Country of Service:
How did the AREC program connect your service and help you prepare for your professional experiences?
The AREC program was a nice extension for me from my service as a rural agricultural volunteer, taking some of that practical work and applying it to larger scale problems. It was a great transition for me from Peace Corps life into a an environment where I could build on some of my peace corps experiences. I ultimately was exposed to new interests after finishing up at AREC, but I highly doubt I would have found them, nor would I have had the early skills I needed to succeed.
Why would you recommend that an RPCV join our M.S. program?
It's a great way to build on your Peace Corps experience and start to develop new skills that you can apply in a professional environment. You get exposed to great people and interesting topics and really work in an area that you are passionate about. Whether you ultimately end up continuing down your original path that you go down at AREC or go in an adjacent direction as I did, the skills and experiences you obtain at AREC are invaluable.
It's a great program and really helped me to develop the career I have today. When I was at AREC, the internet was just getting started. We honed our data modeling and other "big data" skills using the largest data sets available at the time, agricultural ones. While I personally didn't continue down an agricultural or environmental econ path, the skills I obtained and software I was exposed to enabled me to apply my skills to other industries where I ultimately found more interest. Those turned out to be digital advertising and digital marketing - I do proudly tell folks I speak with about both my PC and AREC experiences and how they shaped me and my career for the better.