Billy Mertens
Instructor
Economics

Why did you initially apply to work at CU-Boulder?

I actually started at CU as a grad student.  After being a teaching assistant and then a graduate student instructor, I realized teaching was what I wanted to do as a profession.  When I graduated, I stayed in Boulder (my wife’s family is from the Denver area), and taught classes when they were available.  Eventually, I had taught so many different courses, and was so flexible that it I was a good candidate for instructor.

What makes CU a great place to work?

I love my department!  The economics professors are not only brilliant, but also collegial and inclusive.

What is the best part of your workday?

That’s hard to say.  I love when I come in early in the morning because – besides the quiet – there are so many possible interesting discussions with students that I know might take place.  I enjoy class and office hours because those discussions do take place. I also teach an evening class, so I must admit that on some days after being on campus for 12 hours, I look forward to going home and seeing my wife and kids.

I guess, all in all, the best part is when I see that “light go on” for some students when a concept suddenly makes complete sense.  It is very gratifying knowing I played a part in that.

What makes CU faculty stand out against other universities?

As I mentioned before the economics faculty are both brilliant and inclusive – they have an ability to make some of the most difficult concepts understandable to the students.  The economics program pushes the students a little harder than at most of our peer institutions, but with great results.

What makes CU students stand out against other universities?

I don’t have much experience with students at other universities, but I know that I have encountered some incredibly bright and motivated students here – especially recently.  It is really a pleasure to write them letters of recommendation and help them in their search for internships, etc., because I know they will continue their great work and reflect well on CU in general.

Do you have the opportunity to work with faculty from different departments?

Occasionally, I have been on honors committees with faculty from other departments.

What do you enjoy most about living in Colorado?

It’s the outdoors.  I love to ski, run and hike, so it is the perfect place.

What is your favorite campus/neighborhood location?

The Hill and Illegal Pete’s Burritos.

What is your favorite area restaurant?

Near campus, it is Illegal Pete’s.  Otherwise, The Med.

What do you enjoy doing on your spare time?

I enjoy spending time with my family, skiing, running and hiking.