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Simanti Banerjee

Dr. Simanti Banerjee is an Associate Professor of Experimental and Behavioral Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL).  She has consistently provided exemplary service and leadership in the profession and contributed to the advancement of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.  She believes that “increasing representation of women and underrepresented minorities at different professional levels changes mindsets and highlights the value of diversity and inclusion in people’s lives and the profession”; that it “provides resources to level the playing field for them; and that it expands the current Homo Economicus heavy profession to one that is more representative.” 

She has led, facilitated, advised others, collaborated with colleagues, mentored students, and engaged with administrators while strategically working toward making the profession more inclusive, equitable, and diverse.  There are numerous examples that showcase Dr. Banerjee’s efforts at UNL, AAEA, and beyond.

Within her home unit, she has contributed to impactful workplace culture change by organizing a diverse speaker series. The series exposed all faculty and students to diverse presenters with multiple areas of expertise and Dr. Banarjee believes, helped women faculty and students see a reflection of their own selves in the diverse speakers.”  She has also collaborated to improve PhD candidates job perspectives by creating resources to for student to write DEI commitment statements for job search packages. Moreover, she expanded the reach of a newsletter featuring UNL student’s contributions to DEI advancement. She serves on the DEI Advisory Board for the university UNL’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR), helping improve hiring processes and structuring interview site visits with attention to disability, religious, and lactation accommodations for candidates.

Dr. Banerjee DEI activities within the AAEA CWAE are also impressive. From 2017-2020 she collaborated within efforts to survey the needs for childcare during AAEA annual meetings. She has contributed to the creation of the CWAE-COSBAE Climate Survey and worked to toward institutionalizing survey efforts within the AAEA that help document the status of women and URM. She also represented CWAE on the 2018 AAEA Anti-Harassment Task Force and within the AAEA Committee on the Opportunities and Status of Blacks in Agricultural Economics (COSBAE) advocated for the AAEA Anti-Harassment and Code of Conduct Policy specifically supporting protections for whistleblowers and retaliatory actions against perpetrators. In 2019, Dr. Simanti was part of the group that established a mentoring program for diverse students and young professionals in various organizations in the agricultural and applied economics field.

Dr. Simanti’s contributed to DEI activities beyond her institution and the AAEA.  She was participated in the organization of the International Committee of Women in Agricultural Economics, a global network of women agricultural economists similar to CWAE within the International Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (IAAE).

Dr. Simanti professional work has also benefited from her commitment to DEI. She believes that “Economics is a social science and so it should embody experiences of different types of people in society in its theoretical and empirical investigations. Thus, I am committed to doing research on issues that diversify economics science.”  “Efforts focused on diversity and inclusion are incomplete if those individuals who lack representation cannot be at the table. Initiatives need resources.”

Dr. Simanti is recognized as an excellent scholar, mentor, and leader in the agricultural and applied economics field.  Here is how Dr. Palm-Forster puts it: “Simanti has a reputation both as a successful scholar and as someone who is dedicated to advancing DEI initiatives in economics. Her leadership has inspired others to contribute more to these efforts, and we need these positive feedback loops to continue to sustain positive change in our profession. Simanti is a role model for many women, and we are grateful that she is volunteering her time and energy to support CAM initiatives and contribute to the professional development of her mentees.”