Portland State Magazine Fall 2022

BREAKING DOWN THE NUMBERS Curious about Oregon’s economy? Look no further than the Office of Economic Analysis’ weekly blog (oregoneconomicanalysis.com), where Josh Lehner MS ’08 shares insights that are both engaging and informative, covering everything from tech talent to marijuana sales. As a state economist, Lehner helps provide forecasts on the economy, revenue, and population to the governor, legislature, and other policymakers. He says Portland State offered him the program and flexibility he needed to further his skills and get the type of job and career he wanted—so much so that he landed his current job before graduating. “The combination of the technical skills I learned taking the econometrics courses and the capstone research project I did have been the most valuable to me,” he says. “Without them, I wouldn’t be in the position that I am.” Portland State Magazine recently caught up with Lehner to ask about his work with the blog and the challenge of striking the right balance in tone and subject matter, especially in uncertain financial times. What was the impetus behind starting the blog? Our office has conducted economic research since its formation in the early 1980s. For most of that time, the research has been published in our quarterly forecast document. We realize that the forecast is a thick report that many people don’t have the time to read all the way through.The blog was just another way to publish our research and communicate in a more modern and timely way. Plus the blog is more informal. I can focus on a smaller, hopefully interesting piece of the bigger picture without trying to tie everything together. How do you decide what to write each week? Mostly it’s a combination of current events and questions that our advisors and policymakers ask. I also have a list of research ideas I keep based on the articles and papers I read, and conversations I have. If there isn’t anything pressing or particularly noteworthy in the most recent data, I pull from that list of ideas.The goal is to just keep trying to learn something new about Oregon’s economy. How do you balance making the updates both informative for folks who closely follow the economy and understandable to the general public? A big part of our office’s role is communicating with policymakers and the public. It’s something we are always trying to get better at.The biggest challenge is getting away from technical terms, acronyms, and economic jargon that can be confusing to those ALUMNI IN THE NEWS Sarah Branson ’83 has released her debut novel, A Merry Life: Book One of Pirates of New Earth. Set in the 24th century, it follows the adventures of Kat Wallace, a young woman who escapes enslavement to find a home on an island nation of pirates. Cynthia Carmina Gomez ’00 MS ’01 MFA ’20; Lauren Hobson MFA ’19; Katie Borak MFA ’19; Karleigh Frisbie Brogan ’14, MFA ’19; Joshua James Amberson MFA ’18; and Mike Schepps MFA ’19 serve on the editorial board for a new literary journal, Kithe. Shawn Duffy MBA ’09, in February, became the director of data analytics with Baleen Data. The new branded division of Geffen Mesher helps businesses manage data. Janina M. Fuller MS ’04 recently released a book titled, The Gecko in the Bathtub: Encounters with Marvelous Creatures. Urvasi Graham MS ’18 is an infant and early childhood mental health consultant through Child Care Aware of Northwest Washington’s Holding Hope Program and the Opportunity Council in Bellingham, Washington. She’s also a co-chair of the Child Wellbeing Task Force for her county, while growing her private practice, Urvasi Graham Infant Family Specialist Consulting. Bob Hormel ’62 recently made a $1 million estate gift commitment to Portland State aimed at providing scholarships for accounting students who have dependent children living at home. Bridget Keaveney ’19 was named the Norman Y. Mineta Fellow with the Japanese American Citizens League. The fellowship includes advocacy at the federal policy level through the National JACL office in Washington, D.C. Susan E. Marcus MS ’00 MBA ’01 PhD ’04 joined Mercy Corps Northwest in June as the Oregon Women’s Business Center & Education Manager. She oversees education and technical assistance in support of regional small business enterprises in Oregon and Washington, with an emphasis on women and other historically underserved community members. Staci Martin EdD ’18 co-edited Global South Scholars in the Western Academy: Harnessing Unique Experiences, Knowledges, and Positionality in the Third Space. The book explores personal, professional, and cultural belonging in the context of the Global North and South. Martin is an assistant professor in the PSU School of Social Work. Alyssa Elting McGuire ’03 MA ’18 is the founder and co-owner of Oregon Care Home Consulting & Training, which received the 2020 Spark Award for Oregon from the Better Business Bureau and was a finalist for its Torch Award in 2019. State economist Josh Lehner MS ’08 with wife Kalin Lehner. 36 // PORTLAND STATE MAGAZINE