By Abby Weingarten
Tate Twinam’s experience as a New College student from 2006 to 2010 shaped him as a scholar and educator—so much so that he has made a commitment to giving regularly to his undergraduate alma mater. He knows that his donations to the College will help the next generation of Novo Collegians thrive.
“I think my experience at New College had an enormous impact on me,” said Twinam, who earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and mathematics, and went on to earn both a master’s and doctorate degree in economics from the University of Pittsburgh. “I benefited greatly from the small classes and very personal mentoring at New College.”
Twinam is currently an assistant professor in the Economics Department at the College of William & Mary (W&M) in Williamsburg, Virginia. His research focuses on urban and regional economics, economic history and econometric methodology.
He was a recipient of the W&M Summer Research Award, the Regional Science Association International Best Dissertation Award and the North American Regional Science Council Graduate Student Paper Award. Twinam was also a Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Scholar and an Andrew Mellon Predoctoral Fellow.
He has published multiple papers in renowned journals, including Land Use and the Geography of Neighborhood Crime, and Zoning and the Economic Geography of Cities, in the Journal of Urban Economics. He is also in the process of writing about minority representation in local government, land use regulation and individual welfare, and public transit access and utilization across United States cities.
And it was the New College faculty that helped Twinam pursue his academic interests. Professors Catherine Elliott, Pat McDonald, Eirini Poimenidou, Tarron Khemraj and David Mullins were “extraordinarily generous with their time,” he said.
“I learned a lot from them,” Twinam said. “I’ve tried to bring that experience to my students—spending lots of extra time outside of class hosting office hours, discussion sessions, and just generally trying to cultivate an environment where students feel comfortable engaging with me and each other.”
Elliott was an especially important influence on Twinam, advising him as he completed a thesis entitled Informational Efficiency of Decision Markets with Risk-Averse Insiders and Uncertain Manipulation.
“Dr. Elliott always tried to push us to our limits but was also endlessly supportive, kind and funny. She inspired me to became an economist,” Twinam said. “In an amusing twist of fate, I now occupy the same position she did at William & Mary before she joined the faculty at New College—teaching the same class I took with her my first semester.”
Having had the benefit of learning and teaching at a number of institutions, Twinam continues to appreciate how New College is “doing something genuinely different and special,” he said. The tutorial option at New College allowed Twinam to expand his studies in a way that would be difficult to replicate elsewhere. He also felt that the narrative evaluation system was far more effective pedagogically, as it encouraged students to focus on what they set out to master and the relationships they hoped to build.
“This is really what motivates me to give back—so many people there went above and beyond for me, and I would like to see future generations of students enjoy the same experience I did,” Twinam said. “I also know that funding for things like student research and travel is always limited, and that getting those opportunities can make a big difference. So I’m always happy to support that in any way I can.”
To read all of the Nimbus Fall 2020 issue, visit issuu.com/newcol/docs/nimbus87-fall-web
Abby Weingarten is the senior editor in the Office of Communications & Marketing.