Jen Smith is one of the most enthusiastic graduate students I have ever had the opportunity to teach. She approached her studies with great joy and was constantly looking for new and interesting ideas from conventional and unconventional sources. She certainly surprised me on more than one occassion with her source of ideas she wanted to explore. But upon examination the unusual source of her course of study would often lead her to intriguing points and suggestive directions of research.
Jen successfully defended her PhD thesis today (see picture on the left with Prof. Richard Wagner and Dr Frederic Sautet who were on her committee with me). Her work addresses the contrast between tribal orders and the extended order of modern society. In the process she tackles fundamental questions in anthropology through the lens of economics. Jen also suggests ways in which the economic analysis of development can be improved through addressing questions of the minimum values and norms that underpin the social order of a modern market economy. Congratulations to Jen.
Jen has recently accepted a job as a research analyst at the Center for European Policy Analysis in Washington, DC. This is a relatively new "think-tank" and Jen will be responsible for economic policy research. Good luck to Jen and others at CEPA in their important work on studying the future of Central Europe and the EU.