Student Highlight Interviews

The Department of Economics is proud to present an exciting project to highlight our majors’ students. It’s a great opportunity for students to familiarize themselves with one another as well as highlight their personal experiences within the Economics Department. 

Please see below and click the names of individual students to view their interview questions and answers.

Shanna Bui - Economics BA

What influenced your decision to choose your major?

  • "I was very fortunate to have an economist as my AP
    economics teacher during senior year of high school.
    His passion and erudition had a lot of influence on my
    decision to pursue economics in college. I fell in love
    with the applicable and versatile nature of economics
    and appreciated having a newfound vocabulary to
    explain the world around me."

Are you involved in any campus activities? If so, why did you choose to get involved?

  • "For the past year and a half, I’ve been involved in the
    Economics Student Association. I first joined as a
    member in Spring 2021, then became outreach chair in
    Fall 2021 and vice president in Spring 2022. Starting
    college during the pandemic made it difficult for me to
    socialize with my classmates. I found myself longing
    for a community of like-minded peers and decided to
    get involved with ESA."

What difficulties or challenges have you faced choosing this major? How did you overcome them?

  • "One of the biggest challenges I have faced as an
    economics major is finding a sense of direction with
    my career. Economics is such a broad subject, which
    makes it difficult when trying to decide on a specific
    career path. I realized early on that one way to
    overcome this uncertainty is to talk to my professors
    and seek out as much information as I could on the
    available jobs out there for economics majors. Going to
    office hours every semester to talk with professors
    about prospective careers has been extremely effective
    at reducing the uncertainty."

What advice would you like to share with your peers?

  • "Leap out of your comfort zone, stay there, and leap
    again. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned throughout
    my time at CSULB, it is that progress and growth often
    happens when we push ourselves past what we believe
    we’re capable of. Also, always remember to persevere
    in the face of adversity. Life loves to catch us off guard
    but the ability to remain resilient is essential to
    overcoming these challenges."

Have you thought about plans for after graduation? If so, please share.

  • "This past summer, I had the amazing opportunity of
    interning at a real estate research and consulting firm.
    During the internship, I was able to apply the economic
    knowledge that I have learned in school to the real
    world. I achieved more than what I thought was
    possible, and I was constantly surrounded by
    passionate and knowledgeable team members. I
    currently work part-time at the company as a research
    analyst and desire greatly to remain in this position
    after graduation."

Is there anything that you'd like to highlight about yourself or the Department of Economics to others?

  • "I owe the wonderful experiences I’ve had at CSULB
    thus far to the professors and peers that I’ve had the
    opportunity to learn from. Upon entering college, I
    was immediately met with unmatched kindness and
    support from everyone in the Department of
    Economics. The wisdom I’ve gained and advice I
    have been given has immensely impacted my life in
    the best way possible."
Savannah Blocher - Business Economics BA

What influenced your decision to choose your major?

  • "My high school econ teacher played a big role in
    helping me enjoy and understand economics.
    From that point forward I fell in love with it and
    knew it was something I wanted to continue to
    pursue."

What is something you can share about your experience in economics?

  • "I just transferred but so far I have had a really
    good experience with economics. It can be
    difficult to understand at times but the
    challenge of it is what I like the most. It is
    rewarding when I am finally able to understand
    a concept."

What difficulties or challenges have you faced choosing this major? How did you overcome them?

  • "I didn’t have many difficulties choosing this
    major. I knew I enjoyed econ and wanted to
    learn more about it so it was a no brainer
    decision. Most of my challenges come from the
    classes itself and their contents. It can be hard
    to grasp at times but studying and asking for
    help are my go to ways to figure it out."

What advice would you like to share with your peers?

  • "My advice is to always try your best even if your
    best is only 50%. It can get stressful at times but
    you have to do what works for you and
    prioritize your mental and physical health.
    Everything will fall into place one way or
    another."

How do you feel about your overall college experience?

  • "My college experience hasn’t been exactly
    conventional due various reasons but I wouldn’t
    change it. I have enjoyed all of my classes and
    have made new friends along the way. While it
    is stressful it has all been worth it."

Is there anything that you'd like to highlight about yourself or the Department of Economics to others?

  • "I have had nothing but positive experiences
    with everyone in the department of
    economics. They are always there to help."
Shayla Chung - Economics BA

What influenced your decision to choose your major?

  • "When I was studying for my AP Microeconomics and
    Macroeconomics exams during the peak of Covid-19, I
    found myself really enjoying re-teaching myself and
    reviewing the material. It came very naturally to me
    and I easily spent hours just learning, I haven't ever
    truly felt a passion like that for an academic subject.
    While I have always liked school, cared deeply about it
    and did quite well for the most part, I've never really
    resonated with a subject or a topic until that moment."

Are you involved in any campus activities? If so, why did you choose to get involved?

  • "I am a member of CSULBVSA and I decided to get
    involved because I wanted to be a part of a community,
    especially one where I could meet other Vietnamese
    people, because as diverse as San Francisco (where I'm
    from) is, I didn't meet too many Vietnamese people or
    those whose lives were similar to mine. I also wanted
    to meet new people and make connections."

What difficulties or challenges have you faced choosing this major? How did you overcome them?

  • "I don't think I have exactly faced any challenges
    choosing this major, other than potentially feeling a
    lack of connection with my peers in this major. I
    haven't exactly made much of an effort to connect with
    others or going to ESA meetings per se, though I have
    met a few people recently."

What advice would you like to share with your peers?

  • "My advice would be to pace yourself and listen to your
    mind. Though this only works if you have self
    discipline to accomplish your tasks. I know that we all
    get overwhelmed and some days we don't feel like
    doing anything, and on those days, I listen to myself. If
    I have a lot to get done and can't afford a free day, then
    I will do the mundane and easy tasks. I never force
    myself to complete an assignment on a day where I am
    not feeling it, because I know my work will be subpar
    and it will only drain me further. I only work when I
    am in the proper mindset and this allows me to
    complete my work best."

Have you thought about plans for after graduation?

  • "I have thought about taking an internship in the
    summer, hopefully that fosters into something
    longer than just that time period. Generally, I
    am looking to gain some experience in the
    working world then going back to school to get
    my Masters."

Is there anything that you'd like to highlight about yourself or the Department of Economics to others?

  • "I currently have a 4.0 GPA, received the
    Powell Endowed Scholarship for Fall 2022,
    have an interview for a Summer 2023
    internship with Alphasights, and will be
    minoring in CS."
Jireh Deng - Economics BA

What influenced your decision to choose your major?

  • "Over the summer I was volunteering at my local
    courthouse and struggling to figure out how to combine
    my two passions: the sciences and humanities. One of
    my peers suggested that I take some economics courses
    because she saw how much I cared about social issues
    and policy. I ended up double majoring in economics
    and international studies as a result."

Are you involved in any campus activities? If so, why did you choose to get involved?

  • "I used to be super involved in campus activities at the beginning
    of my undergrad career. I was in the honors program, I competed
    in moot court across the country and then I was in student
    government for two years. Over the pandemic, my campus
    involvement shifted and I started getting more involved with my
    art community off campus. I also started a position at the student
    paper as the assistant opinions editor in my junior year. That
    really got me started on a journey in journalism that I didn't
    expect. In summer of 2021, I interned at the LA Times and then
    subsequently worked for NPR for 8 months. I had a really great
    time and I started freelancing for a number of different
    publications after. I've had bylines in the Washington Post, the
    Guardian, the LA Times and more."

What difficulties or challenges have you faced choosing this major? How did you overcome them?

  • "Sometimes it's challenging to feel like there aren't as many
    women in this field as there are men. I think about that a lot,
    where there is generally an underrepresentation of women
    and people of color in economics. I don't think it's something
    that I personally can overcome on a systemic level, but I
    pride myself in scoring well in my classes and proving
    through my studies that I belong in every classroom I'm in."

What advice would you like to share with your peers?

  • "I would say, it took me a long time to figure out my major. I'm in
    my last semester now, but I really took my time over the past four
    and a half years to figure out what I was passionate about. I went
    from a clarinet music performance major to a marine biology nerd
    who volunteered at CSULB's shark lab, to becoming a math major
    and ultimately a double major in economics and international
    studies. All along the way, I figured out what I loved which was
    writing and art and even though that's different from my studies, I
    think that ultimately, my degree has made me a more well rounded
    person. I would just encourage everyone who's trying to figure out
    what they are passionate about to really invest in themselves
    because ultimately college is about finding who you are and you'll
    never have a chance like this in life to continually reinvent yourself
    each year in school."

Have you thought about plans for after graduation?

  • "I'm hoping to get a job in journalism and to work for a
    local or national publication after I graduate. I feel
    pretty good about my college experience, I think I
    explored every possible nook and cranny to find a path
    for myself and I'm proud of that. I'm really burnt out
    though. I worked full time and was a student full time
    in my senior year and I was really exhausting. I think
    that I'm going to also allow myself rest in the upcoming
    months and try not to push myself too hard."

Is there anything that you'd like to highlight about yourself or the Department of Economics to others?

  • "The economics department is so tight knit and I feel like I
    was just beginning to tap into that community right as the
    pandemic hit. I regret not being able to get involved more
    while I was a student, like participating in the Economics
    Student Association events. I'm really grateful though that I
    was able to receive so much learning and knowledge in my
    time in this department. I know the analytical skills I gained
    will stay with me for life."
Justin Gamoras - Business Economics BA

What influenced your decision to choose your major?

  • When looking at "Economics", 'supply and demand'
    were the only words I could immediately recall when I
    was choosing my major in the application process. So I
    never had a full complete understanding in what
    Economics truly was. However, there was a small spark
    of interest when I learned about Economics my senior
    year of high-school and decided to take a small leap of
    faith. And it was the best decision I have ever made. I
    didn't realize how much of an interest I had with
    Economics. Where the major was broad enough where
    you have flexibility to carve what you want to do in
    the future, but not so specific and concentrated on one
    concept of study (i.e. Financial, Environmental, Data,
    & International).

Are you involved in any campus activities? If so, why did you choose to get involved?

  • Currently, I am in the University Honors Program at
    CSULB and for my honors thesis project; I will be
    focusing on two areas of study: Economics and
    Computer Science. I am currently performing this
    research with Dr. Yutian Chen within the Economics
    Department. I chose this specific concentration to gain
    experience not only in performing research, but also
    experience within tying economic game-theory with
    reinforcement-learning.

What difficulties or challenges have you faced choosing this major? How did you overcome them?

  • Some challenges I faced in choosing this major was
    deciding what specific areas of economics I wanted to
    pursue. I overcame this challenge through taking a
    variety of different (and what sounded interesting to
    me) economics courses to see which specific areas
    sparked my interest. I will never forget the moment
    sitting in Professor Herman Singh's Environmental
    Economics Class and hearing the words "Behavioral
    Economics" and what it meant. At that moment, I
    realized I was one step closer to deciding what I loved,
    what I am interested in, and wanted to pursue.
    Ultimately, on top of college, I also pursued various of
    circulars and explored outside of my bubble. This
    includes: exploring a Marketing Minor,
    Entrepreneurship, taking a Digital Marketing
    Certificate Course outside of school, and watching
    numerous of YouTube videos about "what to do with
    an economics degree".

What advice would you like to share with your peers?

  • Number 1: Take risks. Don't be afraid to take a class
    that you might know nothing about but seems
    interesting or challenging. You will never know unless
    you really try.
    Number 2: Have an open mind. Even if you have a
    set career goal going into college, you can have a
    completely different future planned in college or
    after college. I initially went into college wanting to
    become an Interior Designer and saw Economics not
    only as a "safety net degree" but also valuable
    knowledge in applying it towards Interior Design. I
    now have a completely different future career goal
    than when I first went into college.
    Number 3: Your self-care is the first and foremost
    priority. School, classes, the future, and your career
    can be extremely stressful to think about. But, there is
    nothing wrong with putting yourself first. Make sure
    to give yourself time to breathe, relax, take care of
    yourself, and enjoy the ride. Live your life too, you
    are not only tied to just school.

Have you thought about plans for after graduation?

  • I have decided to pursue Data Science/Data Analytics
    with my Economics Degree. As of now, I am
    completing the Google Data Analytics Certificate
    Course which will help expand and curtail down my
    options what to look for. I currently have an open
    mind and don't have a full set path or plan in what I
    will be doing after graduation, but more of a direction.
    But my direction includes either: Pursuing and getting
    my Masters in Economics or Data Science/Data
    Analytics OR applying and searching for internships
    or job experience within the field.

Is there anything that you'd like to highlight about yourself or the Department of Economics to others?

  • I would like to highlight Professor Herman Singh,
    Rachel Lobo, and Dr. Yutian Chen; for helping me
    refine what I am interested in and what I want
    concentration I want to pursue with my degree.
    I also would like to highlight myself as a student for
    reaching out and asking questions to professors and
    spending some time on my own to really explore what
    I can do with my degree and what is it that I am
    passionate about and want to do.