Economics Alumni

 

Jonathan Casselberry ’12

 

Current occupation

Movement Capture Analyst, Phillips 66.

 

Current residence

Houston, TX

 

Give us a picture of an ordinary workday for you

Phillips 66 is one of the largest independent Refining and Marketing companies in the United States. With throughput of over 2.8 Million Barrels per day and 16 different refineries all over the world, they have a significant commodity trading organization ("Commercial") in order to ensure that assets are used and commodities are bought and sold in the most profitable way for the company. My position is the first line of communication between our Commercial/Trading organization and our finance/accounting organization. I work to ensure that there are no discrepancies between the positions we are taking on the market and how we are tracking them in our financial system, working in between a variety of systems that our company uses.

 

What makes you excited to go to work every day?

I particularly enjoy the exposure I get to both finance and trading in my current role. As I consider what my future career possibilities are, this is a wonderful position to find out what other career paths would look like for me, whether it be pursuing a career within finance or trying to make a switch to trading support/analysis role in the future. I also enjoy the incredible diversity within the energy industry: you get to meet people from all over the world. It is wonderful to see how God blesses each person with different experiences that uniquely equip them to reflect his image in the workplace.

 

 


 

Maria Rivera Forman
Maria Rivera Forman ’14

 

Current occupation

Spanish and Economics Instructor, Concordia Prep School, Towson, MD. In the evenings, I am also teaching dance part time through Towson Rec Council.

 

Current residence

Baltimore, MD

 

Church

Aisquith Presbyterian Church

 

What were you involved in on-campus while at Covenant?

I was blessed to be selected as Baltimore's first Wilberforce Scholar, so I had the opportunity to establish meaningful friendships with other scholars and faculty mentors. We learned as we served others in the Chattanooga community.
I enjoyed my roles in Carter council. I loved getting to know others while working with council members to plan fun diversions and special events for fellow residents. I loved the many traditions at Covenant. I'll never forget the thrill of competing in the Highland Games or decorating the hall in preparation for Carter Christmas.

 

What has your career path looked like since leaving Covenant?

After graduating, I began a health advocacy internship with the Hemophilia Federation of America in Washington DC. In August I began looking for jobs in the Baltimore area. The Lord opened a door for me to teach middle and high school students at Concordia Prep (formerly called Baltimore Lutheran).

 

What is your favorite part of your job? What gets you excited to go to work every day?

I love teaching in a Christian school because I can encourage children to consider our subject from a Christian worldview. We have the freedom to talk about our faith in class, much like at Covenant. Another thing I love about teaching is that every day presents new challenges. No day is the same when working with students—especially middle schoolers. Dynamics in a classroom change as quickly as the weather. This makes each day new and exciting.

 

How did Covenant prepare you as a person and how did it prepare you for your career?

I was one of a handful of women majoring in economics. My professors stretched me personally and intellectually. I learned the importance of good stewardship and I try to teach this to my students. While developing a Christ-centered economics and entrepreneurship class for high school juniors and seniors, I routinely referred to discussions and resources from Covenant.

 

Tell us a little more about your church

I help out with the youth group and am leading a small group for middle school girls. Also, this October I had the opportunity to join a two-week mission trip to Southeast Asia. Providentially I had the chance to encourage and support a student who enrolled at Covenant in January. After spending four years at Covenant, it was great to be able to get reintegrated with my local church family in these ways.

 

 


 

Peter McCrory
Peter McCrory ’12

 

Current occupation

Full-time student! (In the coming years I will also work as a tutor for introductory economics courses and as a graduate student instructor leading lecture discussions and helping students understand the material).

 

Current residence

Oakland, California. (Our street name is Alcatraz, which is pretty cool).

 

Church

Christ Church in Berkeley

 

What has your career path looked like since leaving Covenant?

I worked for a year as an insurance underwriter at Unum in Chattanooga. My wife (Adrienne McCrory) and I moved to St. Louis the following year, where I worked as a research associate at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. After two years in St. Louis, we moved to Oakland, California in mid-July 2015. My wife is working as curriculum development writer and I am a first-year Ph.D. student in Economics at UC-Berkeley.

 

What is your favorite part of being a student? What gets you excited to go to UC-Berkeley every day?

I will spend the next two years of the Ph.D. sequence studying the essential methods economists employ to make sense of human and social behavior. I love learning and so, at the moment, my favorite part of the job is getting to spend hours in frustration trying to make sense of some new concept. I am excited to go to work every day because I know that the skills I am developing today will help me be a better researcher in the future.

 

How did Covenant prepare you as a person and how did it prepare you for your career?

My time at Covenant was profoundly formative. Courses were rigorous, professors were kind, and the community understood that the questions we wrestled with in the classroom were of utmost importance outside the classroom. Most importantly, however, was the call that I consistently heard at Covenant: love the poor, seek out the marginalized, pursue the welfare of the city. Jesus has graciously called us to participate in the work of reconciliation he is already doing.

 

Tell us a little more about your church?

I think they do a pretty good job describing themselves online: Christ Church

 

 


 

Kristin Owen
Kristin Owen ’13

 

Current occupation

Master's of Public Policy Candidate, the Frank Batten School for Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia.

 

Current residence

Charlottesville, VA

 

Church

Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, VA

 

What were you involved in on-campus while at Covenant?

I was president of the widows ministry, a core group member of RUF, and vice president of the economics club.

 

What has your career path looked like since leaving Covenant?

After I graduated from Covenant in 2013, I spent a year as a Trinity Fellow in Charlottesville, VA. The Fellows Initiative is composed of 21 programs all over the country and was absolutely the best place I could have spent my first year out of Covenant. My fellows year was an intense and practical time of spiritual and vocational leadership training. I took seminary classes, volunteered, was mentored, and worked part-time as a research intern for a community development consultant. I fell in love with Charlottesville, and decided to apply to the University of Virginia so I could stay here while I pursued my education. Thanks in part to a recommendation letter from Dr. Mask, I was accepted into a masters program at UVA.

 

What is your favorite part of your work?

Ever since my experience working as a research intern for the Chalmers Center in Togo, I’ve been very interested in quantitative research. I love the idea having a question and designing an airtight research project to attempt to answer it. With public policy, I’m building up a skill set that will help me do that better and also applying it to meaningful, real world problems. As a community development undergrad at Covenant, we joked a lot that our stereotype was that we were just a bunch of idealists who wanted to change the world. Well…I kind of am. And I know I’m not going to be able to solve all the world’s problems, but I’m sure going to give it my best shot and maybe do some good. And I believe God is using this public policy education to help me get there.

 

How did Covenant prepare you as a person and how did it prepare you for your career?

I cannot even begin to describe how instrumental Covenant and my majors were in my life and career aspirations. There is no way I would be at UVA without my incredible professors who challenged me, invested in me, believed in me, and mentored me. I came into this difficult master’s program very well prepared and with a competitive résumé thanks to the experiences I had at Covenant.

 

Tell us a little more about your church

I am very involved in my church. Moving to a new city, plugging into my church was one of my highest priorities. I lead a small group of middle school girls, babysit for families, meet with a mentor, and meet with my amazing pastors when I can squeeze into their busy schedules. The most meaningful involvement in my church is just actively being a part of the community and working to welcome others into it.

 

 


 

Zach Robbins
Zach Robbins ’11

 

Current occupation

I’m now a digital strategist at Viget focusing on four areas: (1) strategic consulting for clients, helping them define business goal and objectives and how to practically achieve those through online mediums (campaigns, applications, advertising, products, messaging, etc.); (2) new business development—evaluating, selecting, nurturing, and winning inbound requests for work within our capabilities; (3) account management, focusing on developing and caring for existing client relationships and overseeing the success of projects; and (4) creative direction and production of photography and videos to support any existing project or client work. Past and current clients and accounts that I’ve worked on include ESPN, Dick’s Sporting Goods, PUMA, World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Duke University, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, Time Life, and Volunteers of America.

 

Current residence

Charlottesville, VA

 

Family members

Wife, Kathleen Teague Robbins

 

Church

Trinity Presbyterian Church

 

What were you involved in on-campus while at Covenant?

JV soccer, president of debate society, creative editor of Tartan (yearbook), president of economics club, business club, student representative to athletics committee.

 

What has your career path looked like since leaving Covenant?

I took an internship the summer in between my junior and senior year as a product manager intern at an interactive ad agency, Viget, outside of Washington, D.C. managing SpeakerRate, focused on managing product development, community management, and business development. I then pitched and successfully extended my internship through my senior year while I finished up at Covenant. In May 2011, I took a full-time offer as a marketing strategist at Viget and moved to Falls Church, VA, after graduation. I’ve worn many hats since starting full time, including conducting data and analytics work for clients, continuing to manage SpeakerRate, new business development for Viget, and working on the creative side with photo and video production for internal purposes and for clients. Including my internship, I’ve been at Viget now for 4.5 years, and haven’t looked elsewhere for employment, as I love my job, the people I work with, and the impact I make. I have since moved to Charlottesville, VA, and still work remotely for Viget, and commute back to DC two or three times a month.

 

What is your favorite part of your job? What gets you excited to go to work every day?

Every day I’m facing new challenges with new clients, in new industries, and helping them solve real-world relatable problems. We work on consumer facing products and advertising that is easy and exciting to share with family and friends. It’s fun to talk about what I do. I get to try new stuff almost daily, and I have the full support of my bosses to experiment and grow. I’ve traveled the country for photo shoots with professional athletes. And I work with smart, motivated, passionate, and kind people that I love collaborating with.

 

How did Covenant prepare you as a person and how did it prepare you for your career?

Covenant taught me the importance of strong Christian community as a means of support. We can’t do life alone, on our own devices, only driving towards our own individual goals. The hall system and on-campus activities at Covenant were instrumental in developing strong bonds with different groups of friends, which I still maintain to this day. I also got a clear picture of what community should look like, and have tried to build on that as I enter a more young adult professional season of life. For my career, Covenant (and my economics and business majors) taught me that deadlines are real and should always be respected, how to extract meaningful conclusions from data, how to ask good questions, how to listen well, how to write creatively and concisely, how to be analytical, and how to integrate my faith with an otherwise seemingly secular industry (advertising).

 

Tell us a little more about your church

I love my church family at Trinity. I have a solid group of church friends through the Trinity Fellow Program (I did not participate, but many of my friends are former fellows) that I normally attend with. I have previously volunteered with one of the church’s ministries, Jobs for Life, helping underemployed or unemployed people find meaningful, fulfilling jobs, and giving them the tools and skills to succeed in those jobs. I currently volunteer on the leadership team for our young adults community ministry, The Well. We seek to provide connections through the church body for 20’s and 30’s through monthly gatherings focused on learning and growing by hearing from wiser and experienced elders with varying backgrounds and stories, along with the development of new and existing church relationships to build Christian community.

 

Evan Weir '15 discusses the powerful influence of professors like Dr. Lance Wescher, associate professor of economics, who take the time to care for students both in, and outside of, the classroom.