STEM Shoutout: Dr. Jingjing Wang

Economics assistant professor selected as a 2020 AAGE Teaching Fellow 

Dr. Jingjing Wang, an assistant professor of economics at UNM, was recently selected by the Provost’s Office as an Academic Affairs General Education (AAGE) Teaching Fellow for 2020-2021. 


This fellowship aims to foster more engagement in general education classes. Wang says her experience as a first-generation college student showed her firsthand how general education can empower students, especially underrepresented students, to face a rapidly changing world with the ability to frame questions and solve problems. 


“The most exciting part of being recognized as an AAGE Teaching Fellow is the opportunity to work in a community of practice with colleagues from other disciplines, to collaborate with various partners across the campus, and to innovatively transform how we educate undergraduates in the general education program,” Wang said. 

Wang says through this award she hopes to integrate the Sustainable Water Resources Grand Challenge into her general education course ECON 2120 Microeconomic Principles. 


“I have always wanted to incorporate my research into introductory courses. Economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources. Incorporating teaching modules on how to optimally manage our scarce water resources will be a natural fit. For UNM, with over 80 percent in-state students and nearly 40 percent of incoming students being the first in their family to go to college, I believe adding water modules that relate to their every life will significantly help,” Wang said.


Wang’s research focuses on applied microeconomics, with special emphasis on environmental and natural resource economics. 


“At present, my research program is broadly focused on empirical analyses of policy-related questions, mainly in the context of water resources, nutrient pollution, renewable energy, and extreme events,” Wang said.


Wang has mostly recently applied this research through her latest role as the principal investigator of one of the four pilot research projects selected by the Grand Challenges Sustainable Water Resources team titled Integrated Ecological-Economic Modeling for Evaluating Sources and Impacts of Nitrogen Surplus in Arid-Land Ecosystems: A Pilot Study of the Rio Grande.


Working with Co-Pi Dr. Tom Turner from UNM’s Biology Department, Wang says they will study the nitrogen cycle in the Rio Grande in this pilot study to transform fundamental understanding of the underlying dynamics and impacts of nitrogen surplus in arid-land ecosystems. 

“Our research objectives are to evaluate the contribution of subsurface flows to nitrogen pollution and estimate rates and spatial extent of accumulation of heavy nitrogen in trees and fish. The project engages undergraduate and graduate students and involves community participation.

So far, Wang says their team has compiled a unique dataset that provides a basis to assess the economic benefits of nitrogen in agriculture versus the unintended ecological costs of the nitrogen surplus in the Rio Grande. Wang says this framework will be used to propose policy tools for nitrogen management in arid-land ecosystems.

Wang also recently was selected as a Faculty Fellow in the Expanding Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences (ECURE) project. Wang says this fellowship aims to introduce students in STEM general education courses to entry-level undergraduate research experiences. 

“Through these two fellowships, I intend to bring the Sustainable Water Resources Grand Challenge related research experience to students in my introductory microeconomics course, ECON 2120,” Wang said.