Steve Hastings’ China Trip Travel Log

July 10, 2013 under CANR News

hastingschinatripChina Trip
Steven E. Hastings
Professor and Associate Chair, Applied Economics and Statistics
June 17 – June 30, 2013

To view the photos from Hastings’ trip, check out his Flickr page.

This trip actually began several months ago when I saw an announcement for a trip to China for University of Delaware alumni, faculty and staff. The trip directors were UD faculty member and world-renowned violinist Xiang Gao and his wife Renee. Thinking this would be a unique opportunity to see China, I asked Jeanne if she was interested.

So, months later– with new luggage, several immunizations and a wallet full of new $20 bills (the only bills banks will accept for exchange), we boarded a chartered bus in Newark bound for JKF Airport to catch a flight to Beijing.

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UD alums return to campus to share insights into environmental careers

March 15, 2013 under CANR News

University of Delaware students interested in pursuing environmental careers had the opportunity to learn from UD alumni who are now professionals in various environmental fields at the second annual Environmental Career Morning held on Saturday, March 9, in Townsend Hall.

The seven panelists at the Environmental Career Morning included:

  • Maia Tatinclaux, a graduate student studying environmental engineering at the University of Maryland;
  • Samantha Loprinzo, associate at ICF International;
  • Matthew Loaicono, market analyst at Monitoring Analytics;
  • Kristen Atwood, research assistant at ICF International;
  • Chelsea Halley, environmental scientist at the Site Investigation and Restoration Section of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control;
  • Kristen DeWire, assistant attorney general in the Office of the Attorney General, Maryland Department of the Environment; and
  • Alex DeWire, environmental scientist, Tetra Tech Inc.

The panel was moderated by Steve Hastings, professor and associate chair of the Department of Applied Economics and Statistics, who organized the event and taught all of the former students on the panel.

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) Dean Mark Rieger was in attendance and he addressed the panelists, saying he was pleased to see all the alumni come back to help educate the current students. “Our graduates go out and do wonderful things and they change the world. So I’m so glad that you took the time to come back here and tell about your journey and how best to get from here to do that,” Rieger said.

The panelists talked about their personal experiences, ranging from trips to Cameroon with the Peace Corps to spending months working places part-time before finally landing a job in their desired field and, of course, the differences between college and the working world.

“Working and having a job and having bosses and deadlines, there are definitely higher stakes,” explained Atwood. “If you miss a paper, or if it’s a day late in college, you can apologize to the professor and maybe get a little markdown, but if you miss a deadline in the working world, it’s definitely a bigger deal. I had to learn how to keep better track of what I was working on and what I needed to get done.”

Loprinzo echoed those thoughts, saying, “You really have to be on top of your work and it’s important to set your own deadlines. You have to motivate yourself to get everything done and be organized enough to keep on top of everything.”

While the panelists did offer individual nuggets of wisdom, there were some pieces of advice that were universal. For instance, all the panelists agreed that taking some sort of communication or public speaking course while still at UD would be incredibly beneficial to the students.

“No matter what job you do, you have to be able to communicate well,” explained DeWire.

Tatinclaux agreed, saying, “Communicating and public speaking and being confident, that’s really important. Just in the interview process, it’s so important to be friendly, open and have a level of confidence when you’re talking to your potential employer because that goes so far.”

Loprinzo even talked about taking advantage of places on campus like the Career Services Center, as she explained that she went there as a student and took part in mock interviews to prepare for the real world interviews she would face.

Other important skills mentioned by the panelists were an understanding of statistics, the ability to manipulate large data sets and proficiency in software like statistical software and geographic information systems.

UD Alums return to talk about Environmental CareersAll of the panelists also stressed patience in applying for jobs and perseverance because with so many people applying for a finite number of jobs, it might take students awhile before they are hired. Loaicono explained that he applied for about 200 jobs before finally landing the one that he wanted.

Loaicono also said that when going in for an interview, it is important to learn about the company and to come up with 5-10 questions to ask about the firm during the interview. “The more you know about the company, the more that you’re interested in what they’re actually trying to do,” is beneficial, he said, adding, “Even if you know this is going to be a steppingstone, you definitely want to ask good questions.”

Other pieces of advice included looking at job descriptions posted on-line for “buzzwords” to be included in resumes, tailoring resumes every time to fit a particular company’s needs, attending career fairs and making connections, remembering names and faces and the importance of a master’s degree, while at the same time understanding the risks of incurring mountains of debt in student loans.

Halley, who graduated just one year ago, stressed that it is important for the students to take a wide range of courses while they are undergraduates, as it will help to inform them — like it did her — on what they like and what they don’t like.

“When I was choosing classes, part of me just wanted to take all science classes but I did branch out and take some economics classes. It is important to have that wide background and also to see what you like and what you don’t like. I took a wildlife course about birds and I hated it and it made me realize that I don’t want to work in fish and wildlife. But I didn’t know that until I took that course so I think you learn something from every course, whether it’s negative or positive.”

In the end Hastings summed it up for all those in attendance, saying that finding a career is “not a straight road. It’s a crooked road to get where you want to be and you just need to keep that in mind.” And though the road is crooked, he added that the crooked road can also be “kind of exciting, as well.”

Article by Adam Thomas

Photos by Danielle Quigley

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

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An economist and an artist

February 8, 2013 under CANR News

Steve Hastings knows the science of economics and is learning the nuances of art, the latter of which was recently shown at the Oxford Arts Alliance’s “University of Delaware: Past and Present” where Hastings had two pieces on display.

Hastings, professor and associate chair in the Department of Applied Economics and Statistics, had his passion for sculpting and welding stoked back in 2007 when he took a welding class in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and then continued on by taking a week long workshop with a prominent metal sculpture named Stan Smokler in 2008.

Steve Hastings is an economist and an artistOne of the pieces that was on display at the Oxford Arts Alliance is titled “Protection” and Hastings explained he made the piece while taking an independent study at UD in the fall of 2012 with David Meyer, associate professor of art.

As part of an assignment, Hastings had to build a 3-dimensional object that had a frame and had a skin attached to the frame. Hastings explained that if you were to flip the piece over, “You’ll see there’s a frame in there that I built out of straps, and small strips of wood” and on the outside of “Protection” are “pieces of ply wood that have been stacked together, sliced and then attached to that frame.”

The resulting piece turned out to be “Protection” and Hastings said that everyone seems to have their own interpretation about the piece.

“My original idea was a tortoise shell but several people have seen this, and some people have said it’s a shield, some people have said a biking helmet, some people have said that it could be conceived as a tribal mask of some kind. So, it’s kind of what you see in it. My idea was very different than what other people have seen.”

Hastings said that the piece took between 25-30 hours to complete and was his first time working with wood for a sculpture.

Of the connection between art and economics, Hastings said, “They cross over some. I would argue that economics is a rigorous discipline, mathematical, and structured–where art is more subjective. And so, that may be part of what I like about it, that it’s so different from what I do every day and what I teach in my classes.”

Hastings especially likes working with metal, and he said that his family and his upbringing on a farm in Sussex County–where he watched his father make or fix things on the farm as needed–inspire his art.

“I think it all goes back to growing up on this farm in Sussex County and I have a piece out in the yard that is all old farm wheels that kind of represent different eras in our family farm. I use old tools a lot to make garden signs and those kinds of things so I think it all goes back to my farm upbringing basically.”

Article by Adam Thomas

Photo by Danielle Quigley

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Hong Yin finishes up school with multiple areas of study

January 17, 2013 under CANR News

Hong Yin will graduate in the spring with 3 majors and 2 minorsHong Yin has more majors (3) and minors (2) than years it took to graduate from the University of Delaware (4).

She is majoring in food and agribusiness marketing and management (FABM) and in resource economics in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), and in operations management in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics — and minoring in economics  and international business with a foreign language. That might seem unmanageable to some, but not to Yin.

Yin, who is originally from China and who attended the University of Delaware’s English Language Institute to learn the English language, has maintained a grade point average of above 3.0 despite taking such a full course load. She said that in addition to the educational advantage of taking so many classes, she took a lot of classes for another reason, as well — to meet more people.

“I’m not from here so I figured, if I take more classes, I will know more people and then I will meet more friends. It worked out really well.”

Yin said that she enjoys all of her areas of study, and especially likes that they are so different. “For example, the FABM is more focused on the agriculture sector. Resource economics is more focused on environmental concerns that businesses are facing today. On the other hand, operations management is more about making everything efficient and eliminating waste.”

Yin singled out Steven Hastings, professor and associate chair in CANR’s Department of Applied Economics and Statistics (APEC), for making his introductory level economics class so interesting that it spurred her to look into APEC to find a major that she liked. It turned out, that she found two.

One of those majors could come in very handy, especially to her parents. “My parents have a company in China. They sell dairy products, like baby formulas,” said Yin. “And they said, ‘If you don’t find a satisfying career in the U.S. after you graduate, the family business could benefit from your education.’ That’s why I added the FABM major.”

Yin now has Hastings as an advisor and she said that he is “really helpful. He helps students plan out what they want and he is always there, always in the office and whenever you email him, even on the breaks, it is really easy to get in touch with him and talk about what you want and then he gives you really good suggestions.”

Of Yin, Hastings said, “I have known Hong for three years, since she declared her second and third majors, both in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. I was immediately impressed with her enthusiasm and motivation.” Hastings added, “While many students take random courses for electives, Hong was adamant — she wanted to take courses that counted for another major. She is a wonderfully pleasant young lady that has accomplished a great deal.”

As for her favorite part about UD, Yin said that she enjoys the outdoor areas available for students to study. “I like The Green a lot because where I’m from in China, there are not many stretches of green areas. In the summer it is really beautiful.”  Yin added that she also enjoys, “the Botanic Garden in the spring. I appreciate the plants much more because of Professor Swasey’s—Professor Emeritus in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences–flower arranging class.”

Article by Adam Thomas

Photo by Danielle Quigley

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Natural Resource Management turns out law school students, legal professionals

August 7, 2012 under CANR News

Renee Connor had wanted to be a lawyer since high school and thanks to the University of Delaware’s Natural Resource Management (NRM) program, she is well on her way to achieving her goal. Connor has been accepted into the University of Maryland’s Francis King Carey School of Law.

Connor, who graduated from UD in 2012 with a double major in NRM and political science, said that after figuring out that she wanted to pursue a career in law, she had to decide which branch of law she wanted to study. “When I looked into environmental law, that seemed like something I’d be really interested in,” she said, adding that it made sense to major in NRM to pursue a career in that field.

The NRM program, housed in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, helped Connor in many ways but she said that perhaps the most significant benefit was providing her with enriching and diverse coursework. “I took a lot of classes in different areas,” said Connor. “I took economics classes, science classes and policy classes, and I feel like it was a good major to prepare me for law school because you have to understand a wide range of topics to do environmental law.”

Steve Hastings, professor in the Department of Applied Economics and Statistics and at the Agricultural Experiment Center, said of Connor’s acceptance into law school, “Renee was a very focused student who knew she wanted to be an attorney — she worked hard to achieve that goal.”

Hastings echoed Connor’s sentiments about the plethora of educational opportunities afforded to those who choose to major in NRM.

“NRM is an excellent interdisciplinary major that exposes students to both physical and social sciences,” said Hastings. “It is this mix that makes it a great preparation for law school or graduate school in a variety of areas. In fact, which area to pursue is the hardest decision the students have to make.”

Connor joins a number of NRM graduates who have gone on to law school and become lawyers. Among them is Kristen DeWire, a 2004 UD graduate who works as an assistant attorney general in the office of the attorney general in Maryland. Specifically, her role is to represent the Maryland Department of the Environment.

DeWire said that she decided to study NRM at UD because of her love of outdoor activities such as camping and hiking. She also said that she thought she would be more successful in the policy side of environmental issues instead of “focusing on environmental science or environmental engineering.”

She also enjoyed the fact that the NRM major would give her a diverse group of classes from which to choose. “Being able to do analysis and analytical writing through communications, economics and environmental law classes, and from internship experiences, was really helpful in terms of being able to think critically and analytically about applying theories to particular sets of facts, which is a lot of what legal practice is.”

DeWire added that the science classes she took, from soil science to geology, provided her a head start when it comes to examining legal cases in those areas and the work has proven beneficial when talking with experts and preparing for cases.

DeWire also said that the small classes sizes, the excellent faculty and the “family environment” of CANR added a lot to her undergraduate experience.

Internship opportunities

One thing that Connor and DeWire have in common is that they both took advantage of an internship opportunity while they were undergraduates in the NRM program.

Connor worked at UD’s Garden for the Community, an internship she said she really enjoyed because it gave her a hands-on experience working outdoors.

DeWire had two internships during her time at UD, both sponsored by CANR’s Delaware Water Resources Center. The first involved working on a paper focusing on the impact of a Supreme Court ruling on the federal jurisdiction over wetlands in Delaware, and the second involved her working at the Water Resources Agency (WRA) surveying a stream running through UD’s campus and making recommendations for restoration.

Article by Adam Thomas

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

 

 

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Joshua Duke Elected President of NAREA

May 25, 2012 under CANR News

Joshua M. Duke, professor in the Department of Food and Resource Economics, has been elected president for the Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association (NAREA), a group of 250 agricultural and resource economists focused on promoting education and research on economic and social problems related to the environment, natural resource use, agricultural production, and economic development.

Duke has held every major position within the organization, from being an elected member of the executive board, to serving as co-editor with Titus Awokuse, chair of the Department of Food and Resource Economics, of the peer-reviewed journal Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, the official publication of the NAREA. Duke also served as workshop organizer and on the local arrangements committee for the annual meeting. He received the distinguished member award from the group in 2010, only the third UD recipient after Conrado M. Gempesaw II, former dean of the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, and Steve Hastings, professor and associate chair in the Department of Food and Resource Economics.

Duke said that he is honored to be elected president and is incredibly excited for the opportunity to head such a great organization. “My career benefited tremendously from the collegiality, sharing of research, and networking opportunities afforded by NAREA,” said Duke. “One of my goals as president will be to recruit the next group of leaders to the organization.” He will begin his 3-year term in June and he said that he is most looking forward to organizing the program for the 2013 annual meeting. “It’s a great opportunity to shape an annual meeting by categorizing selected-paper panels and inviting renowned experts to speak,” said Duke.

Awokuse said of Duke being named president, “I’m excited about the election of Joshua Duke as the next president-elect of NAREA.  This is a great honor for Josh and it is a culmination of his many years of faithful service to NAREA in various roles. As a friend and colleague for over a decade, I can attest to Josh’s passion for professional excellence and commitment to a life of service to others.  As leader, he will lead the organization to greater heights.”

Duke will be the 4th faculty member to serve as president for the NAREA from the University of Delaware. Past presidents include Gempesaw, Gerald Cole, emeritus professor in the Department of Food and Resource Economics, and Hastings.

There are other strong ties between the NAREA and the University of Delaware as well, as Awokuse, John Bernard, Tom Ilvento, professors of food and resource economics, and Kent Messer, associate professor of food and resource economics, are also involved in the organization.

For more information about NAREA, visit their website.

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Environmental professionals speak to UD students about careers

April 2, 2012 under CANR News

A number of University of Delaware students spent their St. Patrick’s Day learning about potential career paths from environmental professionals at the 2012 Environmental Career Morning event hosted by the Department of Food and Resource Economics in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR).

Panelists included representatives from federal and state government, an analyst from a consulting firm and a coordinator from the non-profit sector.

After a welcome from Steve Hastings, professor in the department, the four professionals engaged in a panel discussion, answering questions from Hastings, who served as the panel moderator, and from the students in attendance. The panel was followed by a mingling session during which the students got to meet the professionals in a one-on-one setting.

Kate Miller, a senior environmental studies major in the College of Arts and Sciences and an Honors Program student, attended the event and said that the panelists offered great advice to the students. “I feel like a lot of the advice students receive about the job market is either very sugar coated or downright depressing,” she said, “so it was refreshing to have professionals share their experiences in a way that made you feel like even though finding the job you want can be difficult at times, it can certainly be done.”

Miller, who plans to pursue a master’s degree in water science and policy at UD and hopes to eventually work in watershed policy for either the government or a non-profit agency, added that the panelists presented great tips about the hiring process and provided helpful insight into resumes and interview skills.

Erika Farris, a UD alumna and an environmental scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water, was one of the panelists, and offered up some advice to current students seeking a career in the environmental field, saying that it is important to obtain as much experience as possible and to pursue an advanced degree. She also stressed the importance of remaining open minded when looking for a career. “Even if something does not fit perfectly with your interests,” she said, “you can probably learn something from the experience, and may even discover new interests or skills.”

Farris — who graduated from UD with a bachelor’s degree in 2007 and a master’s degree in 2009, and who had Hastings as an undergraduate adviser — said that she had wanted to be a part of a career day because she can remember what it was like being a student and looking for a job. “I remember being in their shoes, not that long ago, and being uncertain about what opportunities existed with that major,” she said.

Besides reaching out to the students and providing them career advice, Farris also said that she wanted to take part in Career Morning because she was “interested in hearing about the career interests of current students, and learning about what career paths other alumni have taken.”

Jennifer Walls, the principal planner for the planning section of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), also sat on the panel. She explained that it is important for students entering the work force to “be flexible and open to job opportunities outside of your major.” She encouraged students to “think outside of the box when looking for jobs, and take part in as many internships as you can as an undergraduate or graduate student. If you can’t find an internship, then volunteer locally.”

Melissa Luxemberg, a senior in CANR and an Honors Program student, said that with graduation approaching, she is trying to keep all doors open as to what she can do for a future career, so she enjoyed being able to speak with professionals from the environmental field. “It was great to pick their brains about the opportunities they think are most promising for someone with my major and degree.”

Panelists included:

  • Jennifer Walls, principal planner for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Planning Section;
  • Erika Farris, environmental scientist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water;
  • Samantha Loprinzo, analyst for the consulting firm ICF International; and
  • Erin McVey, watershed coordinator for the non-profit organization Sassafras River Association.

Article by Adam Thomas

This article can also be viewed on UDaily

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Ashley Fry Prepares for Career in Higher Education

March 6, 2012 under CANR News

As an undergraduate at the University of Delaware, Ashley Fry said that she wanted to study statistics in the Department of Food and Resource Economics in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) because of the plethora of career opportunities it would provide.

Now, as a master’s student studying counseling in higher education in the College of Education and Human Development and working as a graduate assistant in the CANR Office of Academic Programs and Student Services, Fry said that she has her career choice set on working in higher education.

Fry, who graduated in 2010 and also minored in math and business administration, said she hadn’t figured out what she wanted to do with her future until her senior year as an undergraduate, and that the activities in which she participated outside of the classroom fostered her interest in working in higher education.

“I was really involved on-campus as an undergraduate student,” said Fry, who worked in the Admissions office, as a Blue Hen Ambassador tour guide, as a student admissions officer during her senior year, as a new student orientation leader for two summers, and as an Ag Ambassador.

Convinced that she wanted to make a career in higher education, Fry started looking into graduate programs that were related to the field.

She credits Kimberly Yackoski, assistant dean of student services in CANR, and Latoya Watson, undergraduate services coordinator in CANR, for guiding her to graduate school for studies in university administration.

Yackoski suggested that Fry do a discovery learning experience—a requirement for all undergraduate students—in her office.

The experience went so well that Yackoski asked Fry if she would be interested in continuing in the office as a graduate assistant.

“Ashley epitomizes the perfect colleague,” said Yackoski.  “She’s got an amazing work ethic, is forward thinking, and thoughtfully juggles all the roles we play in the office each and every day.”

Said Fry, “I got really lucky that I got to essentially blend my new experiences in my grad program and apply them to the office here, in the college that I had already had such a strong feeling for.”

Talking about her day-to-day routine, Fry said that her main role in the CANR office is that of academic advisement and support. Working in the office has taught her to balance a lot of different projects at the same time, something that she relishes. “On any given day, I could be meeting with a student, I could be in a meeting with people from this office (CANR) or other offices around campus, I could be doing a presentation, or I could be sitting here answering emails.”

Fry said one of her goals in the office is to strengthen the partnership between CANR and the University’s Career Services Center.  “I think that they offer so many wonderful services for students that I really want to make sure that we’re promoting to our students to take advantage of.”

If class and working at CANR weren’t enough of a workload for Fry, she also has an internship at the counseling center as part of her graduate program where she mainly does career-based counseling for clients. So a typical day for her can involve any mix of class, work at the counseling center or work at CANR. “I’m just going back and forth all the time,” she said.

As she prepares to graduate in May with a master’s degree in counseling in higher education, Fry said she is looking forward to starting her professional career, but will also miss CANR, a college with which she had strong ties since before she even stepped foot on campus as a freshman.

“Being a prospective student in high school, I remember calling up my future adviser, Dr. (Tom) Ilvento,” said Fry. “And Dr. (Steve) Hastings was the first person I met here so, even from just being a high school prospective student, I started building relationships with people in the college which have only strengthened and become more meaningful to me through my undergraduate experience and beyond. I’m just really thankful for everything they’ve done for me.”

Article by Adam Thomas

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Natural resource management internships sprout successful alumni

September 16, 2010 under CANR News

For students with an interest in the environment, the natural resource management (NRM) major, introduced in the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources in 1997, opened up a cutting-edge program that combined science, economics, and public policy.

Now, current students and graduates in the NRM major are relaying their skills into successful internships and employment with companies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Delaware Water Resources Center, IFC International and the Peace Corps.

“At that time (in 1997), the college didn’t have an interdisciplinary major, where you learned a little economics, a little plant science, a little entomology and wildlife ecology, and then took that background into the job market,” said Steven Hastings, professor of food and resource economics.

“The students in NRM are very good students, they’re very motivated students, and they have a passion for the environment,” he added. “They’ve got a lot of initiative. I think that’s what employers look for in potential interns today.”

NRM students have also continued their education in graduate programs all over the country, studying urban planning, zoology, environmental law, coastal zone management and more. The diverse and demanding major, which also includes courses on communications and ethics, gives students a foundation for advanced degrees in a variety of subjects, Hastings said.

“It’s a fairly rigorous major,” he said. “We had a student this past semester who applied to six very good graduate programs and was accepted at all six.”

Jennifer Popkin, a former NRM major, interned with the United Nations as the climate change coordinator after she graduated from the University in 2009. She served as the project manager of their global climate change project for six months.

Popkin said the intimate nature of the NRM program allowed her to interact closely with professors and other students, which led to numerous opportunities including an intensive research project.

“I spent the fall of my senior year studying how the trade and economic policy of India affect watershed development,” she said. “There were four students in total on this research project, and we each studied a different aspect of development. Part of the research included a trip to India.”

Kristen Loughery, also a graduate of the program, completed internships at the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), AmeriCorps, and a private environmental consulting firm while at the university.

“NRM provided me with a broad education, which prepared me to work towards my goals as an environmentalist,” Loughery said.

After receiving a master’s degree in natural resource economics, Loughery was hired by the EPA, where she said “it is extremely important to apply my education in policy, human behavior as it relates to incentives, and general scientific knowledge, all of which I attained through NRM.”

Hastings said internships are vital in helping students to explore career paths and see the real world implications of the issues they study at UD.

“Two interns that were working for me this summer, I found them out in the marsh one day, covered in mud, swatting mosquitoes,” Hastings said. “I think it’s very good for them to get out and get their hands dirty.”

Article by Chelsea Caltuna

This article can also be viewed on UDaily by clicking here.

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