Economics Professor Honored for Technology Use

Nov. 10, 2017

Diego Mendez-Carbajo
Illinois Wesleyan University Professor of Economics Diego Mendez-Carbajo has been honored for his innovative use of technology to improve economic education.

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Illinois Wesleyan University Professor of Economics Diego Mendez-Carbajo is the recipient of the 2017 Abbejean Kehler Technology Award, honoring his innovative use of technology to improve economic education.

Presented by the Council for Economic Education (CEE) and the National Association of Economic Educators (NAEE), Mendez-Carbajo was recognized for introducing several innovations to online economic education while serving as a visiting scholar with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. He was presented the awarded at the CEE-NAEE 56th Annual Financial Literacy & Economics Education Conference in Brooklyn, New York, last month.

“It was a great professional honor to be recognized by my peers in the field of economic education,” Mendez-Carbajo said. “The opportunity to join a multidisciplinary group of experts at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis during by sabbatical leave offered me a unique perspective on teaching economics. The work at the Federal Reserve Bank is truly collaborative, proving that the whole can be larger than the sum of the parts.”

While at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Mendez-Carbajo conducted research on the effectiveness of online learning modules and online assessment strategies and broke new ground with his idea for Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) interactives, which are self-paced online modules that make full use of the FRED database and web interface.

“The online resources we developed are free and open to the public,” Mendez-Carbajo said. “We look forward to seeing new generations of college students make use of them and build data-analysis skills. I am grateful to my colleagues at IWU for accommodating my semester-long leave from teaching.”

Mendez-Carbajo – whose research is focused in the area of applied economics – regularly mentors Illinois Wesleyan undergraduate student research focused on real-world, local data. Some previous projects include: The economic impact of local arts and culture organizations, an economic impact analysis of tourism associated with a new local visitors center, and the economic impact of local foreclosures.

By John Twork