Carmen Lighthiser
Carmen Lighthiser

“Economics a good fit for everyone because you can apply any it to any interest.” —Carmen Lighthiser

With more than 70 majors to choose from at CSU, it’s no surprise that many students change their program of study at least once between the time they arrive and when they graduate.

Honors student Carmen Lighthiser originally came to CSU to study biochemistry. When that wasn’t a good fit, she instead found an interest in economics as a social science that combines math with critical thinking.

As she prepares to graduate, Carmen is finishing her capstone project in Associate Professor Anders Fremstad’s ECON 492 Seminar this spring, which focuses on comparative economic systems.

“Carmen not only reliably jumpstarts our class discussion, but she broadens and deepens other students’ learning by connecting class readings to outside theories and data in ways that enrich our conversations,” Fremstad said.

The economics major requires students to minor or double major in at least one other area of study, which is perfect for students like Carmen to explore diverse interests. Carmen added a minor in merchandising, which led to a management internship at Dillard’s combining data analysis with organizing and executing the annual children’s fashion show.

With a passion for sustainability, Carmen has been involved in the community as a Zero Waste Ambassador in her hometown of Louisville, CO, and she completed her Honors Thesis at CSU on environmental impacts of the fashion industry.

“I decided to do a creative topic, which was a different experience for me. I pursued my interest in fashion sustainability, upcycling my old clothes into three entire garments and researching the environmental impact of the fashion industry throughout the supply chain. I am not an experienced sewer, and I had never completed a project like this one before, so it was challenging but gratifying,” Carmen said.

When Carmen graduates this spring, she will move to Texas for a promotion to Assistant Buyer within Dillard’s.

In Her Own Words

What inspired you to pursue a degree in economics?

I was taking principles of microeconomics, and I really enjoyed the sociological aspect combined with math and critical thinking, so I changed [my major from biochemistry]. Part of my reasoning was the versatility in terms of careers, which I think makes economics a good fit for everyone because you can apply any interest to it.

What advice would you give future economics majors?

Definitely go to class, which is cliché, but it helps a lot more than you think. Also, take electives in other departments if you have the space. Some of my favorite classes were outside of my major, and it’s an opportunity to explore other interests before settling into a career.

What are your 3 “must-take” economics courses?

ECON 372: History of Economic Institutions and Thought, because I loved Dr. Bernasek and it was just an interesting class. Economics is a lot more than “the efficient allocation of resources,” and that is clear when you learn about the ideas of past economists.

ECON 442: International Finance and Policy, another interesting class in terms of the real-world application. My career path involves global sourcing, and so I enjoyed learning about how the economies of different countries interrelate and how current events impact these relationships.

ECON 240: Issues in Environmental Economics, due again to the content and application to my career. This class expanded my interest in sustainability and has had a long-term impact on how I think about the environment and our responsibility to it.

Get In Touch with Carmen