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October 19, 2009


Kristin A. Van Gaasbeck
Associate professor, Department of Economics

Photo: Kristin A. Van Gaasbeck
Kristin A. Van Gaasbeck

Home town:
San Diego, Calif.

Area of expertise:

My primary area of research is monetary economics, focusing on the Federal Reserve System’s formulation and implementation of policy. I have also published research in the area of economic growth. 

Educational background:

I received my Ph.D. and my master’s in economics from UC Davis and my bachelor’s in economics from Smith College in Northampton, Mass.

What’s on your mp3 player?
I really have a hodgepodge of things. Right now I have Radiohead, Wilco, Mos Def, Neko Case, Springsteen, Fleet Foxes, Calexico, Johnny Cash, Conor Oberst, Blitzen Trapper, Bon Iver and Flight of the Conchords.
I usually have a few podcasts as well. Right now, I have This American Life, Ricky Gervais’ Guides and BBC Mundo Spanish language newscasts.

Your favorite or last read book:

The most recent book I finished was The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, but my favorite book is The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. It’s the first book that I couldn’t put down. In addition to the beautiful writing and twist and turns in the plot, I like that the reader feels ambivalent about each character. I don’t really have a favorite genre, but if I did, it would be detective novels like those published by Hammett, Raymond Chandler and more recently, James Ellroy. 

What is your favorite city to visit?:

So far, my favorite is Istanbul. It is a city with layers of history and culture. It has everything from Roman cisterns and Italianate facades to high-rise buildings and high-congestion traffic.

Istanbul is a city that has managed to maintain its identity while embracing the modern world. In less than 20 minutes I heard the call to prayer, haggled for a parka and saw men fishing along a bridge. It is one of those cities that I feel like I could wander around for months and still come across something or someone new.

Who most influenced you to become a teacher?:

My father has always been a positive role model for me. He is a high school science teacher, who will retire this year after 35 years of teaching.  When I was a little girl, he would stay up late preparing assignments and lectures while I would work alongside him coloring or reading. He has always been enormously dedicated to his students and constantly revises his curriculum to incorporate new ideas and pedagogical approaches.   I try to embody that same work ethic in my own courses.



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