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. 

  1. Omri Bein
  2. Nicole Currie
  3. Zachary Knutson
  4. Jared Lindsey
  5. Brianna Ahrndt McGee
  6. Skyler Ocheltree
  7. Kaileen Rouin
  8. Matthew Stanek
  9. Vania Suen
  10. Nicolas Johnson
  11. 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.”
“My favorite part of the program was the ability to work on ag solutions with my coworkers through practical examples in class, like a case study on a farmer hit by processing slowdowns that have impacted my family’s farm as well. Also, I love being an official Hokie,” said Allie Wilson ’22 M.S., associate examiner.
“My favorite part of the program was the ability to work on ag solutions with my coworkers through practical examples in class, like a case study on a farmer hit by processing slowdowns that have impacted my family’s farm as well. Also, I love being an official Hokie,” said Allie Wilson ’22 M.S., associate examiner.

“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. 

Matthew Stanek ’22 M.S., associate examiner, said “I enjoyed working with the professors in the department. All were very insightful and accommodating to our non-typical group of students.”
Matthew Stanek ’22 M.S., associate examiner, said “I enjoyed working with the professors in the department. All were very insightful and accommodating to our non-typical group of students.”

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. To inquire as an individual or if you would like to learn how this program can benefit your company and employees, please contact either Donna Faltin or Normand Adams.

Donna Faltin, Ph.D.
Program Director and Associate Professor of Practice
dfaltin@vt.edu

Normand Adams, M.S.
Graduate Program Coordinator
nadams10@vt.edu

By Melissa Vidmar