Jamaican Tara Wade, PhD, is the first graduate of the Energy & Environmental Sciences and Economics of the Energy & Environmental Systems (EES) Department at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She has become the university's Most Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year. Dr Wade was a consistently diligent student in Jamaica and in the United States but unlike many young people in her position overseas, she wants to return home to make a difference.
She tells Flair: "I would love Jamaica to be a nation that can independently feed its people. My hope is that within the next four years, I would have gained enough experience in management and policy analysis to make a contribution to Jamaica's agricultural sector," she said. Dr Wade has an interest in crop-yield trends, how climate change affects cash-crop yields and the promotion of sustainable environmentally benign agricultural practices. She believes that these are a few of the factors needed in the development of a prosperous and sustainable agricultural industry.
She stresses, "This should allow us to minimise our reliance on imported food goods, increase exports and ensure that as a nation we are able to affordably provide all citizens with their daily nutritional requirements through a wide variety of affordable food options. In effect, I would love Jamaica to be a nation that can independently feed its people."
From 2008 to 2011 Dr Wade was a research assistant at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. During that time, she worked on two projects: the first used pricing as a water conservation mechanism, and the second determined subsidies that encourage farmers to switch tillage methods. She was responsible for all the modelling and econometric components of these successfully completed projects.
Numerous awards and achievements
Dr Wade received a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Livingstone College in 2003 and a Master of Science degree in applied mathematics from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in 2005. Her doctoral research interests included environmental and natural resource economics, applied econometrics, conservation policy design and effects of climate change on agriculture.
Dr Wade has received numerous awards for academic achievements and seminar presentations. Come February, she will undertake a new assignment at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University as the principal project researcher. She is currently pursuing a career in research and academia where she can explore her interests and contribute to the knowledge base though peer-reviewed journal articles.
Tara is a St Andrew High School for Girls alumnus.
Reason for nomination
The St Andrew High School graduate received the nomination for outstanding graduate student of the year because of "the wonderful way that she has represented the university to external groups. We received glowing comments on her work during internship. Her dissertation committee included two of the top economics faculty members from the university's Economics Department, which has a PhD programme. Both faculty members were impressed with her professionalism, depth of knowledge in her research area, and ability to effectively communicate." - Excerpt of a statement from the university.