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Profiles of Hispanics at EPA: Joel Corona

Profiles of Hispanics at EPA

photo of Joel Corona

Joel Corona, Senior Economist
Office of Water - Immediate Office
Washington, DC

Question: Where were you born?

Joel Corona: Guadalajara, Mexico.

Question: Where did you go to college? What was your major?

Joel Corona: I attended the State University of New York at Geneseo and went to graduate school at Northwestern University and the University of Connecticut. My B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. are all in economics. My Ph.D. dissertation was in environmental economics.

Question: What brought you to EPA?

Joel Corona: I wanted to focus my Ph.D. in a field that was particularly meaningful to me personally. As I was growing up, I witnessed first-hand the effects of air and water pollution in a large city. I wasn’t too interested in natural sciences, but I still wanted to be part of the solution to environmental problems. Choosing a field where I could integrate economic studies with human and societal behavior, choices, and solutions seemed to be a way in which I could be involved. Coming to EPA seemed a natural fit.

Question: What kind of work do you do at EPA?

Joel Corona: I work for the Assistant Administrator and Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water, where I cover a variety of topics related to economics. My job can range from measuring the benefits/costs of a given regulation, to exploring the importance of water to the US economy, to collaborating with economists throughout the agency on the best economic methods to use at EPA.

Question: What message would you like to send young Latinos who are considering going to college?

Joel Corona: College is important because it allows you to both expand your horizons and open the door to many opportunities. On the first point, if you are willing, you are exposed to many different things in college that you might not discover otherwise. On the second point, a college education and advanced degrees offer you even greater opportunities over the long run.

For example, if you start your own business, whether that business fails or succeeds, you may decide down the road to do something different. A college degree will open other doors for you. I don’t want to overemphasize the monetary aspect, but studies show that an average college graduate earns more money than a high school graduate. Better to work on getting the degree now than regret it later.

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