Spring/Summer 2023 Outstanding Seniors

May 3, 2023

Please join the Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics in congratulating our Outstanding Seniors for Spring & Summer 2023! This semester’s nominee pool was full of many graduating students who have achieved academic and personal goals, immersed themselves in university and community activities, and set great examples for their peers. With such strong and competitive nominees, the selection process was challenging. However, through all the amazing achievements and perseverance throughout their undergraduate careers, Maria D. Carey & Ayden Macleod were carefully chosen to be awarded. Read here about the academic and personal experiences, and future goals they both have. 


We want to wish each of our Spring & Summer 2023 graduating students the best of luck and opportunity in their future endeavors, and of course, remember to Bear Down, Wildcats! 


Maria D. Carey, Agribusiness Economics & Management 

The road to overcoming life’s hardships came with patience and commitment to her academic goals. As Maria said, “To be successful at this level, I needed to force myself out of my comfort zone.” Maria came to UArizona as a transfer student, which was abruptly halted due to the beginning of the pandemic. However, through her perseverance, Maria found new ways to learn and participate in university activities, which she has found to come more comfortably. Additionally, throughout her academic career, Maria was involved in community events and activities including annual science fairs at Pima Community College for two years.  

Maria explained that attending and graduating from UArizona has always been a great personal goal. She is the fourth Carey sibling to attend the UArizona and the second member to graduate from the College of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences (CALES). While attending UArizona, Maria was also recognized at the College level for CALES Exceptional Awards, in Exceptional Academic Performance and Perseverance. 

Maria intends to apply her fresh knowledge of the inner workings of agribusiness in the real world. She explains, “I'm looking forward to finding an internship/an entry-level job in the agriculture business, or the Tucson business community. I'm looking forward to beginning an incredible journey in my career and personal growth and travel!”  

Maria wrote to her freshman self: “The one thing that I would tell my freshman self would be to take advantage of Professor and TA office hours and free tutoring. Professors and TAs are there to help you succeed. Relationships with professors and TAs are key to your learning success.” 


Ayden Macleod, Environmental & Water Resource Economics  

Ayden came to UArizona initially interested in pursuing a pre-business degree. However, over time in his varied disciplined courses, he came to have an interest in “the way that environmental and economic factors interact and impact decision-making.” Therefore, he went on to declare as a double major in Environmental & Water Resource Economics and Agribusiness Management & Economics. Ayden explained his reasoning for his commitments and interests, “I have developed a strong appreciation for the intersection of business, economics, and environmental science. I am motivated to utilize my knowledge and skills to address complex economic and environmental challenges, particularly in the agricultural and water resource sectors.” To achieve this goal, Ayden has committed to advanced coursework in statistics, machine learning, and data management across courses in AREC and within his university and community activities. 

Beginning in 2020, Ayden became involved with the Multicultural Business Student Association and the Eller Global Business Association for three semesters. In both associations, Ayden was able to assist with networking events and community engagement projects and connect with other students that had an interest in international business. For Ayden’s final semester, he is a Class Preceptor for one of the program’s senior courses, AREC403, which allows him to implement student engagement through office hours and provides student one-on-one support. Moreover, outside of the classroom, Ayden is currently a part-time high school Lacrosse Coach, a volunteer cleaning the Sonoran Desert, and a community garden volunteer. Throughout Ayden’s academic career, he has also held a variety of employed positions as a marketing intern with two different companies, and a freelance graphic designer. 

Ayden will continue his academic career here at UArizona and complete his Master’s degree in AREC’s graduate program. Ayden went on to say, “Beyond my academic pursuits, I am eager to establish a career in the field of policy analysis and data-driven decision-making. I believe that the insights gained from analyzing large data sets can inform policies that have a positive impact on people's lives. I am looking forward to applying the knowledge and skills I gain in my graduate studies to help shape policy decisions that benefit communities and promote sustainable resource use.” 

Ayden wrote to his freshman self: “It’s important to strike a balance between putting in the effort and being persistent in your pursuits, while also allowing yourself to enjoy the present moment and not getting overwhelmed by anxiety about what the future holds.”