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Beyond the Classroom: Student Opportunities

Kohl Centre
The 2018 Virginia Tech NAMA team at the annual competition.

Students get a world-class education inside the classroom at AAEC, but they also have boundless opportunities to apply their skills and extend concepts outside the classroom as well.

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Beyond the classroom: student opportunities


Commodities Investing by Students (COINS) is a select group of Virginia Tech students that invest a million dollars annually in commodity markets through exchange traded funds and notes. The group’s mission is to provide opportunities for Virginia Tech students to gain hands-on educational experiences in trading and investing within the agricultural, energy, and metal commoditiy markets while seeking a positive risk-adjusted return on investment for the Virginia Tech Foundation.

COINS was made possible through the generous donation of AAEC alumnus Bruce Holland and his wife Debbie, who continue to serve as organizational advisors for the club. For more information, visit the COINS website or contact the faculty advisor Olga Isengildina Massa

Kohl Centre 

The Kohl Centre has a dual mission to (1) provide business, financial, marketing, and management advice to clients in agribusiness and other sectors of the economy in the entrepreneurial spirit of Dr. Dave Kohl; and (2) facilitate action-oriented, immersive professional development project opportunities for student teams in response to identified clientele needs. Contact Katie White for more information.

Data Science for the Public Good is a summer program for students interested in developing their quantitative/analytical skills to help solve social issues.

AAEC students can also conduct research with faculty through independent studies.  Often students work one-on-one with faculty on topics as diverse as managing agricultural price risk to international development.  Students earn academic credit as determined by their faculty advisor.   Undergraduate research often leads to published papers.   For more information about current and future opportunities, contact Katie White.

Go here to learn about AAEC's six-week summer sustainable development research program in Ecuador.

Ag Econ Club

The Ag Econ Club is dedicated to providing an environment of fellowship and leadership in which members pursue professional, educational, social and team work development through interaction and cooperation with fellow members, AAEC faculty, alumni, the university, and professional resources to empower themselves with opportunities in the ever changing fields of agribusiness, agrimarketing, and applied agricultural economics.

For more information about the club, contact the current advisors Katie White and Mike Ellerbrock

Collegiate Young Farmers at Virginia Tech

The Collegiate Young Farmers at Virginia Tech is a chapter that provides students interested in agriculture and rural communities leadership, educational, legislative, networking, and social opportunities. The chapter is in association with Virginia Farm Bureau and American Farm Bureau Federations. For more information, contact the advisors Rachel Kohl

View other student organizations in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS)

The Virginia Tech chapter of MANRRS aims to create a more inclusive atmosphere for students pursuing careers in agriculture, natural resources, or other related fields. The organization fosters leadership among minority students, is active in community service, and provides students with professional development opportunities. Learn more about the Virginia Tech MANRRS chapter


Each year students prepare a marketing plan to compete in the National Agri-Marketing Association competition, which happens every spring. Students begin meeting in the fall to select a product and beginning planning. They receive credit in the spring when they attend the NAMA Conference.

Quiz Bowl

AAEC students compete in the annual Academic or Quiz Bowl competition hosted at the Southern Agriculture Economics Assocation (SAEA) meetings every winter. The double elimination Jeopardy-like tournament tests the teams on their agriculture economics knowledge. The members prepare by discussing questions, researching, making their own questions, and playing against each other. For more information contact advisor Kurt Stephenson and by visiting the SS-AAEA Academic Bowl website.

We support international exposure for undergraduates and work with students to find programs that are right for them. Within the department, we offer a six-week study abroad research internship in Ecuador. Learn more study abroad and international research opportunities offered through and supported by our department.

Qualified students can earn a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in five years. This option allows undergraduate students with strong academic records to take graduate level courses during their senior year with the courses counting toward both their B.S. and M.S. in Applied Economics. Students receive a B.S. in the fourth year and a M.S. in the fifth year. 

Process of admission

Once accepted, students may double-count a maximum of 12 credit hours toward undergraduate and graduate degrees (each credit hour counts toward both degrees at the same time): a maximum of six of those from 4000-level courses, and all others from graduate-level courses.Interested student should contact the Undergraduate Program Director for more information.