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Economics Professor Earns Distinguished Accolades


Sept. 21, 2021 —  Northern Kentucky University’s Dr. Abdullah Al-Bahrani receives the 2021 Rising Star Award from National Association of Economic Educators (NAEE). Dr. Al-Bahrani becomes first faculty member at NKU to be nationally awarded for meeting the challenges of providing economic education service early on and his commitment to improving programs and services available.

Dr. Al-Bahrani is the director of the Center for Economic Education (CEE) and an associate professor of Economics in NKU's Haile/US Bank College of Business. His advocacy and community engagement efforts have helped K-12 educators discover how to teach personal finance and sparked NKU students' interest in economics education.

“It is an honor to receive the Rising Star Award by the National Economic Educators Association. It is a testament to our efforts towards financial literacy education and the support received from the Haile College of Business at NKU. To also be nationally recognized for our research is an indication that NKU Center for Economic Education is making an impact in the education of financial literacy. Kentucky has made great strides in financial literacy education recently, such as mandating completion of a financial literacy course for retirement, so I’m happy to continue to carry the torch and improve upon that in the realm of higher education.”

This award is to recognize an individual who has been a member of the economic education network for seven years or less. The purpose of the award is to identify someone who has "hit the ground running" and made extraordinary contributions to economic education programs or services early in his or her career in economic education.

An active leader in economic research, Dr. Al-Bahrani’s work focuses on analyzing financial literacy education programs and helping close the reasons behind wealth gaps. He additionally received the National Endowment for Financial Education Best Paper Award from the NAEE. His award-winning publication examines the racial financial literacy education gap.

“There are a lot of issues that can slip through the cracks and create even more significant challenges. All of that buildup negatively impacts economic mobility and advancement potential,” said Dr. Al-Bahrani. “We hope this research will serve as a resource for policymakers to help design and improve financial decisions.”

Dr. Al-Bahrani has long been recognized at the state and national levels, where he’s earned the Kenneth G. Elzinga Distinguished Teaching Award from the Southern Economic Association® and numerous accolades from the Journal of Economic Education and Kentucky's Financial Empowerment Commission.

For more information on NKU's economics program and the Center for Economic Education, visit its website.

About NKU: Founded in 1968, NKU is an entrepreneurial state university of over 16,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus nestled between Highland Heights, Kentucky and bustling downtown Cincinnati. We are a regionally engaged university committed to empowering our students to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives. While we are one of the fastest-growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit