Norma Padrón

2008: M.A. Economics

Current Employer: Thomas Jefferson University College of Population Health & Main Line Health Center for Population Research — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Why did you decide to get a master's degree in economics from Duke?

"Once I realized I wanted to pursue graduate school in economics, it became clear that I needed more math. So, deciding to purue the master's was a way for me to train in higher-level math and statistics and a good transition to make sure a Ph.D. was really for me. I had the chance to be an American Economics Association Minority Summer Program fellow in the summer of 2006. At the time, the program was hosted at Duke. I got a chance to meet some of the faculty in the economics department at Duke, and I felt really welcomed from the beginning. I think it was an excellent choice for me and what my goals were at the time."

What advice would you give to current Duke Economics master's students?

"It's really impossible to predict exactly what your future tastes will be! Hindsight is always 20/20, but the best you can do is to make the best decisions with the information you have. I'd recommend using some of your time at Duke to get yourself out of your comfort zone and attend classes you may not be too interested in yet. Try courses at the Law School or Fuqua Business School. Focus on math as well as applications; posit a few questions that you think need to be answered in the next five, 10, and 20 years. Then ask yourself which ones you'll take on."