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My Bio

I am an Agricultural Economist with a focus on Africa that began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in The Gambia, where I served from 2001 to 2003. I earned MSc and PhD degrees from Michigan State University (MSU) in 2009 and 2012 respectively. For three years (2010-12) I was on a long-term overseas assignment in Lusaka, Zambia, first as a Specialist and doctoral candidate, then Assistant Professor for the MSU Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics (AFRE). My work in Zambia focused on several aspects of the heavily subsidized maize and fertilizer sectors. In addition to carrying out fieldwork, my time in Zambia was spent providing research, outreach and capacity building services for the Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI, né Food Security Research Project). In 2012 I moved to Northern California to join Stanford University’s Center on Food Security and the Environment, where I was a Research Scholar and lecturer for 4 years. In September of 2016 I incorporated Agricultural and Food Policy Consulting, providing services for several projects in Southern Africa. In early 2020 I was hired as a consultant for the MwAPATA Institute in Malawi, asked to fill the role of Acting Research Director during the search for a long-term candidate for that position. In 2022 I (re-)joined the faculty of AFRE as an Associate Professor and continue to work closely with colleagues at MwAPATA.

In December of 2017 I was elected to the Food Tank Board of Directors, and in 2020 I became a member of the Editorial Board of The African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics. I have guest lectured at many universities in the US and throughout Africa and taught graduate courses on multivariate statistics and survey design at The University of Zambia and Stanford.

Some of the topics my research has covered include poverty dynamics, market participation, land ownership, fertilizer subsidies, farm productivity, sustainable intensification, value chain analysis, cost/benefit analysis, nutrition, structural transformation, and the disparate distribution of productive assets between men and women. Since working with IAPRI to collect a first-of-its-kind combination of soil sample analysis combined with nationally representative farmer survey, I have been focusing on ways to study interactions between farmers and the characteristics of their soils.  This has allowed me to develop unique experience combining site-specific soil property measurements, remote sensing, and farm survey data to understand the adoption and impacts of farm management practices. I have also contributed to the broader literature on multivariate statistics, and I am the author of the "craggit" package in Stata, which is used across a wide range of disciplines to estimate double-hurdle models.

I've been honored to receive the 2009 Best Thesis Award from MSU’s Agricultural Economics Department; the 2009 award for best article in Agricultural Economics, the flagship journal of the International Association of Agricultural Economists; the 2013 Horizon Ribbon Award, from Washington College (my alma mater); the 2017 Bruce Gardner Memorial Prize for Applied Policy Analysis awarded by the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association; and in 2019 I was named an "Outstanding Reviewer" for The American Journal of Agricultural Economics. Twice, in 2017/18 and 2020/21 one of my papers has been amongst the “Top Cited” papers in Agricultural Economics.

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