Faculty Focus: Chelsea T. Dowell, Assistant Professor of Economics
What do you love most about teaching?
Teaching each day brings me joy. I get to share my favorite hobby with students and help them discover their own passions. My purpose as a professor is to help students discover their own purpose in life. I love watching students figure out who they want to be and then helping them become those people. The fact that students are a captive audience with an incentive to laugh at my corny jokes is a nice bonus.
What is your favorite class to teach?
I created a new course called Directed Research in Economics. I work one on one with students on projects in the Economic field of their choosing. Since the course’s creation, I have directed projects in Sports Economics with a Fitness and Sports Management Major, in Managerial Economics with a Business Administration Major, and in Political Economy with a Criminal Justice Major. Students synthesize research, analyze data, and evaluate an economic issue by the end of the project. The students have used these projects as talking points in graduate school applications and job interviews. Working with my students on topics of their choosing and seeing them take steps to their future career goals makes this class my favorite.
What is the most interesting application of economics you have encountered?
Economics is the study of choices. Everyone makes choices. Economics gives us the tools to make the best choices for ourselves, our families, and our society. What could be more interesting than that? Who hasn’t made a choice they regretted? Economists do not have a crystal ball and we can’t see into the future, but wouldn’t it be nice to better predict the outcomes of your decisions before you make them? Economics arms us with the skills to engage with our world as informed citizens.
What was your favorite research project you’ve done and what you thought was the coolest aspect of it?
Something unique to KWC is The Wesleyan Way. Outreach to the community is not only applauded, but also supported. The most meaningful research projects for me are the ones that also serve to give back to the community. In my Managerial Statistics class, I require a service-learning project. I pair students with local non-profit organizations from Owensboro and the surrounding areas. Students create datasets from information the groups collect, analyze the data with theories and models from class, and offer valuable advice on strategies, marketing, finances, and so much more. So far, we have completed research projects for the Daniel Pitino Homeless Shelter, the Senior Center of Owensboro and Daviess County, Matthew 25, Building Stronger Families, Theatre Workshop of Owensboro, and the Human Relations Commission. These groups perform such great works for the community; I am thrilled that our students are able to support them through their research.
What is your favorite activity at KWC?
Our student population is so talented. I have seen my students score goals, give their testimony, hit the high notes, present research, and broadcast on the airwaves. My students continue to amaze me. Any chance I get, I am cheering them on. If I am lucky, then I get to bring my nephew along to cheer also. He is definitely their loudest fan.