Faculty Spotlight: Amanda Cook
One of newest members of the Department of Economics, Amanda Cook, took a more circuitous route than most to arrive at Bowling Green State University. After graduating with a degree in mathematics from Grinnell College, she began her professional career as a math teacher in a high school in Massachusetts. But after four years, she decided that she needed a major change: not in her profession, but in her location. So she made a change that most Americans would not even consider: she moved to Haiti.
She spent two years in Haiti, teaching math at an international school. She also did volunteer work at a women’s cooperative that, among other things, made bags out of recycled materials to sell to help sustain their families. It was working with these struggling women and helping them deal with issues related to health care and other problems associated with living in poverty in a rural area that stimulated her interest in developmental economics, and led her to return to the United States to study economics.
Amanda earned her master's degree in economic development at Vanderbilt University. During her first year there she received the program’s William Edward Ferguson Jr. Award, which rewards a commitment to community service and volunteerism. In her second year at Vanderbilt, she received the Graduate Program in Economic Developments’ Outstanding Student Award.
She then moved to Purdue University, where she earned her Ph.D., writing a dissertation on health economics. While earning her Ph.D., she put her earlier teacher training and experience to good use, receiving awards for both outstanding and distinguished teaching during 2013, 2014, and 2015, as well as the Ph.D. Student Service Award during 2014.
In 2016, she arrived at Bowling Green State University, where she now teaches Econometrics I and II (for master’s level students), as well as Introductory Microeconomics and Economics for Social Studies for undergraduates. Not content to just teach what was currently being offered here at BG, she has also created a new course, Health Economics.
The new course she has developed is related to her primary research area of health economics. The questions she hopes to explore in greater depth are:
- How do demographics, insurance or lack thereof, and access to care impact health outcomes?
- How do hospitals respond to changing payment structures?
- How do hospitals and insurance companies negotiate rates?
Amanda’s curiosity about economic issues related to health care is shared by her husband, James Bland, a tenure-track professor at the University of Toledo. Amanda says that the most enjoyable aspect of her job is being able to ask and answer interesting and important questions, and she is fortunate to be able to share the exploration of those questions with her husband. They are currently working on a paper that examines hospital-insurer bargaining power and negotiated rates. In addition to sharing an interest in health economics issues, they are also share an interest in pedagogy. They recently submitted an article to the Journal of Economic Education about the differing responses to classroom feedback of male and female students.
Amanda and James share a home in Monclova with their two children, six-year-old Ardian and two-year-old Jamie, where they enjoy hiking and spending time in the outdoors. Amanda also enjoys running, biking, and swimming.
The faculty and students at Bowling Green State University are fortunate that Amanda’s career path has led her here to BGSU, where we hope she will spend many productive and enjoyable years.