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President's Column

April 2023

Since becoming President-Elect, I have had the opportunity to visit departments affiliated with AAEA. Thank you to all of the wonderful hosts who have received me. During the visits, I gave a talk, reconnected with old friends, and met new folks, including an amazing array of faculty, students, and staff. In the seminars, you asked insightful questions and engaged me in rich and supportive discussions. While you asked some tough questions, I learned from you, and you have strengthened my work. Thank you for helping me grow.

My visits were always great because of the wonderful and thoughtful staff who provided administrative support: arranging travel, processing receipts, setting up presentations, and so much more. Please thank your staff; they are amazing professionals.

Each place has shown me that AAEA is in good standing because you are doing excellent research, contributing to our journals, and engaging researchers within AAEA and beyond. Across faculty ranks, you are innovating. You are developing research that informs economics and policy in the U.S. and abroad. In addition, you are developing grant proposals to fund your work and support students. Thank you for your contributions to the profession.

Beyond the research, I have learned about your teaching and extension work. You have figured out how to navigate the pandemic and provide strong teaching and extension programs. Your training supports the next generation of thinkers and stakeholders in your areas. You are fulfilling the ideals of the land-grant mission. I see that ethos permeating our efforts, even for those not within the land-grant system. The world has many needs, and the research, teaching, and extension we do are critical ways to address those needs.

While meeting with faculty has been great, the conversations with students have made the trips special. I have sensed from the students an eagerness to do good work and hopefulness to address a pressing concern, be it the economic development of their home community or country, mitigating climate change, or some other grand challenge. As many of these students have a clarity of purpose, they also seek out mentorship, which many departments provide.

The faculty in a department can provide some mentorship of students and early career professionals, but no one mentor can provide all the support mentees need. AAEA has a role in providing the diverse mentoring needs of our students, early career professionals, and even more advanced professionals. I am grateful for the support I have received over the years, and I hope I am contributing to the success of folks coming along in the profession.

The summer meeting in Washington, D.C., is a critical way to support each other and grow as professionals. We have a wide range of research presentations and opportunities to reconnect. We also have important mentoring opportunities during the meetings and pre- and post-conference sessions. While we are not offering a hybrid option, we are working with groups to offer AAEA-approved sessions online outside of the meeting times. Registration for the summer meeting has opened, and I hope to see you there!

Norbert Wilson
AAEA President