Alumni in Action
Ph.D. Student, Ohio State University
Class of 2012
Advanced Degree: Enrolled at Ohio State University (Ph.D in Agricultural, Environmental, and Developmental Economics)
Where are you now and what are you doing?
I am currently in second year of a Ph.D in Agricultural, Environmental, and Developmental Economics at The Ohio State University. I plan to focus my research on agricultural and educational policies impacts on food and nutrition security with a focus in the US and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). My current policy interests are the Commodity Checkoff Program in the US and agricultural input subsidies which several SSA countries have implemented recently.
What does your job entail and how has your Eckerd experience impacted your career?
I am still a student so I still have classes and homework to worry about. Eckerd's economics program goes beyond teaching just economics to ensure students really know how to conduct independent research by the time they graduate. So now in the second year of my Ph.D I feel like I really have a leg up on many of my peers who went to big schools that did not put as much emphasis on research. I am also lucky enough to be a TA this year. I like to think that I'm a better teacher because I have learned from so many great teachers at Eckerd.
What unique or special opportunities did your Eckerd education provide and how have they impacted your life?
My sophomore year I had the opportunity to do one of Eckerd's study abroad winter term trips. Fifteen other Eckerd students and I spent a month in Malawi teaching in a rural orphanage and working on AIDS awareness and prevention. We where there during a severe drought. I really struggle knowing that in a few weeks I would be back in Eckerd's cafeteria, while this village I had become so close with would face starvation. This experience inspired me to want to work in food policy to help ensure everyone has access to safe and healthy food.
Describe some of your best memories or favorite traditions from your time at Eckerd.
I have so many amazing memories of Eckerd its difficult to know where to start. I loved going kayaking, sailing and paddle boarding in my free time at the waterfront. I also love laying on the docks late at night watching the stars and listening to the water.
What makes Eckerd so special or why does it stand out to you as a great college? What does it mean to you now that you have been away for awhile?
If I got to go back and do it all again, I wouldn't have even applied to any other school. My friends who whet to other schools told me about how competitive classes were and how difficult it was to make friends. Eckerd is not like that at all. It has such a friendly down to earth community feel. Everyone took their work seriously, but still manage to be helpful and friendly, not competitive. Having experienced this community atmosphere I knew I had to find a grad school that had the same feel and I am lucky enough to be in a community oriented program (which is not easy to find among Ph.D programs).
Describe some of the people who had a profound impact on your Eckerd experience.
All of the faculty, particularly in the economics department really defined my Eckerd experience. It seemed like Dr. Fuguitt spent at least 20 hours a day at school. She was always willing to come in early or stay late, but in return she always demanded your best work. My advisor, Dr. Hammerschmidt, pushed me to take challenging classes and always took the time to ask how I was doing. My friends also defined my time at Eckerd. I was lucky enough to be extremely close with my roommates and I know that they will be my best friends for the rest of my life.
Are there core Eckerd values you see in most Eckerd students and graduates?
Most Eckerd students/alums are the perfect juxtaposition of hard working and laid back. I would also include in that list friendly and passionate.
What activities were you involved in while at Eckerd and did they influence what you are involved in now?
I was the financial officer for Eckerd's newspaper, The Current, and treasurer for SSDP for two years. I also spent a year on the sailing team (unfortunately there is not much sailing in central Ohio).
Why did you choose Eckerd? What advice would you give students who are considering Eckerd?
I am originally from Philadelphia, so I applied to six small schools in the North East. Then one fall morning my senior year of high school it got COLD. I got home from school looked up schools in Florida. Eckerd had no application fee or supplement, so I applied before I had read more than the front page of their website. Despite my questionable motives for applying I could not have been happier with my experience. Eckerd was the right school for me. For students making that decision now: Go with your gut, you will feel what school is right for you when you visit.
Using 5 words or less complete this sentence: Eckerd is…