Profile: Meghan Millea
Ironically, economist Meghan Millea may have a hard time putting a value on lessons learned in South Africa.
The associate professor in Mississippi State's department of finance and economics learned as much as she taught during her sabbatical in the African nation a few years ago. While researching and teaching at the University of the Free State, she witnessed economic challenges and ingenuity first-hand in the developing country.
Discussing the experience, Millea said important lessons learned there help her keep life in the United States in perspective. She smiles when mentioning the young man she and her husband encountered, a solitary fellow selling animal figures he crafted from dirt and mud. Filled with optimism and entrepreneurial spirit, the man sold the handmade items for about four dollars each.
That lesson can fit well in the United States when people struggle with limited income, materials and other tools to succeed.
"You have to try to make life better with resources you have available," Millea said. "They left me with a sense of appreciation."
Now, serving as vice president of MSU's Faculty Senate, Millea knows first-hand about the challenges facing the university, particularly during continued financial shortfalls. Even during the most challenging times, Millea said she tries to remember situations and people she encountered in South Africa.
"It gave me a totally different perspective on viewing problems we have," Millea said. "Now, they seem so manageable."
Next week … Arielle St. Pe !