The Food and Resource Economics Department would like to congratulate two of our faculty members for receiving Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) awards! Dr. Zhifeng Gao, Professor, received the award for Distinguished Graduate Teaching, 10 or more years of experience, and Dr. Lisa House, Department Chair and Professor, received the AAEA Mentoring Award.
The Distinguished Graduate Teaching award recognizes and encourages meritorious performance in teaching agricultural or applied economics.
“Dr. Gao has been on the thesis and dissertation committee of 64 graduate students. He chaired or co-chaired 15 dissertation and 11 thesis committees. His students have presented more than 46 papers/posters at meetings and co-authored with him on more than 30 refereed journal articles.” His students value his teaching and high standards, saying, “Dr. Gao always draws a full picture of the research questions and encourages students to learn more about the topic to broaden their knowledge base. Most importantly, he helps us build foundations and confidence in academic research.”. Another student noting that they “wouldn’t be who I am today” without Dr. Gao’s mentoring and guidance.
The purpose of the Mentoring Award is to recognize individuals in our association who have systematically shown consistent, outstanding efforts in fostering junior, female, and/or minority colleagues.
“Dr. House has mentored a total of 119 graduate students, of which 65 (55%) have been female and 61 (51%) were a minority. In her capacity as a research mentor (Chair or Co-Chair of Ph.D. or MS-thesis students), she guided 39 students, 24 (62%) of which were female and 28 (72%) were a minority. Dr. House was not only a committee member or Chair for these students. Her guidance is more robust, giving them the tools they need to become successful in the profession; training them to publish high-quality articles, and encouraging them to participate in the AAEA and SAEA. She has published 34 articles with graduate students, co-authored 80 meetings papers and presentations with students.” Her students recognize her for their success in academia and shaping them into good mentors and they also can rely on her for advice for work and also life. One student says, “The invisible power is that knowing she is nearby to support and advocate for me significantly boosts my courage and confidence to step out of my comfort zone to connect with colleagues and industry stakeholders”. Other faculty members note her ability to engage young faculty at professional meetings, saying she takes the “burden of initiating the conversation on herself and allowing these new faculty to feel comfortable and welcome at the meetings and in the profession”.