"I derive a lot of satisfaction from helping my students become better writers and better thinkers."

"When I started my doctoral dissertation, I was motivated by the desire to provide additional insights into Wall Street history," says Janice Traflet. She explains, "At the time not too many people in academia were working in that particular area, noting that in recent years, studies of the history of capitalism have blossomed — in part, due to the spiraling popular interest in better understanding the roots of our present economic situation."

Possessing a passion for the history of business — company histories, the stock market, entrepreneurship, and so on — Traflet, after completing her MBA, first entered the business world, accepting a position as a commercial banking analyst. Once she hit upon the idea of combining her business skills with her interest in history, she completed her doctorate at Columbia University, earning such honors along the way as the Alfred Chandler Fellowship at Harvard Graduate School of Business and a Rovensky Fellowship in Business and Economic History at the University of Illinois.

Traflet's perspective is inherently interdisciplinary, and this is reflected in her work, which spans history, finance, advertising, marketing and popular culture. "In my writings, I've explored such topics as the post-World War II surge in mutual fund participation, the allure of celebrity fund managers, perceptions of stock market crashes, the social meaning of money and the expanding ranks of women shareholders," she says. Whether teaching a class in marketing or a class on stock market bubbles and panics, she imparts a historical dimension to the subjects, providing her students with deeper perspective and richer insights.

She also works closely with her students to help them develop their academic proficiency. "I derive a lot of satisfaction from helping my students become better writers and better thinkers," she says. "In addition to classroom interactions, I mentor many students in independent studies. I also enjoy serving on the Honors Council, where I am consistently impressed with the quality of work exhibited by those pursuing Honors theses."

She has a long-held respect for the demands of the writing process, and as a child wanted to write mystery novels. Now she channels that energy into writing scholarly pieces and has enjoyed a succession of work published in many notable peer-reviewed journals and encyclopedias. She recently finished a three-year stint as editor-in-chief of Essays in Economic and Business History, and is working on a book, A Nation of Small Shareowners, due out by Johns Hopkins in spring 2013.

Posted October 2012

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