I am a third-year PhD Student and Research Assistant in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University. My research is geared towards institutional and behavioral economics, food value chain development, and food policy. Much of my research examines consumer preference for food and drink, placing specific emphasis on the U.S. beer and hop markets.
My journey to agricultural and food economics began during my undergraduate studies at Westfield State University, where I received the opportunity to work on a variety of research projects with Dr. Supriya Sarnikar and Dr. Hillary Sackett-Taylor. I fell in love with the research process: the intricate details, uncovering information, and putting the pieces together. I was especially enthralled by systems thinking, examining how heuristic-driven decision making can lead to critical inefficiencies throughout the economic system.
After completing my BA in Economics at Westfield State University in May 2018, I moved to West Lafayette, Indiana to seek my MS in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University. Here, I applied my curiosity of systems thinking and environmental sustainability to the economics of brewing in the United States. Under the guidance of Dr. Carson Reeling, I completed my master’s thesis in August 2019 titled “Consumer willingness to pay for sustainability attributes in beer: A choice experiment using eco-labels.”
I now work with Dr. Trey Malone at Michigan State University, exploring complexities in agricultural value chains, examining consumer preference for food and drink, and discussing policy implications of food choice. My dissertation centers around these topics, using applications to America’s beer industry. There, I will discuss (i) the impact of the Paycheck Protection Program on keeping small businesses afloat; (ii) halo effects in the beer and hard seltzer market; and (iii) consumer demand for alcohol and cannabis products.
At the pioneer land grant institution, I have also been taught the importance of extension and outreach. I received my first exposure to extension at the 2020 Great Lakes Hops & Barley Conference, where I gave a talk on craft beer trends and marketing strategies. Since then, I have had the opportunity to present at the American Hop Convention and Master Brewers Association of the Americas Annual Conference. There is still so much more to explore, and I am eager to untangle key problems, grow into a more complete thinker and researcher, and to share what I learn to those that it has the potential to benefit most.