Ms. Abi-Ghanem is pursuing a Ph.D. in Soil Science at Washington State University. She has been interested in agriculture since her childhood in Lebanon. She has worked with the United Nations-Biodiversity program, has been a Fulbright Scholar, and, as part of the Iraq Agricultural Extension Revitalization project, has participated in training Iraqi agricultural extension agents and scientists through sessions held in Egypt, Syria and Jordan. She believes strongly in peace through agriculture and would like to continue her research in sustainable agriculture and efficient use of on-farm resources while educating people in developing nations on managing their lands through more sustainable methods.
Ms. Amuta is a Ph.D. student in Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University. Her short-term goals involve acquiring relevant exposure as well as knowledge and skills in teaching and research. Her long-term aspirations involve being a positive academic influence on young women, future agriculturists, and policy makers in the developing world. She has experience in trade policy reform and climate change in developing countries and has tutored in the US, UK and Nigeria. She interned with ECOWAS Secretariat in Abuja. Her research focus is on climate change and agricultural and rural development.
With undergraduate degrees in Rural Sociology and Law and Society (with a Russian Studies minor), Ms. Bagdonis is now a doctoral candidate for a dual-title degree in both Agricultural and Extension Education and Comparative and International Education at Penn State University. Prior to returning to graduate school, she was a Senior Program Manager at International Research and Exchanges Board. She has conducted agricultural research in Belize, Costa Rica, Philippines and Russia. She has also taught a month-long course at the Moscow State Agroengineering University. Her interests include agricultural knowledge transfer and sustainable development.
Ms. Barlow is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Horticulture at Penn State University. She is currently conducting research in common bean low phosphorus and drought tolerance. She has done agricultural development internships with NGOs in Afghanistan (2005), Thailand (2007-08), and with ECHO's (FL) tropical agriculture training program (2006). She has done a study abroad program in Cairo, Egypt and independent research on local initiatives for reforestation in Guatemala. Next year, she will begin research with promising genotypes on a collaborator's farm in Limpopo, South Africa. She would like to pursue a career in helping to improve the livelihoods of subsistence farmers in developing nations.
Mr. Heger is working on a second Masters degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Management at the University of Hawaii. He has also previously worked as an economist for the United Nations. The combination of these fields will enable him to pursue his goal of working in the field of international agriculture and agricultural economics to help contribute to solving food security and food sustainability issues. He was a Fulbright Scholar (2007-09) and did two internships with the UN. He consulted for the World Institute for Development Economics Research and was a researcher for Agriculture and Land Use in Panama. He is currently working as a Research Assistant on an USDA/ERS grant which has the objective of assessing Hawaii's potential for achieving a higher level of food self-sufficiency. He is fluent in four languages.
Mr. Hernandez-Juarez is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the field of Rural Development. He received the Eugene Havens Award for Academic and Research Merit (2007) and for fifteen years has been associated with various rural studies in Mexico and Latin America. His interest is in devising strategies for improving sustainable livelihoods in rural areas. Prior to coming to Wisconsin, he was a full time researcher for the Development Studies Program at the Colegio de Postgraduados. His goal is to lead a network for agriculture and sustainable rural development in Latin American countries which would help in the exchange of experiences and enhance networking opportunities concerning sustainable livelihoods and public policies.
A graduate student at Clemson University, Ms. Lowdermilk is studying regional economic development and resource economics. She worked for a semester with ICADS in Costa Rica; interned with Grameen Bank in Dhaka, Bangladesh; and was project manager of Tsunami Assistance Project in Nagappattinam, India. She would ultimately like to work with an organization involved in the effective allocation of resources to needy communities. She is trained in the implementation of microfinance programs in developing nations and plans to use economics for the benefit of the most impoverished and marginalized in those countries.
Mr. Salifu is a graduate student at Tuskegee University in the field of Agricultural Economics. He was trained as an agricultural extension agent with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in his native Ghana and became Agricultural Officer there. He then joined the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) where he worked as an Assistant Research Officer in the field of agricultural economics. While studying, he is a research assistant at the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Tuskegee. He would like to work with international development bodies to apply his expertise toward the betterment of the living standards of millions of people living in abject poverty in the developing world.
Mr. Shee is an Agricultural Finance/Economics of Development Ph.D. student at Penn State University. He was an electrical engineer until his involvement with PRADAN, an NGO in India, interested him in agricultural development work. He then moved from engineering to assist in rural agriculture and development. He did grass-roots work with poor tribal communities in eastern India and promoted rural microfinance programs and agriculture based microenterprises with the objective of impacting livelihoods to enable rural populace. He was a Ford Foundation International Fellow (2005-2007) and he would like to focus his career on agricultural economics and risk management issues in agriculture.
After doing undergraduate studies in Spanish and Geography in a Development Track program, Ms. Towns is now a graduate student in Food Security with a Nutrition Specialization at the University of California, Davis. She has participated in study abroad programs in Germany (2002), Mexico (2003), and Chile (2004) and was an Agricultural Peace Corps Volunteer in Niger (2006-2008). She would like to work in the non-profit sector of international development, linking local farmers and their knowledge to international researchers, scientists and development practitioners. Through her graduate program, she is honing her technical agricultural skills so that she can better understand the biological processes underlying agricultural production.
Ms. Vado is a graduate student at North Carolina State University studying Agricultural Economics and International Trade. She is a published author and has held a research assistantship at NCSU from 2005 to the present. She was a short term consultant to the World Bank (2008) and her goal is to be able to channel resources to research and economic development projects oriented to teach low income countries long-term solutions to their economic and social problems.
Ms. Worthington is pursuing dual Masters degrees in Horticulture and Agronomy and International Agricultural Development at the University of California, Davis. She has been awarded a competitive graduate student researcher position within the Plant Sciences Department there. Her current research focuses on the role of Oaxacan farmers in maintaining Phaseolus landrace diversity. Her primary interests within the field of international agriculture development are participatory plant breeding and strengthening extension networks. She studied for nine months in India and noted that the research produced by the Indian agricultural universities was often irrelevant and poorly extended. She would like to undertake projects that build local capacity and strengthen the links between all sectors. She is particularly interested in pursuing a career within the CGIAR system or the UN/FAO, but would like to learn about more career paths that might be open to an individual with a strong base of technical agronomy skills and international development experience.