First year IAD'ers were asked to write an elevator pitch about their interests, specializations and goals for their IAD 200 "Theory and Practice of International Agricultural Development". This is what they said:


From time I spent teaching agriculture classes for girls in southern Africa and the experiences that led to, I developed an interest in how women gain access to land, especially in settings where land is communally owned. This land is often used as rangeland, so I’m also interested in rangeland management practices that protect the soil and prevent erosion. 

I’m a veterinarian in the U.S. army. I love connecting with other cultures and have worked in several Middle Eastern countries. My primary interests are global herd health and improving livelihoods in developing countries through improving livestock health and husbandry.

I’m currently participating in the Master’s International program through the International Agricultural Development graduate group. I am particularly interested in how people utilize available data regarding agricultural and ecological systems and how this data is used to develop systems.


My focus is on nomadic pastoralism (groups of people who herd animals over long distances in marginal lands) and grassland ecology. I am especially interested in the drier regions of West Africa. I hope to help make food systems there more secure, environmentally friendly and just.

I’m a livestock veterinarian and I work in developing countries to help people produce food. I’ve been focusing on camel dairy for the last few years. Believe it or not camels are the #1 dairy production animals in many regions of the world. The UN/FAO has predicted a $10 billion USD worldwide market for dairy products, but production is not even close to that right now because of gaps in knowledge on camel dairy, camel diseases and mild hygiene problems.

I’m a livestock guys who doesn’t own any livestock. I’m pursuing my Master’s at UC Davis and figuring out how I can raise meat in a way that I find ethical in terms of the humans, the animals, and the ecosystem the animals live in. I’ve traveled to more than a dozed countries and lived for a year and a half in Malysia, working with the Fulbright program. My experience ranges from my youth on deer and cattle ranches to teaching Malaysian and Chinese students. I want to find a way to use my experience with GIS and environmental analysis to improve small livestock operations in Southeast Asia.


I grew up in West Africa and have 5 years of experience working in pesticide research. I also worked for 6 years in China. While there I worked with World Vision both in English teacher training and on an agricultural project to teach Chinese farmers to make organic compost for their field. I am very interested in working with farmers to increase their productivity and the quality of their lives. 

I am a sustainable cropping systems specialist. There are many changes facing agriculture and ecosystems and I work with stakeholders and managers to address these issues. My topics of focus are nutrient management, pest management and cultivar selection. All of these foci are analyzed through a social and ecological lens as the links between people and the environment are inextricably related to agricultural systems.

I’ve always had a strong interest in agricultural development. After my Peace  Corps  service in West Africa, I have refined a focus on the ecology of agricultural production systems. I am currently studying how our food production systems affect their respective environments and how development in this field can be adopted by developing countries.


I specialize in microfinance and helping farmers gain access to credit to build their businesses. Many rural farmers or small business owners in developing countries lack access to loans and capital from traditional banks. I am also interested in developing value chains and helping people recognize and capitalize on opportunities for growth. 

I’ve worked in project management and monitoring and evaluation in international and domestic community agricultural development projects. I’m interested in helping international agriculture projects develop participatory monitoring and evaluation systems.

 I work on design and dissemination of appropriate technologies with a focus on East Africa. I worked for two and a half years at a bicycle technology start-up in Tanzania. For the last six years, I've helped run month long summits to teach the design process to people from around the world. I am also working to establish a local innovation center in Arusha, Tanzania for rural innovators to come together and collaborate with entrepreneurs.


I am especially interested in aquaculture with a focus on developing methods of raising fish in simple enclosed systems, which are more accessible for small-scale farmers in developing countries. Aquaculture has the power to build nutrition and income in many countries around the world, and I am convinced that it will become more and more important in the future. I want to help smallholders become a part of this growing industry. 

I am interested in participatory action research in the field of agroforestry. I’d like to work with smallholder farmers in Southeast Asia to reduce soil erosion, improve crop production and promote biodiversity in their ecosystems. I am also very interested in integrating indigenous and traditional knowledge and practices into sustainable methods.

I am interested in studying how different fertility management and agronomic systems affect water availability to crops and water use efficiency. Agriculture uses approximately 70% of fresh water and climate change may increase the need for sound agricultural management. Farmers in in developing countries are particularly susceptible to water stress due to climate change.