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Abigail R. Banan’s journey towards academia began during her MBA program when she realized that teaching was her true calling. Her positive experiences as a teaching assistant in high school and undergraduate programs reinforced this passion, leading her to pursue a PhD in economics to deepen her knowledge and expertise in the field. Banan is a PhD candidate in economics at the Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, where she is dedicating her research to the field of public economics with a specific focus on crime, risky behavior and early childhood development. Now, she aspires to become a professor and impart her knowledge to future generations of students.

Abigail Banan
"I really didn't realize until graduate school just how many things you can study with economics."

"I research crime-related topics like childhood development type because it's a very fascinating field," said Banan. She is captivated by her field of study due to its dynamic nature. The field of economics attracts her with its diverse possibilities that lead subspecialties that cover a wide range of topics. “I really didn't realize until graduate school just how many things you can study with economics," said Banan.

Growing up in Indiana, she feels a special connection to Purdue, praising the university's PhD program. “I think that an underrated part of Purdue's economics program is that the faculty foster a collaborative environment rather than a competitive environment. My classmates and I are friends and help each other because of the atmosphere the econ department has created. I'm really grateful for that because grad school can be very stressful, so it's nice having people to lean on, when need be," said Banan.

Under the guidance of faculty members who have earned her esteem, Banan has been able to conduct research studies and author papers. Working alongside her professors and co-chairs has been instrumental in her growth as a researcher. Professor Jillian Carr and Banan worked together on a paper that focuses on teacher strikes that occurred in Chicago in 2012 and 2019. Their study seeks to analyze not only the influence of these strikes on crime rates but also on the behavior of teenagers who were unable to attend school during this time. This research project is a joint effort with other Purdue graduates who are working collaboratively to investigate the impacts of these strikes on the community.

“Jillian Carr and Miguel Sarzosa have impacted my experience here at Purdue the most. They have exposed me to a wide variety of research possibilities. They have been super supportive and encouraging throughout my time working with them, and I am very grateful for all they have taught me," added Banan.

In addition to the teacher strikes research paper, Banan has also completed a solo project on post-release supervision for her job market paper. Banan presented her research progress on post-release supervision at the APPAM conference, which was sponsored by the Daniels School of Business. The opportunity allowed her to network with other criminal justice researchers and scholars and gain valuable insights.

In addition to being a PhD candidate in the field of economics, Banan also serves as the Vice President of Teaching for the Doctoral Student Association. Her leadership role in the association demonstrates her commitment to promoting and improving education.