Name: Jacob Aguirre
Year: Third-year (by credit hours)
Program: Double major in Economics and Mathematics
Hometown: Woodstock, GA
Favorite class: MATH 2106 Intro to proofs (favorite econ course is ECON 4803: Behavioral Economics)
Favorite professor: Dr. Dench
Internships/clubs: Undergraduate Research Option, Delta Sigma Pi, Omicron Delta Epsilon, Math club, Chess Club, Economics Club, Mental Health SGA Committee, Health Analytics lab, Undergraduate Research Ambassador, Teaching Assistant in the School of Economics
Most helpful resource in the School of Economics: The faculty in the School of Economics has been my best resource. Dr. U and Dr. Buser have been great mentors and have given me advice on my undergraduate studies. Dr. Dench has helped me gain research experience and advised me on my graduate applications. The amount of research opportunities I’ve been given has helped me to become a better student. I’m grateful to the faculty and staff here who have made my time so enjoyable.
1. Why did you choose Georgia Tech?
I chose Georgia Tech due to its excellent faculty and amazing campus. I knew I wanted to work with professors who are at the front of their fields, writing scholarly work. Georgia Tech is a top research institution, and I knew that with my interests, I could find professors to collaborate with. The quality of the courses taught, opportunities given, and advice provided have been amazing. I couldn’t be happier to study here.
2. Who or what inspired you to study economics?
Growing up, I always loved mathematics. So much so that I thought I’d want to get my Ph.D. in mathematics. When I got to senior year of high school, I took AP micro and macro. I fell in love with the material. Taking behavioral economics cemented my appreciation and interest in Economics. I’m able to combine my interests in mathematics and economics to research real-world problems and use skills I’ve read and learned to create the solution. My favorite research paper during my time at GT is my thesis on youth usage of E-cigarettes during the EVALI crisis.
3. What's the biggest challenge you’ve faced at Georgia Tech, and how did you overcome it?
Being a first-generation American and college student, I had many challenges. Adapting to being away from home, learning a new culture, and making new friends away from high school. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but I’m thankful for my friends who picked me up. I’m grateful for my excellent mentors who helped guide me and provide advice when I needed it most. Attending the Governor's Honors Program also benefitted me in making new friends here at GT.
4. What’s your proudest achievement from your time at Georgia Tech so far?
I’m proud of my level of involvement on campus. I’m affiliated with three research labs, numerous clubs and professional societies, and I have the amazing opportunity to be a TA. Further, I’m graduating in only two years. Never in a million years did I think I would be at an amazing school like this, doing the work I do and meeting amazing people.
5. What’s the biggest change you see in yourself now from when you arrived?
I’ve become much more open-minded since arriving at Georgia Tech. Usually, I’ve stuck to areas that interest me most or that I’m best at. I’ve begun to take more interest in topics that I never really gave much interest or concern. Further, being around people who come from different backgrounds, cultures, and viewpoints has challenged and helped me to become a better and more informed person.
6. What’s your #1 piece of advice for incoming students in the School of Economics?
Take advantage of the resources given to you! We have excellent advisors, faculty, and immense internship and research opportunities! Dive in, get involved, and make the most of your time here. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Take a course on a topic you’re unfamiliar with but could possibly interest you. It may just become your favorite subject.
7. What’s your biggest, craziest goal after you graduate (aka how do you want to change the world)?
I’m proud to be attending graduate school for Industrial Engineering with a focus on health systems. I have great options in Northwestern, Cornell, Wisconsin-Madison, Purdue, and Georgia Tech. My dream is to get my Ph.D. and become a professor at Georgia Tech. World-class research happens here, and I want to be a part of it. I plan to continue my work on medical decision-making under uncertainty and accessibility to healthcare services for rural and impoverished Americans.
Thank you for sharing your experience, Jacob!