Texas Tech University

Following Their Journeys

This page is dedicated to highlight early career accomplishments of Ph.D. alumni of the Department of Economics. For a complete list of Ph.D. job placements click here.


Ryan Blake Williams

Ryan Blake Williams, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Economics & Public Policy and Assistant Dean

School of Veterinary Medicine, Texas Tech University

Graduated in 2009 with a doctorate in Economics

I earned my doctorate from the Department of Economics at Texas Tech University after completing most of my graduate coursework at North Carolina State University. As a student, my primary research interest was non-market valuation and groundwater resources. While pursuing a research career was my primary objective, I look back fondly on the weekly workshops offered by the department for those of us engaged in teaching. I learned many skills from the other students and faculty mentors that I have carried with me throughout my career. 

Upon graduation I was employed as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Texas Tech University. I appreciated the opportunity to continue working with the faculty that had supported me through my dissertation and having continued interactions with the same great undergraduate and graduate students I had the privilege to know. In 2011 I began as Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics, began a joint appointment with Texas A&M AgriLife Research in 2015, and moved to Amarillo to my current position in 2020. 

I am an applied microeconomist and view myself as a generalist with depth in the areas of the environment and natural resources, production, energy, consumer behavior, and applied econometrics. 

I owe a debt of gratitude to the department for the opportunities provided me, particularly as an instructor, while a graduate student. Being named one of the university's Integrated Scholars in 2019 is a direct reflection of the guidance I was provided in becoming an effective instructor of economics. Wreck ‘Em, Tech!




Usamah F. Alfarhan, Ph.D. 

Assistant Professor of Economics

Haile College of Business, Northern Kentucky University

Graduated in 2010 with a doctorate in Economics

My journey in Academia started at the Department of Economics at TTU in 2005. Arriving with little savings and no funding, as I did not apply for funding, the realization of being in financial trouble was rather quick. That was a good thing, however, because it gave me an early experience of how caring the department is, as I was exceptionally granted a Teaching Assistantship from day one and a Graduate Part-time Instructor position the following year.

Along with rigorous theoretical and empirical education, we received crucial practical training in teaching through weekly workshops and in-class instruction, directly supervised by the Director of Graduate Studies at the time, Dr. Rashid Al-Hmoud. I graduated as an applied microeconomist, writing a dissertation on “wage discrimination and earnings inequality in Germany”.  My dissertation was nominated to the Outstanding Dissertation Award in 2010.

After graduation, I briefly worked as an economic consultant for a USAID-funded fiscal reform program in Jordan, before accepting a teaching position at Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, where I was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor. My current research discusses applied queries in tourism and labor economics, with focus on tourism consumption behavior, tourism market structures and pricing and earnings structures of migrant labor. These works are citable in well-regarded journals such as Current Issues in Tourism, Tourism Economics, International Journal of Consumer Studies, Economic Modeling and International Journal of Manpower, among others.

Over the years, the Department of Economics remained in close contact with its alumni, enhancing our pride as Red Raiders! Currently, I teach and carry out research at the Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance of Haile College Business, Northern Kentucky University. For further details and outreach, visit www.ualfarhan.com.



Khaled Bassam Al-Hmoud, Ph.D.

Senior Country Economist

The World Bank

Graduated in 2002 with a doctorate in Economics

As I look back into the years since my graduation in 2002, I am filled with immense pride, fondness, and gratitude to my alma mater, the Department of Economics at Texas Tech University, for the opportunity it granted me to start and accelerate in my career. Without the generosity and unlimited support of the Department, and most importantly, in believing in me, I would have probably never made it to the finish line, nor would I have succeeded in the different roles I assumed throughout my journey. It is for these reasons, and more, I will choose the Department of Economics at Texas Tech again and again if I can turn back time.

Since graduation, I moved away from academia and pursued a career in economic policy and developmental issues. However, the knowledge, skills, and research capabilities that I acquired during graduate school years became valuable tools in every position I filled—whether at the Royal Hashemite Court as an advisor on economic issues, or the Office of the Prime Minister of Jordan, or at International Organizations, such as the USAID, IMF, or currently as Senior Country Economist at the World Bank. After 20+ years since graduation, and every time I face a challenging and complex economic situation at work (and they are many), I remember the words of wisdom of my dissertation advisor (Dr. Robert McComb) after I successfully defended my dissertation: “Khaled, we did not only teach you economics… we taught you how to learn and attain knowledge”! It is these exact words that continue to be my drive and inspiration for further accomplishments and adventures.  That's the kind of thorough attention and devotion that graduate students received from their advisors in the Economics graduate program at Texas Tech.  I suspect that they still do.    

Email: mailto:kalhmoud@worldbank.org




Hassan Butt, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Financial Economics

Missouri Southern State University

Graduated with a doctorate in Economics in May of 2019

I completed my Ph.D. in Economics from the Department of Economics at Texas Tech University (TTU) in May 2019. Right after my graduation, I worked at Methodist University, Fayetteville, NC as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Financial Economics. Since August 2020, I am working at Plaster School of College, Missouri Southern State University, Joplin, MO as a Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Financial Economics. Well, all of this would not be possible without my education and extensive in-class training at the Department of Economics at TTU. The most important aspect of my tenure at Texas Tech was working as Teaching Assistant with University Professors and teaching many classes for 2-years as Graduate Instructor. Employers in the academic job market desire candidates with extensive in-class teaching experience and no other institute can bestow that experience to a graduate student better than the Department of Economics at TTU. Due to my experiences at Texas Tech Economics Department, it was easy to get the first placement, and the research agenda that I started here paved the way for my current placement. To this day, I am benefitting from the teaching experience I acquired here, and I still carry the research agenda that I started at the Department of Economics at TTU.  I firmly believe my professional achievements would not be possible without my extensive in-class training, freedom to select fields of specialization, and unconditional support of the faculty members at the Department of Economics at TTU.  For a future Ph.D. aspirant, the Department of Economics at Texas Tech has all the tools to teach, graduate on time, and find the initial placement on time. Texas Tech campus is the most vibrant and lively place due to the diversity among the student body and the memorable experiences it offers throughout the academic year. I will not select another institute of higher education if I must do it all over. Currently, at Missouri Southern, I teach Economics and Finance courses and my research interests are Financial Econometrics, Risk & Volatility Management along with Market Efficiency & Microstructure. To get in touch and acquire more information please check my personal webpage: sites.google.com/site/hasananjumbutt 




Lanlan (Lacey) Chu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Economics

St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN

Graduated with a doctorate in Economics in 2017

I started off my first year at TTU in 2011. It has been a great experience being a "Red Raider" studying and living in Lubbock. My first semester was challenging as it was my first time being abroad and learning while being a teaching assistant. However, the professors and staff were very supportive and cared about us. And the department has a diverse and inclusive environment, which encourages us to share and support. I always miss our annual lunch event together in the department library, chatting and laughing like a big "family".

While a Ph.D. student, my primary research interests were industrial organization and applied microeconomics focusing on gasoline and vehicle markets. My dissertation was titled "Essays on Gasoline Demand, Gasoline Taxes and Consumer Behavior", which was primarily mentored by Dr. Michael Noel. After graduation in May 2017, I joined the School of Business at Buena Vista University as an assistant professor of economics in August. My family moved with me to Iowa, and we lived there until July 2020. Since then, I have been an Assistant Professor of Economics at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN. My current research interests are primarily in health economics and industrial organization, focusing on aging, health, and gender. I enjoy teaching and doing research with my student scholars. The teaching experiences at TTU were beneficial and provided me necessary tools for my academic career. I appreciated the opportunities to teach introductory and upper-level economics courses in the department. The comments and feedback from the professors, peers, and students from diverse backgrounds were constructive too. I usually read each student's comment carefully at the end of each semester, which motivated me to constantly enhance my teaching skills and achieve better student outcomes semester by semester. These experiences as a graduate part-time instructor gave me the confidence and skills to teach a class during a campus visit in the job market and stand in the classroom as a faculty.  

Email: lchu907@stkate.edu




Vance Ginn

Vance Ginn, Ph.D.

Chief Economist

Texas Public Policy Foundation

Graduated with a doctorate in Economics in 2013 

I happily earned my doctorate in economics from the Department of Economics at Texas Tech University in 2013. My time as a teaching assistant there, which I taught multiple classes each semester, was some of my greatest learning experiences besides my classwork and dissertation. The department was always there to provide me with the tools needed to succeed, including academically, professionally, and personally.

I have many fond memories of working with one of my dissertation advisors and personal mentor, Dr. Ronald Gilbert, who taught me much about life and economics. My research started with working with Dr. Gilbert on learning how markets work with the relationship between oil and gasoline prices. This helped me use my fields of monetary theory, international trade, and labor economics to add contributions to those fields over time and publish in multiple academic journals.

But after graduating and teaching at Sam Houston State University for a couple of years, I took a different direction by getting into public policy as I wanted to do research on topics that can be influential and work to make them happen today. This brought me to my first job at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, which is a free market think tank in Austin, Texas, in 2013, where I currently work as the Chief Economist. I've worked on many policies to help let people prosper. From 2019 to 2020, I worked as the Associate Director for Economic Policy of the Office of Management and Budget at the Executive Office of the President. These experiences have helped me learn much about economics that I had been taught while in the department of Texas Tech University.

The desire to see me succeed by those in the Department of Economics like Dr. Gilbert and Dr. Rashid Al-Hmoud made my story of being a first-generation college graduate a success. And I am continuing to build on those lessons today as there is much more in the world that must be evaluated from an economic lens to find the best ways to let people prosper. You can find out more about me at www.vanceginn.com and about my economic lens at www.vanceginn.substack.com.

Website: www.vanceginn.com

Newsletter: www.vanceginn.substack.com

Work: www.texaspolicy.com




Syed Muhammad Ishraque Osman, Ph.d.

Associate Professor

Long Island University-Post Campus, New York

Graduated with a doctorate in Economics in 2018

For my MS degree, I attended Barcelona School of Economics (BSE), a top-ranked economics department. If my memory serves me correctly, BSE had at least 10 Nobel Laureates on its scientific council at the time. Going to that school inspired me to pursue a PhD at a top-ranked US university. I applied to top-ranked economics departments and a couple of good schools for my PhD, and Texas Tech (TTU/Tech) was one of them. I received only partial funding from one of the top-ranked schools and full funding from TTU. To be honest, I wasn't thrilled with my options, but little did I know that selecting TTU would turn out to be one of the best decisions of my career. I felt at ease at Tech from the first day, from my first courtesy visit to Dr. Al-Hmoud's office. Not only that, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how hands-on and enthusiastic faculty members are when it comes to teaching a highly technical graduate level topic. Later, I discovered that I was often better trained as an economist than many of my peers at "top" schools, and one of the main reasons was the hands-on teaching style of faculty members at TTU's econ department, even at the PhD level. This teaching style, believe me, made a huge difference going forward. With the help of that training, I was able to land two economics internships that led to a full-time offer as an economist at Amazon, one of the top (if not the top!) tech companies in the United States. During my first few years, I was equally interested in monetary economics and labor economics, and it wasn't until I passed the qualifying exam that I decided on labor economics. To be more specific, I was trying to understand the relationship between immigration and crime. The econometrics and coding training I received while conducting this research prepared me well for internships at tech companies. Later on, the breadth and depth of my research expanded to include a more machine learning-based approach to causal research questions. I entered academia as an Associate Professor in the data analytics program at Long Island University in New York. Applied Machine Learning, Causal Inference and Machine Learning, and Business Data Science are my current research interests. I enjoy teaching, and my students seem to enjoy my “fire-side chat” style teaching as well. Again, TTU prepared me in such a way that I had an advantage when competing for a faculty position in the job market. Very early in the PhD program, econ department commendably allows graduate students to teach a full class as an instructor. TTU econ graduates have nearly three years of teaching experience in their wheel house by the time they go in the job market. To recruiting universities, a freshly minted PhD with that many years of teaching experience can be a deal

breaker. Also, I like living in Lubbock for its simple living and great study cafes! Lubbock is a hidden gem with a plethora of amenities, and believe me, the town grows on you. TTU will always be home and from here it's possible.




Travis Roach, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Department Chair

University of Central Oklahoma

Graduated with a doctorate in Economics in 2015

Travis Roach received his PhD from Texas Tech University in 2015 and is currently an Associate Professor of Economics and chair of the Department of Economics at the University of Central Oklahoma. His research focuses on policy problems that span the fields of environmental economics, labor economics, and industrial organization with specific applications in environmental and energy economics settings. His energy and environmental research has focused on carbon dioxide emissions from energy use, labor market impacts of carbon dioxide mitigation legislation, alternative energy sources including wind and biofuels, climate change impacts on learning, and negative and positive externalities from oil and gas production. His research has been featured in newspapers locally and around the world including the Sydney Morning Herald of Australia, and The Tyee of British Columbia, Canada. Roach also actively leads workshops in the field of economic education, innovative pedagogy, and student engagement. These workshops have taken place at national conferences, Oklahoma and Texas K-12 Teachers' conferences, and even in Ningbo China

One of the main reasons I chose the PhD program at Texas Tech University is that I would have the chance to teach a class early in my graduate career and develop as an educator. Through this experience I was able to hone my skills and become more experienced as an educator before even stepping on campus at the University of Central Oklahoma where I now teach. This early opportunity has proven invaluable time and again for me, and I am so happy to have gotten a head start in the classroom while at TTU.
Another benefit of the program was the ability to work and collaborate with faculty on research. "These collaborations helped me develop as a researcher while I was at TTU, and have even continued on to today -- with projects spanning from the labor market impacts of new drilling, to unintended effects of cap-and-trade policies, to risk aversion when changing prices in highly competitive environments.



Brian Starr

Brian Starr, Ph.D.

Executive Vice President

Lubbock Christian University

Graduated with a doctorate in Economics in 2009

I began my Ph.D. studies later in life than most students.  At the age of 36, after spending the first part of my career in retirement plan consulting, I wanted to re-engage in university life. Texas Tech University allowed me to do so.   

Doctoral studies are qualitatively different than preliminary collegiate work.  You find yourself surrounded by a cohort of great minds, and being taught by even greater ones, in a small setting in which robust conversation can occur.  I was deeply engaged and challenged from my first course to the last.  At once enthralled and intimidated by the formidable intellect of Dr. Klaus Becker, I took every course of his I could.  And I am most deeply indebted to the brilliant teacher and gregarious scholar, Dr. Terry von Ende, who skillfully oversaw my dissertation research.  Fusing my economics training with the human capital acquired in the first part of my career, I wrote on retirement savings behaviors.  One article from my three essays appeared in Financial Services Review and another article borrowing from my dissertation research is currently under review.  

I have been at Lubbock Christian University since graduation.  A four-year administrative stint as Executive Vice President turned into twelve, but I am slowly reentering the academic side of the house in the School of Business, where I am currently teaching various Microeconomics and Finance courses and researching the effects of altruistic behavior on future income. 





Wan-Shin (Cindy) Mo, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Finance

Chung Yuan Christian University

Graduated with a doctorate in Economics in December 2009

Many people describe Lubbock, TX as a place in the middle of nowhere. However, I knew friends who have always lifted me up when I was feeling down, listened to my nonsense, and were willing to help me. As for Texas Tech University, I was impressed by the campus. The campus is so big that I got lost on the first day. But, the better I got to know this campus, the more I liked it there. With regard to the department, I found myself blessed to know all faculty members, Rosie, and Staci. The economic doctoral program equipped me well, so I became a disciplined student. I remember that one day I was staying at the computer lab overnight in order to finish the final project of time-series course. When I turned in the final report next morning, I had a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. Moreover, while I was studying at Tech, I was not just a graduate student but instead got the chance to teach both principles of microeconomics and principles of macroeconomics. I enjoyed every much teaching and interacting with my students. 

My research interests while a Ph.D. student were in time-series, international finance, and macroeconomics. My Ph.D. dissertation addresses the impacts of exchange rates volatility on U.S. 18 manufacturing industries' wages and employment with a time-series approach. Upon receiving my Ph.D., I was thrilled to receive a job offer from the Department of Finance at Chung Yuan Christian University (CYCU), which I accepted. I was an assistant professor in the beginning and then was promoted to associate professor after seven years of service. At CYCU, I have had opportunities to teach courses of statistics, money and banking, international finance, and global industrial analysis. 

The majority of my current research is in the fields of international finance and macroeconomics. I have authored papers by using time-series models myself and co-authored other papers with my research partners. These papers study issues of systemic risks of Taiwan's banks, spillovers of China's financial markets, exchange rate spillovers and carry trade, term structure and forward premium anomaly of exchange rates.  

Feel free to reach out to me at cmo@cycu.edu.tw.  I wish you all good luck!