Hi, I'm Trish, FEE's Outreach Associate. At 21 I graduated from Flagler College and started an internship here at FEE. 15 months later, I have my dream job helping FEE create and manage our Campus Ambassador Program, a network of over 100 college activists in 11 countries. Ask me anything about the following: the CA Program, creating value as an intern and an employee, my professional journey, student leadership, feminism, pop culture, or how to get the most out of your college education.
Why are you so awesome, but also, why are you so awesome? Thank you so much for running a great program, FEEMom.
Also, who's your favorite economist who helped build the liberty movement, and who's your favorite economist working today?
Thanks for starting me with a sweet softball, Noah! I think it's awesome to be passionate, kind, and optimistic. On my best of days, I succeed at being those things, so if I'm awesome maybe that's why? I got into the liberty movement because of Hayek and Leonard Read. I had been an avowed Keynesian for many years, until I read The Use of Knowledge in Society and I, Pencil back-to-back on a flight to DC when I was 20. That was when I started to question my assumption that smart people (like me) could plan for everyone else. Since Read wasn't technically an economist, that leaves Hayek as my favorite, because without him I would still be a progressive and I like my life a lot better now that human freedom is my top priority.Of those working today, not including all of the incredible economists in FEE's Faculty Network, my favorite is Bill Easterly. He's doing some really incredible, brave work in development economics. My background is in development economics and so much of it is Keynesian. Easterly is a refreshing departure.
P.S. I love Hayek so much I named my car after him
How do you feel about Snapchat?
I feel like it makes my selfie game 1,000x stronger. That flower crown is fierce.
What do you feel are the best arguments against people who believe that the earth and everyone in it are going to h*ll in a hand-basket?
I've found that people who think the world is going to heck in a hand-basket usually start their naysaying with bemoaning the selfishness of man. I like to turn that on them. Helping people is a selfish thing. We feel good when we help others, choose to be kind when it's hard, or nurture loving relationships. We get a warm fuzzy feeling when we donate to charity or volunteer in our communities. We can selfishly pursue that warm, fuzzy feeling and accidentally make the world a better place in the process. So if one assumes that humans are selfish and will destroy everything good in pursuit of pleasure, point out that it's more pleasurable to create than to destroy.If that doesn't work, I like to point to examples of how the free market has made all of our lives better in the last 200 years. 200 years ago, a woman my age would have been expected to be married and have children. She wouldn't have been able to leave that marriage if it became abusive because doemstic violence wasn't illegal. She would be expected to have had a few kids by now, half of which would have died before their first birthdays, and each child she had posed a significant risk of death in childbirth. She would never experience financial independence or the rewards of earning your wealth. She wouldn't be allowed to speak publically about her beliefs like I do. I would be miserable in her shoes. But as we grow richer, human rights start to matter more to us. We start to value historically marginalized people as potential value-creators. We invented machines that set women free from the tyranny of household labor. As the market opened up, society liberalized. The world was already heck in a hand-basket for millennia. We're better off than ever today!
Thank you very much for the answer.
How do you feel about Star Wars: The Last Jedi?
So many feelings! Warning, potential spoilers:1. SO. MANY. WOMEN!!!! Star Wars created an exceptional female lead from the beginning with Leia, but she was the only female character in the first trilogy. The prequels had a few women, but Padme was the only woman with character progression and development. The last Jedi succeeded in portraying not only women, but different kinds of women. Rey, Rose, Leia, Paige Tico, and General Holdo each embody a different meaning of female heroism. On top of that, Captain Phasma contrasts their heroism and keeps the movie from devolving into girl-power pandering. I wish I had this movie when I was a little girl who wanted to wear pretty dresses and fight with lightsabers.2. Sassy Luke is the best Luke. Shirtless Kylo Ren is the best Kylo Ren. Floating through space Leia is the worst Leia. Case closed.
Which woman (that you're not related to) are you most inspired/empowered by? Why?
This is hard, because I'm blessed to have so many strong women in my life. I am constantly in awe of and inspired by my friends and coworkers. So as to avoid picking favorites among all of my beloved lady friends, I'm going the fictional route.Hermione Granger is and was the most influential fictional character in my life. She taught me that it was okay to be the smart girl, that kindness wasn't weakness, and that I could be a hero. Hermione wasn't a one-dimensional nerd the way many people who didn't read the books imagine her to be. She fights for the rights of house elves, a species that is enslaved and oppressed by wizards. She is emotional and feminine and vulnerable and real. She once confronted teenage romantic rejection by conjuring an army of tiny birds to attack the dude who scorned her (no spoilers.) She's a boss witch and I wouldn't be me without her.
Hi Tricia. I am very interested in helping FEE to establish a Campus Ambassador Program at Dartmouth College. How can I help?
Hi Bob! I love to hear that! If you know and college students who are passionate about liberty and free market economics, please refer them to https://info.fee.org/feecap . We're accepting applications until the ball drops on December 31st!
Hello Tricia. Thank you for doing this Ask Me Anything Session . Here is a quote from an article titled," Bring back classic feminism" by Eileen L. Wittig:"Fighting for women’s equality is a wonderful thing. But it only works if it’s fighting for equality, not total dominance, to the detriment of everyone else, without earning it." Do you agree with that statement?
Hi David! Yes, I do agree that feminism is about equality before the law rather than an imposed, normative equality. I also believe that degrading men and empowering women are not compatible. The dignity of all humans should be the central concern of feminists.
Hey Trish! Thanks for doing this AMA and for your work in the Campus Ambassador Program.
As a young professional, do you remember any specific thought processes of choosing to promote liberty as a profession and how you chose to turn those thoughts into action? In other words, what were the origins and first steps of your professional journey?
Hi Alex! Thanks for all your great work this year!My plan throughout high school and for 2/3 of my years in college (I graduated early thanks to AP credits) was to be a foreign service officer. I wanted to be the Keynesian economic planner. However, shortly after reading Hayek for the first time, I realized that I wasn't obedient enough to be a government agent, and that I was no longer comfortable planning for others. I was only a few months out from graduating and suddenly I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life or who I wanted to be. It was terrifying. Thankfully, two incredible libertarians became my mentors: Dr. Felix Livingston and Dr. Nikolai Wenzel. They helped me fall in love with free market economics and the accompanying philosophy. Once I graduated I started considering working in the movement, but I wasn't sure this was the path for me until I attended an IHS Seminar. From there, I was hooked. I got home and Googled "jobs in economic education" and FEE popped up. 1.5 years later, here I am. I think the real lesson in my early professional journey is what happened after I got my FEE Internship. I was a fundraising intern, and I wasn't actually very good at it. I had already fallen in love with FEE and the people who worked there, and I really wanted to stay, but my skills in that department weren't worth a salary. Determined to stay, I started working in every department. I helped media with video shoots, I wrote an article, and finally I tabled at a conference and realized that I was really good at that. Then I found a one-pager on a Campus Ambassador Program. I had been a student leader and I knew what student leaders needed, so I asked my now boss to let me pitch him my version of the program. Over the next two weeks, I created the CA Program and FEE hired me to run it. I was entrepreneurial and I sought ways to create value, and in the end I got to create my dream job. I hope young people will look at what I did and realize that they don't have to wait around for a great job to fall into their laps. You can create your dream job. You can use your unique skills to create value for others.
Hi Tricia, thank you for helping to take our outreach efforts to the next level at FEE!
As you reflect back on 2017, what is the most interesting thing you've learned from a professional standpoint during your first year working after graduation?
Also, as you look back on 2017, what is one thing (from an academic or ideological perspective) that you've either changed your mind about or gained a new appreciation for?
Thanks for all that you do, and Happy New Year!
Hi JR! Thanks for recognizing my potential and giving me the opportunity to serve FEE! The most important and interesting thing I've learned in my first year as a working professional was how to "be the duck." A few days after I got my offer from FEE, I was hosting an Open House for FEE Enthusiasts at the FEE Office. I spent the day running around like a chicken with her head cut off, trying to make everything perfect for the party. Minutes before it began, my boss (aka you) put his hands on my shoulders and said to me "It's time to be the duck. It's time to be calm on the surface, even if you're paddling like hell underneath." That was the start of a personal and professional journey that catalyzed a profound change in my life. I've spent a lot of this year learning how to balance my natural exuberance with deliberate calmness. This has made me a better employee, problem-solver, and friend. It also makes living in my own head a lot easier. Little things that would have once set me off and made me feel like I wasn't in control don't scare me anymore. Something I've changed my mind about is the role of government in society. I've become less and less comfortable with the idea of government in general, but especially large intrusive governments. I can no longer justify taxation as a necessary evil, thus I am less comfortable with any system that relies on theft and bullying to maintain power. I see fewer and fewer justified uses of a monopoly on force. I am more skeptical of most government programs, partially from the ideological perspective that government was not intended to provide services for the few using the stolen resources of the many, and partially because I see little evidence that government can efficiently provide these services. I no longer like the idea of a few people making choices for millions of strangers. I look forward to continuing to explore the proper role of government in a free society in 2018.
Tricia, what are some of the ways you build enthusiasm among campus ambassadors for the ideas of liberty and for FEE? Thanks for all you do!
Thanks Dan! FEE's CA's are already enthusiastic about these ideas when they join the program. I think our major success has not been inspiring students to care about liberty and FEE, but rather making students who already care about FEE feel cared for in return. When people are loved, nurtured, and appreciated as value creators, they flourish. I've seen the students with whom I have personal relationships blossom into stronger, more confident leaders because of this program, and these leaders create tremendous value for FEE. Empowered leaders empower others. Our CA's are empowered, loved leaders who empower and educate and love others in turn. If FEE is being advocated for by smart, kind, passionate people then we can win the hearts and minds of college students.
Hey Trish! I hope you're doing well! What is one event that has occured in your CA program that you think really highlights the objective and success of the program?
Hi Dennis! It's great to hear from you and I hope all is well!I have a lot of great CA's who do incredible work for FEE on their campuses, so it's hard to isolate a singular event. However, I spent the last few days at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit, and that was amazing. There were at least 10 Campus Ambassadors there, and every time we found each other there was this beautiful moment of connection. Once CA's realized I was there, they started talking to the other conference attendees about the program, FEE, and FEEcon. They also found each other and got excited about one anothers' work. There was a profound feeling of comradery amongst the Campus Ambassadors. Each one was excited about using FEE's resources to empower and educate students, and about getting to interact with people they usually only see on our GroupMe. That shows me that we've created a program that is deeply meaningful to it's participants. People who feel connected to their work produce better results, so I hope that when CA's find each other they feel strong enough to exceed expectation and create outstanding value for FEE and their peers.
Hi! Thanks so much for doing this AMA, and being an 11/10 CA coordinator!
How different do you think the political landscape would be in the US if we had a strong, or at least decent, basis of economic education in our education system? And do you think it's possible for us to establish that education within the current public system we have in place?
Hi Nick! Thanks for stopping by and for all the great work you've done this year!I think we would benefit immensely from expanding economic education, and from rethinking how we teach economics. I actually almost failed AP Macro my sophomore year of high school. My professor was clearly uninterested in the material, and never moved beyond the charts and graphs to the economic way of thinking. If I hadn't taught myself to think like an economist, I would have failed and I would have bought into the common assumption that economics is only for rich white people who buy stock from their yachts. Sadly, most people have crappy econ teachers and then fall into this assumption.If more people understood economics as the study of human choice and possessed enough knowledge to examine other subjects through the economic way of thinking, I think our entire societal structure would change. Much of political discourse right now is governed by feelings. Economics is not beholden to feelings. So even though it might feel bad that people are without education, health care, or social safety nets it doesn't make economic sense to have the state provide these things. Tullock proved to us that the state cannot supply goods and services more effectively than can the free market. If more people knew that, I think we as a culture would take more initiative to solve our problems, rather than waiting for the government to save us. I also think that if people understood local knowledge and emergent systems, we may have more respect for one another. If you regard every person you meet as knowing at least one thing that you don't it's a really humbling, wonderful experience. Is it possible to instill this love and understanding of economics at a national level within the current public school system? Probably not. But every day that I spend empowering others to love economics and to share it is a step closer. Every person who reads I, Pencil is a step closer. Every time someone takes a step back from an emotional appeal and asks "does this make sense in the real world?" is a step closer. Every FEE Seminar attendee is a step forward. Maybe we won't change the whole world or the whole system, but we will change hearts and minds, and that's enough for now.
Tricia, I would like for you to go into greater detail of how you became such a strong, independent, and successful woman.
Learning more about the conception of the FEE Campus Ambassador program would be ideal as well.
Hi Jacob! Thanks for being such a great CA!I was really, really loved and nurtured as a small child. I firmly believe that loved children become strong adults. Then when I was 9, my brother Alex was born, and I had a really good reason to be strong. I wanted to be a good example for him, and later for our brother Kyle. We grew up in a single-parent household, so I was kind of a surrogate parent. I had to be strong for them, so I grew up quick and learned how to be nurturing and protective. I was determined to help them with college when the time came, so I worked tirelessly to succeed in school so that I could get a great job. The drive to create a life for myself and for my brothers shaped the person I am now, and I think it taught me how to be FEE Mom. As for being successful, I think that came from passionately loving my job. I absolutely love you guys. I feel really humbled to serve you, and I want to make the FEE Campus Ambassador Program as incredible as the kids who enroll in it. It's easy to work hard when I picture y'all and remember why I'm still at the office at 7pm or why I'm working through lunch for the fourth time this week. I think the combination of loving what you do and letting that motivate you to perform naturally creates success. As for the conception of the CA Program, I wanted the program to respect our principles. It couldn't be authoritarian, it had to value local knowledge, and it had to respect incentives. It had to be worth the time of student leaders. It had to be based in relationships, mostly for my own sake. I knew I would be miserable if I didn't know my students. It had to be valuable to the students and to FEE. And it had to be fun. I hope we've made it all of those things!