Thursday, May 14, 2009

IAD page for Outlook Magazine Spring 2009 issue

This is my page from the alumni magazine published this month.

Graduate students in agriculture put their passports to good use

The International Agricultural Development Graduate Group at UC Davis is really going places. IAD graduates are spread from California to the Horn of Africa, making a difference wherever they go.

“We have alumni placed all over the world, working
for the federal government, foundations, and many
nongovernmental organizations,” says program chair and plant sciences professor Richard Plant. “Our graduates are equipped with knowledge and skills that enable them to implement, facilitate, and manage programs in agricultural development, resource management, and rural life.”

The graduate group was created in the 1980s to prepare students for careers in agricultural and rural development around the world. The interdisciplinary program draws on the knowledge of 80 faculty members in 31 departments across the campus. The IAD master’s program, which admits 15–20 students annually, gives students an understanding of agricultural theory and application.

“Many of our students come with some experience, such as working with the Peace Corps or other organizations,” says Plant. “Many of them did not have an undergraduate background in agriculture, and only realized the importance of agriculture after their own experience.”
In addition to subject matter within agriculture and social sciences, IAD students learn about
development, leadership and management techniques, fundamentals of crop and livestock
farming systems, and agricultural economics.

For information about working internationally or for more training, check out the IAD Graduate Group online at
— Elisabeth Kauffman

photo captions:
Zachary Bagley spent time as an undergraduate studying links between wildlife conservation efforts and local poverty in Kenya. “This experience opened my eyes to issues related to both human well-being and wildlife protection,” says Bagley, now an IAD master’s degree student. “I chose UC Davis because of its positive reputation in the agricultural realm, its proven experience in the international arena, and its connections with the Peace Corps.”

Anna Petersons spent two years with the Peace Corps in the Republic of Niger, West Africa, helping the small rural community of Holloballe find solutions to its water needs. “I loved working with these small farmers in the middle of nowhere, but with only a bachelor’s degree, I knew I wasn’t qualified for a lot of jobs in agricultural development,” she said. “The IAD program has given me what I was looking for—a broader perspective on global agriculture.” Petersons began her master’s degree in the UC Davis IAD graduate program in 2007. Over the 2009 winter quarter she took some time off to work in India with a start-up company helping small farmers with drip irrigation. She returned for spring quarter to complete the master’s program.

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