Two new faculty members with unique expertise have joined the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Agricultural Economics, further enhancing the department’s academic breadth and increasing its ability to serve important target groups statewide.

Scott Halliwell, a certified financial planner with more than 30 years of diverse financial services experience, is an assistant professor of practice for the new Financial Planning major within the department. He will teach two financial planning classes as well as a financial readiness class targeted to future military leaders in the Corps of Cadets.

Xingguo “Hans” Wang, Ph.D., an assistant research professor, will provide insights for the agricultural community through his work on crop yield projections and how environmental factors affect agricultural production.

Halliwell adds military and financial planning expertise

Halliwell came to Texas A&M after a varied and successful career at USAA, an insurance and financial services company serving active-duty and veteran military members and their families.

Head shot of Scott Halliwell. He Is wearing a blue shirt with a dark colored sport coat.
Scott Halliwell brings a wide range of financial experience to his new role as an assitant professor of practice in the Financial Planning program of the Department of Agricutural Economics. (Texas A&M AgriLife)

His range of financial experience includes being a wealth manager, chief of staff, operations director, regional manager and financial planner at USAA and other prominent financial services leaders, including American Express Financial Advisors, PNC Bank and Charles Schwab.     

At USAA, he addressed financial planning topics through Ask USAA with Scott Halliwell, the Chalk Talk video series and USAA’s Financial Advice Blog. He has been a featured personal finance speaker at events throughout the country and quoted as an expert in USA Today, Fox Business, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and other publications and news outlets.

“Scott is passionate about personal finance and is a seasoned educator and leader,” said Nathan Harness, Ph.D., head of the department’s Financial Planning Program. “He has a wealth of experience in financial planning, leadership, wealth management, product management, consulting, operational planning and communications.

Additionally, his work for the USAA Educational Foundation has helped make him an expert in financial readiness for the military.”       

Harness said Halliwell’s experience with military financial readiness has already benefited the program because, for the past four years, he has been a visiting lecturer for the Command Your Finances course designed for future military officers in the university’s Corps of Cadets.

“Scott has already demonstrated his abilities as an instructor and his expertise in helping our future military leaders not only successfully navigate their own finances, but also share vital money management knowledge and skills with others in their command,” Harness said. “We are glad we now have him as a full-time faculty member in the department.”  

Halliwell will continue to teach the Command Your Finances course and work with the USAA Educational Foundation on developing additional materials to support military financial readiness.

“I couldn’t be more excited,” Halliwell said. “I love everything about personal finance, and sharing my knowledge and experience with future military officers and those planning to enter the profession that has been so great to me is truly a blessing.”   

In addition to a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Penn State University, Halliwell has several professional certifications, including certified financial planner, chartered financial consultant, chartered life underwriter and certified project manager.

Wang blends machine learning and food policy economics

Wang, who joined the department in January, earned a doctorate in agricultural economics from Texas A&M in 2023. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and management information systems from the University of Delaware.

Wang’s interests include probabilistic forecasting, applied econometrics, crop yield projections, climate change and sustainable practices, machine learning and the economics of food policy.

Torso shot of Dr. Xinggou Wang. He is wearing a dark colored button down long sleeve shirt and has his hands folded in front of him
Assistant research professor Xingguo “Hans” Wang, Ph.D. will provide insights for the agricultural community through his work on crop yield projections and environmental factors affecting agricultural production. (Michael Miller/Texas A&M AgriLife)

“We are pleased that Dr. Wang has joined the department,” said Rudy Nayga, Ph.D., department head. “He has expertise in applied microeconomics, causal inference and machine learning methodologies to address critical economics and societal challenges. His work is particularly beneficial to agricultural and food policy issues, climate change and other applied economics fields. His efforts will be invaluable to our programs, as will his collaborations with research and extension faculty around the state.”

Wang said his blend of expertise in applied economics, such as food policy, climate change and econometric methods, will help in his efforts to integrate novel machine learning and causal inference methods into practical applications in agricultural research.

Prior to becoming an assistant professor in the department, Wang was a graduate research assistant for the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M. Before that, he was a teaching assistant for the Applied Simulation in Agricultural Economics course and primary instructor for courses on food products and agribusiness management and marketing.

“I want to provide economic insights to agricultural scientists and engineers on how their work can contribute to society as a whole,” Wang said. “I would love to be a bridge between our ag economists and ag scientists. I hope my work will contribute to the department and Texas A&M AgriLife’s reputation as a national leader.” 

Wang has contributed to academic papers on topics ranging from eminent domain, household spending and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participation to projecting the variability of cotton to environmental factors using machine learning. He has also provided input for papers on the evolution of property rights in land and cattle in Ghana and an analysis of different types of infant formula demand in the U.S.

His other accomplishments include serving as a student government senator in the department’s Graduate Student Association and as a technology consultant at Bloomberg L.P. and the University of Delaware.

Wang is a member of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and Southern Agricultural Economics Association.

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