UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Master’s Students Benefit from Career Development Workshop

Aug. 13, 2018

One-on-one resume critiques and creating elevator speeches were highlights of the Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE) department’s inaugural M.S. Career Development Workshop in spring quarter 2018.

“For our first offering, it went very well,” said ARE Professor Pierre Mérel, chair of the ARE Graduate Administrative Committee. “All of the student evaluations were excellent.”

The purpose of the workshop was to help students in the ARE Master’s Degree Program be better prepared for the job market. Stretching from noon to 5 p.m., the event began with a catered lunch in the DeLoach Conference Room before the cohort moved to the ARE Library.

M.S. alumnae Laila Salimi and Renée A. Vassilos spoke to the group about their professional experiences after graduating from UC Davis. Salimi now works for HM Clause, a company that breeds, produces, and sells vegetable seeds. Vassilos has her own consulting business, after working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and John Deere, as well as living and working abroad for three years in Amsterdam and six years in Beijing.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to hear how graduates of our program are applying their degree in a variety of fields,” master’s student Sean Maxson said.

Attendees who brought their C.V.s and “statements of purpose” had the opportunity for one-on-one interviews with Vassilos or Salimi for review and discussion. Those who didn’t bring a C.V. were invited to write an essay about career objectives on site before splitting into pairs for presentation and discussion.

The surprise activity of the day was taking 25 minutes to develop an “elevator pitch,” a five-minute statement from each student summarizing why he or she should be hired. Split into pairs, students actually rode the elevator with each other from the fourth-floor ARE Library to the basement level of the Social Sciences and Humanities Building and back, taking turns giving their elevator pitches.

“The Career Development Workshop was very helpful to prepare for the job search post-graduation,” Maxson said.

Other recent department-sponsored events for ARE master’s students include:

  • Six students attended “Innovation in Agrifood Supply Chains: People-Planet-Profitability,” a two-day program at UC Berkeley organized by the College of Natural Resources in collaboration with Solidaridad North America, that examined innovation in the agrifood sector from business, social, and environmental perspectives. Attending M.S. students included: Ai-Lin Chen, Siwei Gao, Xiaofei Li, Yu (Lucy) Lu, Felipe Pinilla, and Huizhi Yang.
  • Three students attended the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) Ag Scholars Program June 11–22, which showcased the range of activities that people with master’s degrees in agricultural economics can do as employees at ERS. Yu (Lucy) Lu, Sean Maxson, and Nicholas Williams attended.


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