St. Marys native Jason VanAlstine says that he enjoys the dual role that a professor leads at a small school like Indiana University Kokomo (IUK), where he is expected to be an excellent teacher and create knowledge in the studentsâ€™ field through research projects.
VanAlstine works at IUK as an assistant professor of economics. IUK is a small branch campus of the Indiana University System with approximately 3,000 full-time students.
â€śI teach three economics classes per semester, am the faculty advisor for a business student group called Students in Free Enterprise that works on community service projects, and I do research in the area of government economics and the economics of diversity,â€ť said VanAlstine.
â€śI also help some of the local media outlets here by providing quotes and insight into local economic issues in Kokomo. I have found that growing up in a manufacturing town like St. Marys, where many of my family members have worked at the plants in town, has provided me with a unique perspective on the local economy in Kokomo that relies heavily on the automobile manufacturing industry,â€ť said Jason.
Jason is the son of Regis VanAlstine and Karen Coder and her husband John Coder. He has a brother, Earl VanAlstine, along with sisters Samantha Garcia and Amber VanAlstine.
His father has seven brothers and sisters living in St. Marys: Bob, Butch, Keith, Sandy, Linda, Connie and Jackie. His mother has one brother, Kevin Detsch, who resides in York. Jason was also very close with his grandmother, Peggy Detsch, until her passing in 2006.
VanAlstine graduated from Queen of the World in 1994 and Elk County Christian High School in 1998. He graduated from St. Vincent College in 2002 with a B.S. in Economics. He received his Masterâ€™s Degree in Economics in 2006 and his Doctorate in Economics in 2009, both from Indiana University.
â€śI always felt that the reason I was able to excel in my classes at all levels was that I balanced academics with involvement in non-academic pursuits, particularly running. My coaches at ECC (John Schneider, Wee J. Fernan, Jim Wortman and Steve Dietz) were very supportive of my running and academics and created an environment where I had fun and grew as an individual. I felt that many of my teachers at ECC were excellent at their profession; Mr. (Wee J.) Fernan and Mr. (Greg) Snelick were particularly helpful in helping me find my strengths and choose my direction for college,â€ť said Jason.
VanAlstine received the W. Phillip Saunders Outstanding Associate Instructor Award in 2005 and was named a Sam M. Walton Fellow in 2008, 2009 and 2010 for his work with Students in Free Enterprise.
â€śI really enjoy the dual role that a professor leads at a small school like IUK, where I am expected to be an excellent teacher and create knowledge in their field through research projects. It is also great to be involved in community service with my students, as it teaches them the importance of giving back to their community,â€ť said VanAlstine.
Jason and his wife Gabby have been happily married for six years and live with their two dogs in Noblesville, Ind., which is just outside of Indianapolis.
In 2007, Jason and his wife ran the Grand Rapids Marathon.