In this week’s faculty interview, we highlight Dr. Kelly Grogan! Dr. Grogan is an associate professor in the department and currently serves as the graduate coordinator. In addition to teaching, she is heavily involved in research within the department. Her research interests include bioeconomic modeling, forest management, the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices, and natural resource economics in general. Read on to learn more about our graduate coordinator!
How did you become involved in Agricultural Economics?
Prior to finding the subject, she was finishing her undergraduate studies in Environmental Studies and Economics at Dartmouth College. Like many undergraduate students, Dr. Grogan didn’t find agricultural economics until late in her studies when she was researching graduate programs. To quote, “The summer before my senior year, I started contacting faculty about graduate programs in Environmental Studies related interdisciplinary programs. Someone at the University of Michigan said ‘No, you actually want an Agricultural Economics program.’” After completing her research on programs throughout the nation, she discovered ag econ was exactly what she was looking for. She ended up completing her master’s and Ph.D. at the University of California, Davis. Though in graduate school she was evaluating options such as USDA, EPA, and academia, she made the decision to go into academia. 11 years later, she continues to make an impact on the next generation of students.
What are some things you particularly enjoy when working with undergraduate and graduate students?
At the undergraduate level, Dr. Grogan has primarily taught advanced courses to a small population of students – the majority of which are interested in continuing their education in a graduate program. She enjoys the enthusiasm students have about their education and she interacts with them at a turning point in their lives. Having conversations about applying to graduate school or jobs has always been fun for her.
At the graduate level, she highlighted more of the overall experience. She enjoyed having the opportunity to guide and follow students throughout their graduate studies as they use concepts that were used in class as part of their thesis or dissertation. Quoting, “In one of my classes we have a research proposal. I’ll see students have this idea that we developed throughout the semester. Seeing what it turns into in terms of the full dissertation is cool to watch!”
What research are you currently working on?
Though Florida has been experiencing heavy amounts of rainfall, many of us can forget the dangers of wildfires in the southeastern United States. Dr. Grogan is working on collecting data across the southeast asking owners of forest what actions they are currently taking to reduce the spread of wildfires should they occur. Based on the team’s results, they will provide policymakers with recommendations for policy options that might motivate individual landowners to do more to prevent large fires.
Which publication you would say you are most proud of?
Dr. Grogan has published quite a few but made sure to highlight a recent publication by her graduate student, Lauriane Yehouenou, in 2020. The article covered best management practices in agriculture to conserve water and prevent nutrient runoff. In June 2021, the Agricultural and Resource Economics Review (ARER) named Lauriane Yehouenou for the Young Scholar Award and Dr. Grogan for the Advisor Award during their journal award announcements. You can read the journal article here: https://doi.org/10.1017/age.2020.5
What is your favorite thing about being a graduate coordinator?
As a graduate coordinator, you have a hand in seeing application packets for programs within the department. She enjoys spending time thoroughly looking through these packets to learn more about her incoming students. It’s always exciting when they arrive to finally put a face to a name. Dr. Grogan mentioned ultimately, though, her favorite part is the opportunity she has had thus far to watch students go through the program. “Even if they’re not my student, I see them at various points throughout their careers here and then see them make it to the end and defend. Our third years are going into their fourth – this will be the first cohort that I’ll be able to see from start to finish. That is exciting!”