Thursday, September 24, 2015

Member Profile: Jose Lopez

Jose Lopez
Assistant Professor
Texas A&M University - Commerce

What motivated you to pursue Agricultural/Applied Economics as a profession?
I knew Agricultural and Applied Economics was a good career choice because my father was also an Agricultural Economist. I personally like the training Agricultural/Applied Economists receive in economic modeling and forecasting. I also like the fact that we are able to apply economic theory to solve relevant agribusiness problems nationally and internationally, and then make agricultural policy recommendations. I studied Agricultural and Applied Economics because I wanted to have strong quantitative and problem solving skills and because I wanted to be able to see and evaluate the impact of my research, which is something that many other careers lack. I am currently Interim Associate Director for the School of Agriculture at Texas A&M University – Commerce, but I also like the fact that Agricultural and Applied Economics prepares professionals for a wide range of jobs that require strong quantitative and problem solving skills.

Why did you join AAEA, and how has membership in the Association impacted your professional development?
I joined AAEA six years ago (in 2009) right before I began my professional career at Texas A&M University – Commerce. I joined AAEA because I wanted to keep-up with and learn from the top Agricultural Researchers in the nation. The AAEA annual meeting allows young faculty to develop relationships while at the same time having the opportunity to attend research sessions, poster sessions, research symposiums, and speaker series events. In fact, due to my involvement with the AAEA and the relationships I established from my participation at the AAEA, I currently serve as the President elect for the Latin American Chapter, next year I will be serving as the President. The AAEA has been an avenue for me to learn from my colleagues and interchange ideas. The feedback and ideas I interchange with other researchers at the AAEA Annual Meetings have influenced my research. Getting involved with the AAEA in administrative positions, like the Latin American Chapter, has allowed me to grow my career at A&M-Commerce. I will be serving as Interim Associate Director for the School of Agriculture for the 2015-2016 Academic Year.

What advice would you give to an up and coming Agricultural/Applied Economist?
My advice to a young Agricultural and Applied Economist is to develop relationships with other professionals in the discipline. As a young professional he/she may spend most of his/her time at his/her job, but is important not to undermine the importance of networking and developing relationships with professionals from institutions outside his/her job. As Alan Collins said in his book “Unwritten HR Rules” “Pulling a good network together takes effort, sincerity and time”. I would add, “although is not easy, establishing good relationships is worthy”.

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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