Dear FEE Faculty,
How did you first initally come to FEE? Also what is the best trait or characteristic you like the most about FEE?
It's so true!
FEE Staffer Tricia Beck-Peter here. While I'm not officially faculty, I feel qualified to input my experience is this thread. I was introduced to FEE through 'I, Pencil.' The first time I read it, I dismissed it as the ramblings of an eccentric professor. I didn't really get it until my third read-through, on a plane from my home in Orlando to Washington, DC where I was to intern through The Fund for American Studies. I had just read Hayek's 'Use of Knowledge in Society' and the two texts together created this lightbulb moment for me. I had been an avowed Keynesian to that point. I blame my intelligence and a hint of arrogance- I believed that the world was run by smart people telling less smart people what to do, and that because I was a smart person I was qualified to make decisions for others. It was arrogant, but I was 20. Most everyone is an arrogant idiot at 20.
I spent the summer working with TFAS and taking a class at George Mason University. Gradually, I grappled with my identity as a small l liberal and Keynesian. I continued that struggle the next school year. I was blessed to have an incredible professor, Dr. Nikolai Wenzel, that year. He opened my eyes to classical liberalism and introduced me to the liberty movement. I became a passionate advocate for liberty under his influence.
I graduated and started seeking work in the nonprofit world. I rediscovered FEE while searching for economics education jobs. Once I recognized that these were the people who gave the world I, Pencil, I decided to apply for a Development Internship. I had experience in sales, so I thought it was a decent fit. Simultaneously, I applied for the Koch Internship Program. I landed the internship at FEE partially through Koch.
I wasn't bad at Devo, but I wasn't happy. I knew I wasn't good enough to make a career out of it, but I fell in love with FEE. The people are amazing and the work really makes a difference in the world. I knew that I wanted to stay at FEE before I knew how I could create enough value to be worthy of a position, so I tried everything. I wrote content and had a few pieces published, but my style wasn't really compatible with FEE's. I attended events, and found out that I had a knack for Outreach, but I knew they weren't hiring in that division. I was starting to lose hope.One night, I stayed late and had a conversation with the Programs Manager about a one page outline for a Campus Ambassador program that I had stumbled across. I had experience as a student leader and as a Campus Ambassador for the Peace Corps. I knew that I could make the program into something great, so I begged for the chance to pitch the program to him. He agreed, and a week later I presented the first version of the CA Program. He loved it and gave me another week to pitch some more content and create the Handbook.I had finally found my niche, and eventualy FEE hired me to run the program. I was 21. Tomorrow is the 3-month anniversary of the launch of the CA Program and we have 46 Campus Ambassadors across the country. Working with them is such a source of light in my life, and I'm forever grateful to FEE for empowering these incredible student leaders to change the world.
I'm not "faculty" either but I got involved with FEE through Liberty.me. I was (and still am) doing work for them and got introduced because some of the same people are involved in both projects.
What I like most about FEE is that unlike most liberty-oriented organizations, the focus isn't on whining about all the things that are wrong with the world we live in. It's more about the little things we can do to improve it.
Hi Jacob. I feel like I've known FEE forever, because I was Leonard Liggio's deputy at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation (now Atlas Network), after I left government work in 2000. But I remember specifically my first interaction.
In 2002, I attend the Cato Institute's 25th anniversary gala. A few days later, I responded to a piece in the Financial Times that equated Cato with conservatism. Austrian economist Mario Rizzo (NYU) read the piece, and emailed his friend Pete Boettke (GMU), suggesting I be invited to the Advanced Austrian seminar. I was about to start a PhD in economics at GMU, so I was thrilled. I had only about a week to review the mountain of readings, so I was a little bit in over my head -- but I still remember the great speakers: Pete Boettke, Vernon Smith, Larry White, Steve Horwitz, Mario Rizzo, Paul Harper, Israel Kirzner, etc. I LOVED IT. And I loved the opportunity to see the Irvington townhouse and chat with staff.
Now that I'm a professor, I have had the chance to teach a few summer seminar for FEE, and sit on the Board of Scholars. FEE still reminds me of "I, Pencil" -- deep, hard-hitting important concepts, explained in simple and straightforward language.
I was already an economics major in college. Larry Reed came to my college when I was a Junior and that sparked my interest. My very next event was a FEE seminar. I recall driving 4-5 hours just the get there. It was riveting from first to last. I caught the bug and never lost it.