Thursday, February 15, 2024

Announcing the 2024 Extension Competition for Graduate Students

The AAEA Extension Competition for Graduate Students provides an opportunity to develop
and/or get feedback on programs that communicate research and practical information to
Extension (usually non-economist) audiences. Entries can be based upon graduate student
research for a thesis, dissertation or other academic work. The competition is sponsored by the
Extension and Graduate Student Sections.

Note: This year, we will once again work with applicants who cannot or do not wish to
attend the conference in person. The details below refer to our current plan and may

Who’s Eligible?
Graduate students currently engaged in topics related to agricultural economics, agribusiness,
natural resources, and community resource economics as well as those who graduated from
such programs in Spring 2024 or later.

Participants must identify and work with a mentor with experience in outreach or extension

The Application:
Applications should be addressed to Curtis Mahnken at and must include:

  1. Student’s name, university, department, address and contact information.
  2. Title of the extension program to be delivered.
  3. A summary of the proposed extension program. This should include project outcomes, target audience, delivery plans, communication methods and activities planned for distributing the information to the public such as fact sheets, reports, web sites, spreadsheets, and presentations (4 page maximum). If the applicant was part of a team, the role of the applicant within the team must be made clear. If the proposed project is building upon the success of other extension programs, the summary should include a description of the previous program and the innovative approach of this proposed project.
  4. An educational popular press article limited to 500 words and no more than two graphics (tables, charts, etc.). This should be an addendum to your submission packet. Examples include: and
  5. A detailed evaluation plan. This should be an addendum to your submission packet. You may choose to develop your project using a logic model (which is not required). You can see more information on logic models below.*
  6. A profile of the applicant’s background and research (1 page maximum).
  7. The mentor’s name and description of the mentor’s role in the project.

Criteria for Selecting Finalists
Finalists will be selected using the following rubric:

All required information submitted (5 points)                                                          
Target audience identification
         Importance of problem (10 points)                                                                         
        Description of target audience and their identification (10 points)                           
Development of program
        Outline of goals (10 points)                                                                                      
        Description of how the proposed outcomes address issue (15 points)                      
        Summary of research to be communicated (10 points)                          
        Presentation of program proposed outcomes (15 points)                                   
Popular press article extension output (15 points)                                                            
Detailed evaluation plan, including a discussion (10 points)                                            
Total (100 points)

Finalists at AAEA
Finalists will be selected to make a 15-minute presentation at the AAEA meeting either
virtually or in New Orleans, LA on Sunday July 28, 2024, to a panel of judges, who will then
ask 5 minutes of questions. The competition will begin at 8AM CDT. Selection of the finalists
will be based on the material submitted and the criteria listed above. Finalists will be notified by
June 5, 2024. The top three finalists are expected to make presentations during an AAEA
Extension track organized symposium if present in New Orleans, LA or virtually. Date and
time are to be determined (likely Tuesday, July 30).

Cash awards will be given to those judged to be the top three graduate students in this
competition. Award funding is provided by the AAEA Extension Section through membership
dues and via support provided by sponsors. Awards are:

            First Place: $1,000 and a plaque
            Second Place: $300 and a certificate
            Third Place: $200 and a certificate

Other finalists receive finalist certificates.

The top 3 competitors selected will be recognized at the AAEA Awards ceremony on the
evening of July 29. All finalists will be provided tickets to the Extension Luncheon on July 24
during the AAEA annual meetings.

Submission Deadline: Midnight CDT on Friday, May 10, 2024. Email entries to Curtis
Mahnken, Competition Committee Chair at Finalists will be notified by
June 5, 2024.

*Logic models, often linked with program evaluation, can also be useful for planning a program.
You can find many examples of logic models online, including:

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