Two faculty members and one alumna from the University of Florida/IFAS food and resource economics department received national awards at the annual Southern Agricultural Economics Association (SAEA) conference this week.
Lisa House, Misti Sharp and Yiwen Zhao were all recognized during the virtual conference for their contributions to their discipline and success in teaching and research.
“The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences strives for excellence in teaching and mentoring our students,” said Dean Elaine Turner. “It is exciting to see our students and faculty recognized by their peers for exceptional work in their discipline.”
The SAEA promotes and extends the knowledge and understanding of agricultural economics and its application to problems facing the southern U.S.
Lifetime Achievement Award
House earned the Lifetime Achievement Award, given to one of the association’s members with at least 25 years of service for continued significant contributions to the profession. She currently serves as professor and chair for the UF/IFAS food and resource economics department. In her career, House has published 79 journal articles, attracted more than $19 million in grants and taught nearly 4,000 students at UF.
House’s first professional presentation as a graduate student was given at the annual SAEA conference in 1993. Since then, she has brought more than 20 of her own students to share in the same experience, presenting research and improving their work based on feedback from others.
“This recognition is special to me for two reasons,” House said. “First, it focuses on research, teaching and outreach with specific ties to the Southern Region of the U.S., and second, because I was nominated and selected by my peers.”
The research, outreach and service efforts House has given to the world of agricultural economics have continued to make an impact to the southern United States. She has conducted research on southern agricultural products as varied as citrus, oysters, blueberries, tomato juice, fresh vegetables and tung oil. She has also mentored 16 doctoral students and 54 master’s students, and she has served on an additional 48 graduate committees.
Outstanding Teaching of a Course
Sharp, lecturer in food and resource economics, received the Outstanding Teaching of a Course award. The award was given for her work teaching Agricultural Data Analysis. While the course is one of many Sharp teaches, it highlights her innovation and success in developing undergraduate students’ technical skills.
“Dr. Sharp had taken a core data analysis class for undergraduate students that is often disliked and turned it into one of the highest rated classes,” said House. “She is passionate about working with all types of students and helping them develop into the best professionals they can be.”
Sharp has served as faculty in the UF/IFAS food and resource department since 2016.
Outstanding MS Thesis
Zhao recently received her Master of Science degree in food and resource economics and received the Outstanding MS Thesis award for her work.
The thesis, “Investigating the Factors Leading to Preference Misreporting in Second-Price Auctions and the Resulting Implications for Researchers,” focused on providing recommendations to improve the quality of data collected through experimental auctions. This data collection method is often used by agricultural economists to understand a consumer’s willingness to pay. Her results suggest a simple data collection method, which researchers can use to help identify inconsistent bidders, making data collected by agricultural economists more accurate in the future.
Zhao graduated with her master’s degree in 2020. Bachir Kassas, food and resource economics assistant professor, served as her adviser.