"The only reason I made it through my first year of graduate school at Irvine is because I wanted to work on economic development for people in poverty," said Anne Carpenter, who graduated in 2009 with a bachelor's in economics. "Specifically, I want to build sustainable housing for impoverished people. It's a long ways off, but someday I would like to start my own non-profit organization a well."
Carpenter wasted no time in getting involved with a variety of organizations when she came to Missouri State. "I was on the Student Activities Council. I helped with Public Affairs Week, even serving as the citizenship chair for one year. I was in the Emerging Leaders Program my freshman year, and I was involved in the Finance Club,"
She enjoyed her first macroeconomics class so much that she decided to continue pursuing economics as a major.
"Economists try to explain why things happen in the economy, why people make the decisions they make and that kind of thing," said Carpenter. "I like those 'why' questions. There's also a connection with politics in that economists ask what policy would be most effective in a certain situation, and I've always been interested in politics."
While she was attending Missouri State, Carpenter worked at a bank in Springfield. She advises other students to do what she did: "Try to get a job in a field you are interested in. You will either realize you love it or that it isn't what you want to do for the rest of your life, either of which is good. Getting a job as a freshman or sophomore is really important."
Carpenter continued working at a bank in the Springfield area after she graduated. She eventually decided to pursue graduate studies and is now a teaching assistant at the University of California at Irvine. "I wanted to do something more related to helping people in poverty, which I wasn't doing while working at a bank," she said. "A doctorate in economics will help me to help people."
As a graduate student at Irvine, Carpenter teaches upper-division classes during the fall and spring semester and conducts research during the summer.
"Missouri State was a great school to go to," she said. "The finance minor I took helped me while I was in banking, and my senior research project prepared me for what I am doing right now. It's funny how college campuses are different, but I liked Missouri State and I miss it. It's a fun college atmosphere with something going on all the time."