Friday, August 14, 2015

Member Profile: Jane Kolodinsky

Jane Kolodinsky

University of Vermont

What motivated you to pursue Agricultural/Applied Economics as a profession?
While some professionals have a clear vision of their career track at the beginning of their educational pursuits, I actually never thought I would end up where I am today. My B.S. is in nutrition. I thought I was going to be a dietitian. In the 1980’s dieticians did not have the autonomy they have now. So, I pursued an MBA and thought I would work in the food industry. Industry was not my destiny. After researching what type of PhD I would be prepared for, I found Consumer Economics. I studied Consumer Economics and Housing at Cornell with minors in Agricultural Economics and Marketing. Little did I know that almost 30 years later a perfect storm would brew. My transdisciplinary background has come of age. Food Systems is the new Agricultural/Consumer Economics and I am prepared for the future I didn’t know was coming. At a time when many professionals are thinking about sun-setting their careers, I have more motivation (and projects) than ever and remain enthusiastic and energized for the next phase of my career.

Why did you join AAEA, and how has membership in the Association impacted your professional development?
I joined AAEA early in my career, as my “second” professional organization. I had early leadership opportunities at the American Council on Consumer Interests and was fortunate to chair a joint program with AAEA. When ACCI took a different direction several years ago AAEA became my primary professional organization. AAEA has provided me with opportunities to present, publish and network. AAEA welcomed me in leadership positions. I have had the opportunity to give back as chair of Food Safety and Nutrition section and am looking forward to chairing the Food and Marketing Policy Section.

What advice would you give to an up and coming Agricultural/Applied Economist?
Embrace the transdisciplinary future while pursuing deep knowledge in an area of applied economics. The world is defined by problems, not disciplines. Teams are needed that are able to speak across disciplines, have respect for other disciplines, and are able to use the tools in our applied toolboxes to tackle the complex problems we face in agriculture, the environment, and in our communities.

This post is part of an ongoing series of profiles of AAEA members. Have a suggestion for a future profile? Send them to

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