Notable Alumni

Tenzin Yindok

MA Economics, 2010 
BA Economics, 2008

Tenzin Yindok has known for a long time that she wanted to pursue a life in academia. Currently a doctoral student in the Economics Department, Yindok is originally from Dharamsala in Northern India. Her family is still “settled there like many other exiled Tibetans.” Accordingly, one of Yindok’s major passions in life is human rights and freedom in Tibet, as well as the status of Tibetans in exile.

Yindok’s passion for economics was also sparked at a young age. In high school, she had the pleasure of being instructed by a few brilliant and inspiring economists. “I had a strong start in economics, and I was able to sustain that interest throughout university. I knew my strength was in academics and naturally that led me to pursue it up to this point.”

She came to Canada from India in 2004 to study economics at SFU. Arriving as an international student, Yindok was awarded the prestigious W. Ronald Heath Entrance Scholarship to support her undergraduate studies. She subsequently completed both her BA in 2007 and her MA in 2009, prior to commencing her doctoral degree. Throughout her academic career, Yindok has received several other notable scholarships and awards including the Richard G. Lipsey Award, and multiple counts of both the Dalai Lama Trust Graduate Scholarship and the SFU Graduate Fellowship.

Much of her graduate work has had an international focus. Her master’s thesis, titled “Educational Inequalities across Social Groups in India,” examined inequity at the primary and secondary school level for social groups. She found that “children from Muslim households were by far the least likely to enrol and complete schooling” and this was “unexplained by lower parental education and lower economic status.”

For her doctoral dissertation, Yindok is investigating “why the rate of business ownership doubled among rural households in Thailand during the Asian financial crisis in 1997. By estimating a model of occupational choice, the goal is to quantify the relative importance of the lack of better alternatives in explaining the observed rate of entrepreneurship.”

In addition to working on her dissertation, Yindok is also a research assistant for the Centre for Education Research and Policy. In this role, she is contributing toward research investigating “the effect of full-day kindergarten on children’s behaviour and mental health.” This research has the potential for important implications regarding educational policy and budgeting, early childhood development, and parental employment.

The Economics Department has been an excellent home, according to Yindok. She chose to pursue her graduate career at SFU because it has “one of the leading economics departments in Canada.” Although relatively small with respect to student enrolment, in the six years that Yindok has been a part of the Economics Department, it has seen rapid growth with the introduction of several new faculty members. As such, they “have an excellent set of professors and students working in applied theory and empirical methods.”

Looking toward the future, after graduation Yindok hopes to get a tenured faculty position at a research university. According to Yindok, “after years surrounded by talented researchers, I realize that research work tends to be incremental in nature. I hope to excel in my chosen fields and contribute in a meaningful way to society at large.”

Last updated August 31, 2017