, but the importance of community engagement to promote this relationship. I hope to have Earth Economics become a source of information for Tacoma and Pierce County on the environmental and economic concerns that shape the Puget Sound region.
What got you into economics/what do you like about it? What was your favorite economics course?
Honestly, I heard about economics in high school and I was hooked. Economics is the study of decision making under scarcity. I saw the benefit of that type of logic and understanding when trying to solve complex issues that involve human behavior. My favorite subjects within economics are probably ecological and behavioral economics and econometrics.
My favorite economics course must have been Advance Empirical Methods. It may sound boring, but a bulk of the class was a large econometric analysis. This class gave you time to develop a full understanding of a topic and using statistical analysis and real world data to show economic theory. I was able to use much of this course to improve my thesis.
Did you do any internships/research while at UPS?
Other than research projects within a class, I did not have any internships or research opportunities while at UPS. I guess you could say I got lucky; I interned for Earth Economics and felt right at home.
Can you talk a little about your senior thesis?
My thesis examined the effects of fluctuations in coffee prices paid to growers on infant mortality rates in coffee producing countries. I examined coffee prices paid to growers and macroeconomic data from 46 coffee producing countries from 1991-2012. I was able to show that there was a strong relationship between coffee prices on infant mortality within producing countries. It was interesting to be able to provide meaningful results for an industry that is often overlooked and misunderstood.
Earth Economics works with economics in a cool trans-disciplnary way (which you would probably be better at explaining than me). What drew you to the company?
Honestly, I heard that a friend of mine was interning for them when I was going to school and just the name alone had me sold. “Earth Economics”…that sounds like exactly what I want to do. After learning more about the field of Ecological Economics, I realized that this was something fundamental that most people had no awareness of. I continued to read into what type of work they did and I didn’t want to work for anyone else.
What were some of your favorite things about UPS (extracurricular-wise, the campus, professors, etc.)?
Ubiquitous They, the improv and sketch comedy group, will always be my favorite extracurricular. On campus, the president’s woods was a great place to go for some peace and quiet. I always enjoyed meeting Brian Smith for out there with some of the other students from his class Tai Chi class. It would be tough to pin a favorite professor. The life on UPS campus meant always being able to have a personal relationship with your professors. In the econ department, I felt like the door was always open for us and after graduation I still feel the same.
Any advice for future economics grads?
Always talk about what you want. Having a strong network is crucial when you are out trying to find a job or expand your own human capital. You never know when the next person you meet may be your next friend, boss, or future partner in a business venture. Being able to communicate what you want to others is critical to achieving that goal.
Thanks for your time Jared!