Therese Grijalva (2013)
Article from WSU Today, March 5, 2013
Weber State University economics professor Therese Grijalva has been named the 2013 John S. Hinckley Fellow, and WSU’s executive committee for the National Conference on Undergraduate Research is the 2013 Exemplary Collaboration Award winner.
Grijalva joined the Department of Economics in 2000. Whether teaching an introductory economics course or a class in the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, she brings an enthusiasm that resonates with undergraduate and graduate students alike.
In her Economics 1010 course, Grijalva connects the subject to social issues, and by integrating current events into the curriculum, she stimulates discussions of how economics plays a role in everyday life. For example, she used the 2012 presidential election to initiate discussions on controversial economic issues like tax cuts, government spending and income inequality.
Grijalva once was not as passionate about economics as she is now, but she uses that experience to make the subject more interesting. “I did not understand or appreciate the importance of economics as an undergraduate,” said Grijalva, who earned her bachelor’s degree in finance at Florida State University and her MBA from Cleveland State University. A concern for the environment, however, and the realization that economics impacts the efficient use of scarce environmental resources, led to Grijalva earning a Ph.D. in economics from the University of New Mexico.
“I had been working in Chicago, and I remember looking at my recycling bin at the end of every day and thinking about the tremendous amount of paper we waste. And that was just me and just one cubicle,” Grijalva said. “I wanted to know more how economics impacted the environment. That became my passion, and I think that passion comes through in my teaching.”
An environmental economist, Grijalva, along with three faculty members from the Goddard School of Business & Economics, created the first-of-its-kind graduate curriculum in Utah targeting environmental sustainability for businesses. Each of the four members of the team were named “Green Pioneers” by Utah Business Magazine.
Across campus, Grijalva is well-known for her work with undergraduate researchers. Her students have published in Ergo, WSU’s undergraduate research journal, and one student traveled internationally for the first time in his life to conduct research with Grijalva in Mexico. She was also instrumental in creating a research-focused capstone course in the economics department, mentoring a large number of students, some international.
“Undergraduate research is so incredibly important,” Grijalva said. “It can have a tremendous impact and can inspire students to pursue their education even further. When it does, that makes your day; that gets you excited.”
Grijalva has published more than 17 peer-reviewed articles, several of which have appeared in such highly ranked journals as “Land Economics” and “American Journal of Agricultural Economics.” These successes have contributed to her growing national reputation as a scholar in the expanding field of environmental economics.
“Therese is a true ‘triple threat,’ excelling in teaching, scholarship and service,” wrote a colleague in nominating her for the Hinckley Award. “She is an exemplary colleague who inspires both students and her fellow faculty members to excel.”