I am a tenured Economics professor at De Anza College in Cupertino, California and a Lecturer at San Jose State University, where I have been a finalist for the Outstanding Lecturer Award and winner of the College of Social Sciences Teaching Excellence Award (2018--19). I teach principles of macroeconomics, principles of microeconomics, economics of public issues, and intermediate microeconomics. I also taught Government/Economics and Advanced Placement Economics at Valley Christian High School in San Jose, California from 1998-2003 and again from 2006-2014. My previous experience also includes teaching principles of microeconomics and principles of macroeconomics at George Mason University.
I graduated from Santa Teresa High School located in San Jose, California in 1989. I then attended San Jose State University where I earned a B.A. in Economics (minor in Speech-Communications) in 1995 and an M.A. in Applied Economics in 1997. While at San Jose State University, I was a member of Theta Chi fraternity and the Speech and Debate Team. I also served in student government as Interfraternity Council President in 1993. I was also the recipient of the A.S. 55 Club award, which is a recognition of distinction for up to only 55 student leaders who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to San José State University. I am also the first recipient of the Department of Economics Rodolfo Gonzalez Award for Outstanding Alumni.
I originally wanted to go to law school and eventually become a JAG officer in the United States Marine Corps. I was accepted and I reported to USMC Officer Candidates School in Quantico, Virginia in June of 1993. However, I was medically discharged (injury) from OCS; moreover, I did not go to law school. Instead, I pursued the Master's degree in Economics. I eventually began teaching (1998) after receiving my Master's degree from San Jose State University.
In August of 2003, after five years of teaching concurrently at the high school, community college, and university levels, I decided to get my doctorate. In 2010, I earned a Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, where the faculty included Nobel Prize winners Dr. James Buchanan and Dr. Vernon Smith. I also had the honor of being the student of Dr. Walter E. Williams. My fields of study were Austrian economics and Public Choice economics. My dissertation committee included Dr. Donald Boudreaux (chairman) and Dr. Peter Boettke. Before my graduate studies at GMU, I formally studied Austrian economics at the Ludwig von Mises Institute summer programs at Auburn University (1996, 1998, and 2000) and at the New York University (NYU)/Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) Austrian Economics summer programs (1997 and 1999).
My father is Assyrian (from Iran) and my mother was from Ecuador. I was born in San Jose, California on August 23, 1971. I speak Assyrian and Spanish and I briefly studied Italian at San Jose State University.
I got married in 2013 to my beautiful wife. She is a public school elementary teacher. We have two girls.
I enjoy traveling and learning about other places and cultures. I have seen most of the United States from our major cities to the middle of nowhere, especially since I completed a cross-country drive from Washington D.C. to San Jose (going through Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California) in April 2006. I have also been to Fairbanks, Alaska. As for traveling abroad, I have been to Canada several times (Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, Kelowna, Victoria, and Windsor), Mexico (Ensenada), The Bahamas (Nassau), and the following several countries in Europe on five separate occasions (fall 1997; summers 2001, 2002, 2003; and winter 2014): Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, and Italy.
I have also had the privilege of being invited to speak at the following universities: The University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Florida State University, The University of Arizona, The University of South Florida, Texas Tech University, and the University of Windsor (Canada). In addition, I have been invited to speak at conferences sponsored by the Bay Area Financial Education Foundation and California Council on Economic Education, the California Association of School Economics Teachers (CASET), the National Association of Economic Educators (NAEE), and the Foundation for Teaching Economics (FTE). Since 2013 I have also worked with the Fraser Institute, Canada's largest public policy think tank, speaking at teacher, student, and journalist seminars.
I have publications in peer-reviewed economics education journals, a chapter contribution in the book Teaching Economics: Perspectives on Innovative Economics Education (2019) and numerous articles published by Newsweek, The Mercury News, Hoover Daily Report, Ludwig von Mises Institute, the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), and Learn Liberty. I am also the author of the Online Instructor's Manual for The Economics of Macro Issues (Pearson Education, 7th and 8th editions).
As for hobbies, I enjoy reading (especially books on economics, politics, and religion/theology), watching my favorite TV shows (especially any BBQ shows), grilling and using my smoker, going to the movies, and working out at the gym.