Duke Economics is excited to welcome new assistant professor Laura Castillo-Martinez to the department. Castillo-Martinez is originally from Murcia, Spain. Growing up, her parents' jobs took them around Europe, so Castillo-Martinez knew they would support her looking for school and work opportunities internationally. She completed her Ph.D. at the London School of Economics, where she discovered her love of teaching. “At LSE you have a teaching load every year,” Castillo-Martinez said, “At first it was very demanding for me, but found I really enjoyed it.” Because of that, she’s looking forward to teaching Ph.D. students during spring semester.
For the past year, Castillo-Martinez has been working as an IES (International Economics Section) Fellow at Princeton University. “The program is very established, so it’s a great way to transition from being a student to being faculty,” she said. She enjoyed being able to work with other fellows and adjust to a life outside of being a student, while still taking on more “faculty” duties.
Castillo-Martinez’s research interests lie in international macroeconomics and monetary economics. They were shaped by what was happening on an international scale with the recession of 2008. “I had just started college in ’08, and when Lehman Brothers collapsed, I decided I wanted to study economics.” She’s also interested in the effects of the European sovereign debt crisis, as she was ten years old when Spain switched from the peseta to the Euro. “I like to look at questions about how exchange rates move, how inflation moves. How does it affect money and international trade across borders?” Castillo-Martinez hopes to expand her research more while at Duke. “I’m looking forward to interacting with people in different groups, and I know I can benefit a lot by learning and bringing some of their methods or ideas into my own research.”
Castillo-Martinez joins Duke Econ at an unprecedented time. Like most, she’s currently working from home and connecting with new colleagues remotely. “It’s a hard time to come to a new department, but everyone has been very welcoming. People have been sending me emails and given me a lot of opportunities to get involved with the department in different ways,” she said. She is already joining the macro seminar and participating in Zoom happy hours when she can. She’s also looking forward to the day when she can come to campus and explore Durham. “When I interviewed with the department, it seemed like everyone was very friendly and collegial,” Castillo-Martinez said. “I got a great impression, and I’m excited to get to know people in person.”