I am a second-year PhD Student and Research Assistant in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University. My research is geared towards food value chain development, environmental sustainability, and consumer preference in food and drink, placing specific emphasis on the U.S. beer and hop markets.
My journey to agricultural and food economics began during my undergraduate studies at Westfield State University, where I received the opportunity to work on a variety of research projects with Dr. Supriya Sarnikar and Dr. Hillary Sackett-Taylor. I fell in love with the research process; the intricate details, uncovering information, and putting the pieces together. I was especially enthralled by systems thinking, particularly with how heuristic-driven decision making can lead to critical inefficiencies throughout the economic system.
After completing my BA in Economics at Westfield State University in May 2018, I moved to West Lafayette, Indiana to seeking my MS in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University. Here, I applied my curiosity of systems thinking and environmental sustainability to the economics of brewing in the United States. Under the guidance of Dr. Carson Reeling, I completed my master’s thesis in August 2019 titled “Consumer willingness to pay for sustainability attributes in beer: A choice experiment using eco-labels.”
I now work with Dr. Trey Malone at Michigan State University, exploring complexities in agricultural value chains, with beer and hops being the primary focus. Though still in the early stages of the program, Dr. Malone has quickly taught me the importance of the extension and outreach component of the Land Grant Mission. I received my first exposure to extension at the 2020 Great Lakes Hops & Barley Conference this March, where I gave a talk on craft beer trends and marketing strategies. There is still so much more to explore, and I am eager to untangle key problems, grow into a more complete thinker and researcher, and to share what I learn to those that it has the potential to benefit most.