Professor David Jacho-Chávez receives the 2021 Eleanor Main Graduate Faculty Award

By Jerald Butler | May 17, 2021

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The recipient of the 2021 Eleanor Main Graduate Faculty Mentor Award is Dr. David Jacho-Chavez, a Professor of Economics and Graduate Faculty Member at the Laney Graduate School.

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The Laney Graduate School is proud to announce Dr. David Jacho-Chávez as the 2021 recipient of the Eleanor Main Faculty Mentor Award. The award is named in honor of the late Eleanor Main, a transformative leader at Emory and a devoted advocate for graduate education. It recognizes individuals who exemplify mentoring of the highest quality in graduate education. 

Since 2011, Professor David Jacho-Chávez has played a critical role in providing a positive experience for doctoral students enrolled in the LGS Economics doctoral program. Jacho-Chávez has generously dedicated his time, knowledge, and resources to foster lasting bonds throughout the four existing cohorts.

Students in the Economics program not only attest to Jacho-Chávez’s commitment to their success but his willingness to make himself accessible when they are in need. For former student Dr. Alexander Lundberg, Jacho-Chávez’s generosity with his time made a tremendous impact. “Having witnessed his work ethic firsthand, I know how valuable his time is,” Lundberg states. “We would practice interview on the weekends, or at his home if [necessary].” Because of this investment, Jacho-Chávez was able to help Lundberg secure an Assistant Professor position at West Virginia University. Lundberg concludes, “When I reminisce about my time in graduate school, I cannot think of Emory without thinking of David. To say I owe my academic career to him would only be a small exaggeration.”

Throughout his career, Prof. Jacho-Chávez has traveled abroad to promote scholarship and create bridges of access to higher education. Third-year PhD student, Juan Estrada, recalled his initial interactions with Professor Jacho-Chávez in Medellin, Colombia. “As a Latin American student, I know that there are high barriers to entry to the U.S. graduate education system. Meeting Prof. Jacho-Chávez was an inflection point in my life. He mentored me during the whole application process, which dramatically changed my odds of getting accepted at a prestigious school such as Emory University.”  Under Jacho-Chávez’s mentorship, Estrada has honed the research skills that have granted him an opportunity to present at multiple conferences, including the 6th Annual Conference on Network Science and Economics.

“My progress thus far in my doctoral studies hinges on the support and encouragement I have received from Prof. Jacho-Chávez, and I am certain that his mentorship will continue to make a difference for me throughout the remainder of my career,” concludes Estrada.

Jacho-Chávez’s approach to mentorship transcends the fundamental practices of academic advisement and personal guidance. Through small acts such as placing an espresso machine in a student lounge and organizing weekly happy hours, he created and maintained a positive work environment for students and his fellow faculty members. 

In a letter, professors of Economics and colleagues of Dr. Jacho-Chávez, expressed their appreciation for his contributions to the program. “Thanks to Professor Jacho-Chávez’s efforts, we now have four cohorts of students who are collegial and supportive of each other. They are working closely with faculty and are well on their way to becoming professional economists.”

Jacho-Chávez was also credited for his coaching and encouragement for the creation of immersive professional development opportunities and successful publishing in widely recognized journals. According to his colleagues, “His mentoring efforts are extremely valuable to the students and to the program, and we can think of no better way to thank him for his efforts than through this award.”

“Dr. Jacho-Chavez provides tremendous dedication when mentoring graduate students,” says Lisa Tedesco, Vice Provost and Dean of the Laney Graduate School.  “He is known for consistently bringing a high level of energy and creativity to any task and is generous with his time and willingness to meet student needs at every level. Dr. Jacho-Chavez is a most fitting recipient of this award.”