Career Advancement and Mentorship Program

Program Information Mentors and Mentees CAM Committee Previous Cohorts


Meet our 2015 Mentors

Our 2015 cohort of mentors are well-established economists from varied backgrounds, each with an impressive set of accomplishments.


 Alan Collins, West Virginia University 
Dr. Collins is Professor and Assistant Director of the Division of Resource Management at West Virginia University. He teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in environmental and natural resource economics.  He is the graduate coordinator and advises about 40 undergraduate students.  His primary research areas include: water quality and watershed management; agricultural waste management; and non-market valuation.  He has received research grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Geological Survey, Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Program, and the Tennessee Valley Authority.  Seventy-four publications include papers in Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Ecological Economics, Energy Policy, Journal of Environmental Management, Review of Agricultural EconomicsLand EconomicsRisk Analysis, and Water Resources Research.  He holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from Oregon State University and a M.S. in Range Resource Economics from Utah State University and a B.S. in Agriculture from University of Arizona.

Gerard D'Souza, West Virginia University  
Dr. D’Souza is Director and Professor of the Agricultural and Resource Economics program at West Virginia University, where he has been for the last 30 years.  He completed his Ph.D. at Mississippi State University.  Before taking on his administrative role, he taught courses and advised undergraduate students in agribusiness management.  His graduate mentorship and research have focused on sustainable development with an emphasis on the role of niche agricultural products within the context of natural, financial, and human capital development at various levels, from local to international. In addition to also being a Faculty Research Associate at the Regional Research Institute, Dr. D’Souza was a Fulbright Scholar in Paraguay, a visiting scholar at IICA in Costa Rica and at the Wallace Institute, Greenbelt, MD, and had sabbatical research-related appointments at universities in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. He recently co-developed a new energy-related undergraduate major, E*Quad (Energy, Environmental, Economics and Entrepreneurship), and has been the recipient of outstanding teaching and research awards at his institution and in professional societies.

Gal Hochman, Rutgers University

Gal Hochman is an Associate Professor in Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics. Dr. Hochman received his Ph.D. in Economics at Columbia University in 2004, and joined Rutgers University in 2011 as an Associate Professor. While coming out of his Ph.D. he focused on international trade agreements and crony capitalism, the stay at UC Berkeley introduced him to energy and agricultural biotechnology. Dr. Hochman's current work focuses on the political economy of fuel policy and crude oil, biotechnology, as well as the economics of renewable energy.

Ted Jaenicke, Penn State
Ted Jaenicke is an Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics at Penn State. He earned a B.A. in economics from Wesleyan University and, after a substantial break, a Ph. D. in Agricultural and Resource Economic s from the University of Maryland. He teaches a graduate course in Econometrics and several Agribusiness Management undergrad courses. In one of his favorite courses, a comparative food systems courses, he leads a group of Penn State students to Paris for two-week study trip. Most of his current research projects investigate food retailing or consumer behavior using food purchase scanner data. A number of projects investigate organic food, and range from production, to retailing and trade. Some newer projects investigate consumers' healthfulness of food purchases. Finally, Jaenicke has been active with the USDA-NIFA-AFRI program, serving as both panelist and panel manager multiple times, and is currently active with NAREA. 

Kathleen Liang, University of Vermont

Dr. Liang has designed, developed, and implemented innovative, award-winning courses in entrepreneurship taught within CDAE since 1998. Her research, teaching, and outreach focus on many perspectives of entrepreneurship and its interactions with people, communities, and organizations. Her learning-in-the-now approach to teaching and dynamic interactions with students push them from the classroom into real life applications of entrepreneurship as actual entrepreneurs. Her projects of multifunctional agriculture and regional food networks also expand the boundaries of understanding innovative and entrepreneurial agricultural operations and management.

Kent  Messer, University of Delaware
Kent Messer is the Unidel Howard Cosgrove Chair for the Environment in the Department of Applied Economics & Statistics.  Messer is the director of the Center for Experimental & Applied Economics at the University of Delaware and co-director of the USDA-funded national Center for Behavioral and Experimental Agri-Environmental Research. After receiving his BA from Grinnell College in Iowa, Messer became the founding Executive Director of the Bluff Lake Nature Center in Denver, Colorado – an urban wildlife area.  Messer received his MS in Resource Policy and Behavior at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor and his PhD in Resource Economics from the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University. As a behavioral economist, Messer is engaged in cutting-edge research and outreach efforts related to the efficient provision of public goods with a focus on environmental conservation and the behavioral response to environmental and food risks.  He had published over 40 articles in peer review publications, served as editor of the Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, and wrote a textbook published by Wiley & Sons in 2011.   Messer has been a principal investigator of research proposals worth over $37 million from numerous sources including NSF, EPA, NOAA, and USDA.

Donna Ramirez, University of Vermont
Donna Ramirez Harrington is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Vermont. She received her Ph. D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and her B.S. from the University of the Philippines.  Her area of specialization is in the field of environmental economics. In her research, she examines strategic responses of firms to environmental regulations and compares the effectiveness of various types of policy instruments in improving environmental performance, with emphasis on the approaches that rely on environmental management systems, voluntary adoption of environmental technologies (such as pollution prevention  techniques), and information disclosure mechanisms. Her work has been published in Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, Land Economics, Oxford Economic Papers, Environmental and Resource Economics, Resource and Energy Economics, Contemporary Economic Policy, Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economics.  She became a NAREA member in 2007.  She has served as a member of the Outstanding MS Thesis Committee, as a member of the Distinguished Member and Life Member Award Committee and is currently serving as a Board Member.

Bradley Rickard, Cornell University
Brad Rickard is an associate professor in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University.  Prior to joining the faculty at Cornell, he taught at the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.  He received his Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California, Davis.  His research program focuses on the economic implications of policies, innovation, and industry-led initiatives applied to agricultural and food markets. Current work examines how markets for specialty crops respond to changes in nutrition and health information, food labeling practices, promotional efforts, agricultural policy reform, trade liberalization, and the introduction of new technologies. Other research has examined policy and promotion topics in wine markets, and he was recently recognized for his contributions in this area by the New York Wine and Grape Foundation. 

Evert Van Der Sluis, South Dakota State University
Evert Van der Sluis is a Professor of Economics at South Dakota State University. He received a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Applied Economics from the University of Minnesota, a M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics from Iowa State University, and an Ingenieur degree in Social Economics and Animal Science from the Hogere Landbouwschool in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands. He has taught courses in International Economics, Agricultural Policy, Public Finance, Farming and Food Systems Economics, International Marketing. He conducts research on a broad set of topics related to agricultural and public policy, and international trade. He was a Visiting Professor at Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Warsaw, Poland in 2012 and a Visiting Professor at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Agronomique de Toulouse (ENSAT), and the Ecole d'Ingénieurs de Purpan, both in Toulouse, France in 2011. He served as Head of the Department of Economics at SDSU between 2008 and 2011.


William Wheeler, EPA
Will Wheeler is an Economist in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Center for Environmental Economics where he works on a variety projects mostly focusing on water quality benefits and policy; and enforcement issues.  He earned his PhD in Agricultural Economics from Penn State University.  Prior to his current position, Will was in EPA’s Office of Research and Development, where he managed EPA’s Economics and Decision Sciences STAR grant program, and the Office of Water, where he conducted cost-benefit and other analyses for water regulations.  He has recently published in a several journals, including the Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis and the Review of Environmental Economics and Policy; he has also authored or co-authored numerous EPA publications including the Environmental Economics Research Strategy and the Ecological Benefits Assessment Strategic Plan.  He is currently the Government Representative to the Board and has served on the Outstanding Public Service through Economics Award Committee. He is an occasional blogger at


Parke Wilde, Tufts University
Parke Wilde is a food economist at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Previously, he worked for the Community Nutrition Institute and for USDA’s Economic Research Service. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Cornell University (and received the NAREA Master’s Thesis Award). At Tufts, Parke teaches graduate-level courses in statistics and U.S. food policy. His research addresses food security and hunger measurement, the economics of food assistance programs, and federal dietary guidance policy. He has been a member of the Institute of Medicine’s Food Forum and a member of the research committee advising AGree, a national food policy initiative. Parke keeps a blog at and has a book from Routledge/Earthscan in 2013, titled Food Policy in the United States: An Introduction.


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