What motivated you to pursue Agricultural/Applied Economics as a profession?
I had a great professor. Dr. Josef Broder taught me Introduction to Agricultural Economics. I was loathing taking economics, but Dr. Broder showed me that economics can help us address real problems, ones that I saw in my rural, predominately African American community. In a later class, with the enthusiasm for economics I learned in my introductory class, I wrote a paper on the determinants of teen pregnancy in rural Georgia. With Dr. Broder’s support I presented that work in the Student Section of the AAEA, my first professional meeting. His early intervention, engagement, and mentoring led me to this profession.
Why did you join AAEA, and how has membership in the Association impacted your professional development?
Early on I learned that engagement in the AAEA is vital to career success, but I stayed connected to the AAEA because of mentors like Dr. Ralph Christy and Dr. Daniel Sumner who encouraged me professionally and personally. I do not believe that I would be a full professor if I had not continued with the AAEA.
What advice would you give to an up and coming Agricultural/Applied Economist?
Connect with other good researchers. Support your colleagues and pull for the good of the whole. Read broadly and engage scholars beyond economics. Take risks. Don’t forget you did not get here on your own. Live in equanimity.