Can we foster the future of Extension through (friendly) competition?

The year 2022 is the 15th anniversary of the AAEA Graduate Student Extension Competition (GSEC). The GSEC provides an opportunity for applied economics MS and PhD students to develop Extension and/or outreach programs based on their graduate work, present their proposals to a group of outreach experts, and gain feedback. It also serves as an opportunity for networking, informal mentorship, and enhancing professional relationships and collaboration. This competition is one way to encourage applied economics graduate students to enter into Extension careers, or at least better inform them about those careers. We evaluate the competition and its outcomes for both student competitors and judges through historical information and survey data. We find that the GSEC enhances the ability of graduate students to translate research to lay audiences and can serve as a key pipeline for future Extension economists and others in outreach roles. This case study can be used to inform similar efforts for career education and mentorship efforts in Extension and outreach fields of economics.

Staples, A.J., Fontanilla-Diaz, C.A., Marshall, M.I., & Fuller, K.B. (2022). Can we foster the future of Extension through (friendly) competition? The past, present, and future of the Graduate Student Extension Competition. Applied Economics Teaching Resources, 4(2), 29-44. link.

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