First cohort graduates with a master’s degree from Virginia Tech’s Online Master of Ag and Applied Economics
The Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences graduated its first cohort from the Online Master of Ag and Applied Economics program.
The Farm Credit Administration (FCA) saw the benefits of the 100 percent online program, and in 2020, 14 of its employees entered the program – also offered in a traditional format – to elevate their skillsets.
This August, final presentations were given at FCA’s headquarters in McLean, VA, and 11 students were awarded master’s degrees, with three more to follow.
- Omri Bein
- Nicole Currie
- Zachary Knutson
- Jared Lindsey
- Brianna Ahrndt McGee
- Skyler Ocheltree
- Kaileen Rouin
- Matthew Stanek
- Vania Suen
- Nicolas Johnson
- Allie Wilson
“These three projects provided excellent opportunities for FCA employees to use data analysis to address specific challenges the agency faces,” says Corey Adams, Ed.D., associate director of Learning and Organizational Change in FCA’s Office of Agency Services. “And the expertise they acquired while completing these projects will serve the agency well.”
“I can’t say too much or too often how I appreciate the educational opportunity with Farm Credit Administration. The employees we have interacted with have been exemplary adult learners for which we are proud. In turn, they will be proud holders of a valuable Virginia Tech degree,” said Matthew T. Holt, head of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.
The graduates of the program now have an enhanced knowledge of applied econometrics, data science, and data management tools within an economic framework. This will allow their employees, including the examiners who review institutions’ loans and evaluate their financial operations, management, information technology, and compliance with federal regulations, to use modern data science when considering areas that affect the agriculture industry.
So, how will they apply their knowledge to their job?
Wilson said, “The knowledge I gained will help me be a better examiner by considering a wider range of issues including inflation, interest rate changes, processing shutdowns, international conflict, and consumer preference in my day-to-day work.”
Stanek said he now has a “broader knowledge in a variety of subjects that will allow me to more intelligently analyze problems encountered in my regular work.”
“Organizations such as the Farm Credit Administration benefit from these programs as an opportunity to upskill their staff and improve retention. At the same time, they’re building a common corporate culture and team cohesion through shared experience,” said Donna Faltin, program director and associate professor of practice in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.
The program is accepting applications.
By Melissa Vidmar
The Farm Credit Administration is the independent federal agency that regulates and examines the Farm Credit System. As the nation’s oldest government-sponsored enterprise and its largest ag lender, the Farm Credit System includes a nationwide network of lending institutions that are owned by their borrowers.
AAEC recently launched a graduate-level certificate in Applied Economic Analytics program in econometric, forecasting, and data analytics tools, emphasizing foundational methods spanning economic analysis, data analytics, predictive modeling, and data visualization. The certificate prepares students by allowing them to develop high-level skills that span applied economics, agribusiness management, and data analytics.