AFRE Graduate Student Wins First Place in ESPP Competition

AFRE graduate student, Zach Luther, received first place in the ESPP Fate of the Earth Research Poster Competition on April 13.

Zachary_LutherDepartment of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics (AFRE) graduate student, Zach Luther, won first place in the Environmental Science and Policy Program’s (ESPP) Fate of the Earth Research Poster Competition for his submission of “What Factors Drive Farmers to Voluntarily Adopt Practices that Reduce Nutrient Runoff?”

Originally from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Luther received his bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Minnesota before joining MSU AFRE.

“I didn’t know that I wanted to go to grad school until my participation in MSU’s SROP program in 2016, under Dr. Soren Anderson,” said Luther. “His passion for his work led me to become passionate in economics as well, specifically in environmental economics. MSU AFRE’s renowned reputation and strong ties to the Econ department, aside from the beautiful campus, helped me in my decision to come to MSU.”

Since coming to MSU, Luther has thoroughly enjoyed his time within the program, pursuing his master’s degree.

“My experience has been great. I really enjoy my classes and instructors,” said Luther. “My major professor, Dr. Scott Swinton, has been extremely encouraging throughout this entire process. The department has been very accommodating to my academic goals. I’m grateful to be a part of this program.”

While creating his poster, Luther described the application process as being straightforward, with a need for abstract preparation as well. Luther credits his success to Dr. Swinton and fellow AFRE graduate student, Braeden Van Deynze, who helped develop research and create the final product.

Luther was able to improve on his presentation skills and learn to properly convey research to an interdisciplinary audience at the conference, as well as inform on a topic very important to him.

“There is no future for us without preservation of, and cooperation with, the environment,” said Luther. “The type of research that my professor does really hits that point home. As the growing threat of climate change looms, environmentalism will have to be addressed by everyone, not only by scholars, policymakers, or activists. I only know that, for me, my contribution toward a sustainable future lies in the research.”

Luther hopes to conduct research on the environment and move into academia in the future.

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