Why did Jeremy Costin choose to study at Hopkins? “It checked off all the boxes for me. It was close to home (Westchester County, New York) but not too close to home. It has a campus and lots of green space, but is located in a city. Hopkins also offers a lot of academic flexibility, great for someone who, like me, was unsure what he wanted to major in. I also visited Hopkins twice and loved the campus and the students I interacted with.”
Ultimately Jeremy decided to major in both economics and public health studies.
“After completing Professor Hamilton’s Elements of Microeconomics course, I wanted to understand key concepts and the math behind them in more depth. I took Microeconomic Theory and my love for economics (specifically microeconomics) grew from there. I also find that economics is a good complement to a degree in public health. Economic tools and applications are highly relevant to improving health outcomes. I felt I could be a more complete public health professional if I learned those analytical skills.”
Jeremy particularly recommends Professor Fernandez’ class in Market Design. “The skills learned in that class apply to many unconventional markets such as vaccination distribution during COVID, roommate assignments at JHU, and so much more. It showed me how ineffective many markets are and how we can make them better. I also really loved working on my final paper in Nick Papageorge’s Sex, Drugs and Dynamic Optimization class. I researched the question of why many people decided to start drinking alcohol during the COVID-19 pandemic and realized that public health professionals need incorporate their models less obvious health determinants, such as the effect of social isolation on risky behaviors. More broadly, I took away from economics the idea that the impact of an initiative depends on people at the margins. There are always people who stick to their side no matter what, but a policy such as implementing the COVID vaccine can depend crucially on getting people at the margins to flip.”
In the summer after his sophomore year, Jeremy had the experience of living in a rural village in Uganda where he worked with a cross-national team educating community members on various public health topics including family planning, sanitation, HIV/STDs and malaria.
Back in Baltimore, he was very involved with Jewish life at Hopkins, as well as the Center for Social Concern and the Life Design Lab, creating resources for students trying to pursue health careers.
After graduation, Jeremy will be pursuing a masters’ in health sciences with a focus on global health economics at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. “I want to pursue a public health degree that will allow me to use and expand the economic skills and public health knowledge I have learned as an undergraduate, thus opening up multiple career opportunities.”
Advice for majors? “Economics is broader than you think: there are many different focus areas apart from finance. Take classes you are going to enjoy and that will expand your horizons. I especially recommend taking classes with professors Moffitt, Morgan and Papageorge. But, whatever classes you take, reach out to your professors and you will find they are really great people who can help you on your career path.”