Dr. Anita Alves Pena is a Professor of Economics at Colorado State University. Her research interests are in public sector economics, labor economics, and economic development and her current research relates to undocumented and documented immigration, public policy, poverty, education/skill, and agricultural labor markets. Dr. Pena received her Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford University in 2007, M.A. in Economics from Stanford University in 2004, and B.A. in Economics from the Johns Hopkins University in 2001. She teaches Microeconomic Theory, Public Economics, and Microeconomics of Development at the graduate level, as well as undergraduate Principles of Microeconomics, Intermediate Microeconomics, Introduction to Econometrics, Economics of Public Finance, and a Senior Seminar on Local Economic Policy/Cost-Benefit Analysis.
My teaching philosophy has revolved around the idea that the art in teaching economics lies in the ability to relate the subject to the experiences of students. Teaching students why economics matters to their lives changes their understanding of the world around them. My view is that this not only ensures a next generation of economists to extend the field, but also can result in positive externalities such as changes in students’ compassion for the poor, ethics in business, and personal responsibility for household finances. The best economics classes therefore in my opinion elucidate supply and demand relationships and engage students mathematically, analytically, intuitively, and verbally while encouraging informed citizenship and decision-making. This is relevant at the undergraduate and graduate (through PhD) levels.