Meet graduate student Thomas Krumel

Thomas Krumel
Thomas Krumel

Thomas Krumel is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE). His current research examines the community impacts of immigrants employed in the meatpacking industry. He is also involved with UConn’s Leadership Learning Community, serving as an instructor to students in the program. Once he completes his degree, he’d like to continue teaching and conducting research. Here is what he said in an interview.

Where did you study as an undergraduate?

I graduated from Mount Union College (MUC) in Alliance, Ohio. I was in the last graduating class from good ole MUC. The College changed their name to the University of Mount Union the following year.

What was your major?

I majored in international studies with a concentration in international relations.

Why did you decide to go to graduate school?

I decided to get my masters in economics from the University of Akron after interning for a member of Congress during my senior year. I noticed no one on the staff had a degree in economics. While I was at Akron, I realized that I enjoyed research and teaching more than politics, so I decided to continue on to get my Ph.D. as well. I also have a masters in GIS [geographic information systems] from the University of Minnesota.

Who is your advisor?

My advisor is Nathan Fiala in ARE.

What is your field of research?

My research is in agricultural economics. During the last two years, I have focused my research on the community impacts of the meatpacking industry, specifically looking into the occurrence of native and white flight in communities because of immigration. I’ve been using my background in GIS to reduce the potential bias arising from spatial aggregation of this research.

I am also trying to get a couple of randomized control trials related to higher education outcomes off the ground to supplement my current research agenda.

Name one aspect of your work that you like.

My meatpacking research is based largely on a year I did as an AmeriCorps VISTA in South Sioux City, Nebraska. There was disagreement about what was occurring in the community and I undertook further research to analyze the impacts I observed using more advanced methods.

What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment so far?

Receiving an unconditional acceptance for my first peer-reviewed article a month before I started my doctoral studies. The paper had been under review with three journals over the course of two and a half years before we submitted it to Party Politics, where it was finally published. It was a frustrating journey, but the paper ended up in a top journal.

What do you hope to do once you get your degree?

It depends on the job market. I love teaching as much as I love research, so my ideal situation would be to work at a university with a research appointment. I have experience working for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, so doing government research is also something I could see myself doing for the rest of my life.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?

I am a graduate assistant in the Leadership Learning Community at UConn. Last year, two of my students in that program were recipients of Student Life Awards!

By Jason M. Sheldon