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Applied Economics Student Recognized at USDA Forum

Thursday, Mar. 21, 2013

USU graduate student Augustina Odame at USDA forum

Augustina Odame was among 10 graduate students invited to a USDA forum as part of a writing competition. Undergraduate and graduate students attended the forum in Arlington, Va., near Washington, D.C. (USDA Photos/Lance Cheung)

Augustina Odame, a doctoral student in the Department of Applied Economics, was selected as one of 10 graduate students in the United States to travel to the USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, Va.

Each year the USDA sponsors an essay competition for undergraduate and graduate students. The winning essayists are sponsored to attend the conference. This year’s essay topic was “The Greatest Challenge Facing Agriculture over the Next Five Years.” 

“It was really fun to write, and it was a good learning experience,” Odame said.

The conference featured guest speakers from industry and government. Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture, welcomed students to the conference, fielded questions and encouraged students to pursue careers in agriculture. 

Various speakers led group discussions about the challenges and innovations currently in agriculture.

“We focused a lot on the limitations on agriculture that are not within our control,” Odame said. “But then there is a lot more that is within our control that we should control.”

The USDA also used the forum to introduce students to careers and opportunities, giving students perspective on what their work would one day help do.

“It gives you an idea [that] what you are doing is useful for people now, and it also gives you an idea about what you could potentially do in the future in terms of research and work,” Odame said.

Odame hopes to use her experience to encourage other students to apply and participate in USDA forums and conferences.

Related links:

USU Department of Applied Economics

USU College of Agriculture

Contact: Augustina Odame,

Writer: Jordan Cox,

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