Staff Spotlight – John Kessler

John Kessler with his children Daniel, Micah, Corabella, and Joseph

My name is John Kessler and I am a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics and Finance at Purdue University Fort Wayne (PFW). I am also the Director of the Center for Economic Education at PFW. I get to teach introductory economics and personal finance classes and work with wonderful teachers in the state of Indiana.

I was first introduced to FTE when they came to present a workshop to my class at the University of Delaware. I thought the activities were excellent and I couldn’t wait to try them with my students. I was also inspired by the passion with which the professors and mentor teacher presented the materials. In that moment I thought to myself, if I ever get the chance, I’d love to work with FTE. I began working with FTE as a mentor teacher in 2007 and have worked as a professor in the student only programs for the last few years.

John with his wife Nicole

I love getting to meet students from all over the world. I leave every program inspired by the students. I enjoy hearing about their dreams for the future; they give me hope. I also love having the opportunity to learn from and work with some of the best econ teachers and professors in the country. It has definitely made me a better teacher and pushed me to be willing to try new things.

My favorite econ lesson to teach is the Ultimatum Game because it shows how markets create incentives for people to come up with a win-win solution. Many people start with the assumption that markets make people greedy, but the ultimatum game shows that markets actually make people do things that benefit others. That being said, all the activities are fun, so it is hard to pick a favorite.

Economics is the study of how to use scarce resources to achieve our goals. I want students to realize that economics can help them achieve their goals and make the world a better place. It’s not just about money, math, and graphs. It’s about our choices and what matters to us the most. It’s important that they not only understand the concepts, but are able to apply those concepts to the real world. The Economics for Leaders program does a great job of that.


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