Special Spotlight Insert
finds personal riches in career change
Janie Chermak decided upon a career change, it led her to find
riches combining her training in geology and economics. It gave
her an enjoyable and rewarding balance combining time in the
field as a researcher and in the office.
started out as a uranium geologist and switched over to oil
and gas, said Chermak, associate professor, economics.
was always out in the field. So I switched to oil and gas and
found that after a few years, I was never in the field and always
in the office and neither one of those was very good.
accounting procedures that went on in some of the businesses
Chermak had worked for inspired her to get more economics and
business training. That, coupled with the oil and gas bust in
the 1980s, made it desirable for her to switch careers.
started taking a little bit of economics and found I really
liked it and that I could combine economics with my geologic
training so I could do a lot of interdisciplinary work,
received a Ph.D. in mineral economics at the Colorado School
of Mines (CSM) in 1991. She also received her masters
in mineral economics at CSM (1988) and bachelors in geology
from Western State College in Gunnison, Colo., in 1979.
herself as a natural resource economist with a strong
interest in combining economic models with physical science
have some nice research projects going on, Chermak said.
There are several of us involved with a research project
the National Science Foundation is funding through the University
of Arizona and the Science and Technology Center, which is an
interdisciplinary center that combines the physical sciences
of groundwater, surface water, snow morphology and the social
sciences of economics to try and come up with models that really
allows us to assess policy.
name is SAHRA or Sustainability of Semi-arid Hydrology
and Riparian Areas. It began in 1998 for five years with
a possible renewal for an additional five years.
a way, I dont know if I can really classify my research
as work. Its also one of those things I do as an
not busy figuring out ways to preserve our natural resources,
Chermak enjoys reading, gardening, and is currently in the process
of revamping her front and back yards with xeriscape. When time
permits, she travels. Shes also an avid runner who typically
gets up early in the morning and jogs five times a week near
her westside home.
run as a hobby and thats a keep myself sane type of activity,
she said. The westside is a gorgeous place to run. Theres
some open space and if you really start looking theres
just an amazing number of petroglyphs on my running trails.
used to run competitively, but since moving to New Mexico eight
years ago from Monterey, Calif., she has not found the time.
need to get back into it though, she added. I used
to run marathons and 10Ks. I also used to do team triathlons
and things like that.
is a terrible thing as an economist. We are always teaching
people to do anything that will optimally have marginal benefit
being equal across their activities. Im not sure I do
that. I tend to work an awful lot and I tend to enjoy my research."