Stephie Fried: Influencing economics students

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Stephie Fried started her college career as a math major at Grinnell College in Iowa, but found herself drawn to economics. That’s why she encourages students in her class to keep an open mind.

“I started out as a math major. I wanted to do something analytical, but that had an impact on people,” she says.

Stephie received her PhD from University of California San Diego. She joined W. P. Carey in 2017, having previously served on the faculty of Carleton College, where she taught courses in macroeconomics and environmental economics.

Stephie was attracted to W. P. Carey because of the reputation of its economics department, and the enticing warm weather.

“The faculty is phenomenal. And the administrative staff that supports our department is amazing,” Stephie says. “One lesson learned from colleagues is to never give up. I see them working hard and staying focused and it inspires me to do the same.”

She currently teaches economic development and environmental economics to undergraduates. One thing that has surprised her is how engaged W. P. Carey students are.

“They ask a lot of good questions,” she says.

This semester, she’s trying something new in her classes. “I was trying to come up with ways to get the students more invested in the subject, and this seemed like a good solution,” she says. “I’m going to incorporate an element of Pecha Kucha in their presentations.” Pecha Kucha is a presentation style that is concise and fast-paced because it’s strictly timed. “They’re going to take a current issue and apply what they’ve learned and then present to the class.”

She hopes it enables them to be more prepared and encourages them to talk about the subject matter in a succinct way.

One thing she appreciates W. P. Carey’s emphasis on research. Stephie’s research centers around on environmental economics and its implications for the macroeconomy, answering questions such as: How does federal funding efforts affect our adaptation to climate change, how has economic growth in Africa and has impacted the expansion of electricity, and how carbon taxes can induce innovation in green technologies.

“I hope I stay in academia a long time,” Stephie says.

When Stephie is not busy with teaching or research, she’s running the trails at the Phoenix Preserve, cooking something delightful, or just enjoying the sunshine.


Have you ever received especially good advice?
My mentors told me early on to work on what I actually like, because I’m going to spend a lot of time on it. They were right. No one wants to do something they don’t enjoy.

Where is your “never fail” lunch spot on or near campus?
When the weather is nice, I like walking over to ChopShop on University.

What was your first job and what did it teach you?
I worked at a bagel shop. It encouraged me to complete my degree.

If you could be in any other career, what would it be?
If not in academia, I’d run some sort of small business that positively impacts the community.


What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
I moved to a Pacific island for a year – Pohnpei in Micronesia – where I taught high school math.

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I would love to go to Japan someday. There’s a lot of cool foods I want to try.

If you could have one super power, what would it be?
Insta-travel. Like Harry Potter.

What book can you read over and over?
Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver.


Salty or sweet? Both
Coffee or tea? Tea
Soda or energy drink? Neither
Cat or dog? Dogs
Truck or car? Car (the smaller, the better)
Board games or video games? Board games
Fiction or non-fiction? Fiction
Facebook or face-to-face? Face-to-face
Breakfast or lunch? Dinner
Morning person or night owl? Morning person