Major professor: Melissa McKendree
Major professor’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Degree type: MS
Areas of specialization: Food and agricultural economics, agri-food policy, producer vs consumer decision making, mixed methods, value chains
Kayla is a MS student with research interests in the intersection between producer vs consumer decision making and how these impact both domestic supply chains and agri-food policy. Her work primarily looks at how access to marketing channels can be expanded for small and medium-scale producers in the livestock and dairy industries. She strives to understand how participants in the agri-food chain can work together to produce a more sustainable future.
This year, Kayla was selected as 1 of 15 students to participate in the Farm Foundation’s Agriculture Scholars Program. This is a year-long program allows graduate students studying agriculture economics interested in agriculture and food policy to develop working relationships with senior agriculture professionals, attend Farm Foundation and related industry events and network with their leadership and participate in Farm Foundation Forums. They are also paired with a mentor from the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) to present research and receive feedback from ERS economists during capstone presentations at the ERS headquarters in Kansas City, MO. With the program, Kayla has so far attended events in Savannah, GA, Chicago, Illinois, Washington, DC and Rennes, France.
Kayla also serves as a national student officer for Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS), the premiere academic and professional development organization for minorities in agriculture, food and related industries.
Kayla, a self-proclaimed “Southern Belle”, was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She completed her B.S. in food science and agriculture business at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) in 2022 before coming to the department. While she received funding from several other highly competitive programs such as Purdue and North Carolina State, she choose AFRE because she wanted to get a well-rounded graduate school experience both academically and socially. She feels the department is very welcoming and makes her feel she has a home away from home.