Current employment/job title: Special Assistant to the Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
How were you involved with the World Food Prize as a high school and/or college student?
My high school agriculture education teacher encouraged me to participate in the World Food Prize when I was a junior in high school. I attended the first Iowa Youth Institute, as well as the Global Youth Institute held during the World Food Prize in Des Moines. As part of the program, I wrote a paper on agricultural issues impacting the Democratic Republic of Congo, which I then shared with my peers at the Global Youth Institute.
How did the World Food Prize experience influence your career path?
The World Food Prize was one of the first experiences that opened my eyes to the impact that agriculture has around the globe and gave me a desire to learn more about food production both here in the U.S. and internationally. It confirmed that I wanted to attend Iowa State University and pursue a degree in agriculture, which eventually led to the start of my career path working in ag policy.
How did your World Food Prize experience dovetail with your CALS experience?
My World Food Prize experience really pushed me to think about societal issues critically and helped me understand the power of listening to diverse perspectives. The same can be said about my experience in CALS. Both the WFP and CALS provided a community of students committed to solving the challenges that come with feeding a growing population.
How did your CALS experience prepare you for your career path and current position?
In addition to a top notch agriculture curriculum at Iowa State, CALS gave me the chance to become a leader and network both with other students and with professionals in the agriculture industry. Through CALS, I was able to travel to countries around the world and gain a global perspective of agriculture. It also helped me find a career path that eventually led me to Washington, DC. Today, I am lucky to be part of a team dedicated to improving market access for U.S. agricultural products around the world.
What’s your advice to students considering becoming involved in the World Food Prize and CALS?
Both the World Food Prize and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences provide incredible opportunities to get out and see the world – and understand the critical issues we face in agriculture. I encourage students to use these experiences to help you develop your passion for working in agriculture, which will lead to career opportunities that you might never imagine (or that may not even exist yet). Having a global perspective of how food is produced will provide you with the experiences needed to be a leader in today’s global agriculture industry.