Billy Foster, PhD

Billy Foster

Clinical Assistant Professor of Economics at

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Quotations

Adam Smith long ago taught us the difference between being pro-business and pro-free-market. Pro-business or corporatism means easy money, protection from competition, and bailouts at taxpayer expense. Pro-free-market means businesses are on their own in a competitive environment trying to serve consumers. We need to reject corporatism and embrace the free market. — Sheldon Richman, The Most Dangerous Derivative (2011)

When I graduated high school, I was certain that I would become a high school physics teacher. I had a passion for math, and physics granted me the first opportunity to apply it to the real world.  After two years at the University of Illinois, I learned that my life’s work would not be in physics.

I left school and headed home to Chicago. I spent my nights immersed in the local band scene trying desperately to succeed as a musician. The  first job I accepted to pay for my music habit was as a data analyst. Nearly immediately I realized that there had to be a better way to utilize data, but had a very poor understanding of advanced statistics. This would change. I was unfulfilled at my job and my music stardom dreams had been quashed. I learned that my life’s work would not be in music.

I decided to return to school at Northeastern Illinois University. Economics found me immediately and I fell in love. I had discovered the lens through which I would examine the world. I decided to pursue graduate school. After my undergraduate degree, I entered the PhD program at George Mason University. My years there were amazing. I had gone to study Public Choice and Law and Economics, but found so much more.

After finishing course work there and earning a masters degree I came back home to continue my studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I could not get enough of my studies and took every teaching opportunity I could find. The last few years have been so rewarding that part of me–a very small part of me–was sad to see graduate school end.

It did end, however, and I was awarded my PhD in August of 2014. I am currently teaching full time at Arizona State University. It has been a long journey, but a fun one. I have found a home that embraces my love for inspirational teaching, desire for interesting research, and appreciation for academic community.