Vanessa Carrion is an international student from Ecuador who plans to wrap up her Ph.D. in Economics by the end of the fall semester. Her Ph.D. program is supported by Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management at Virginia Tech. Throughout the duration of her work with the Innovation Lab, she has completed two impact evaluation papers exploring IPM’s staying power, potato farming, and technology-based interventions for Ecuadorian farmers. Her supervisors are Dr. Jeff Alwang and Dr. George Norton.
Q1) Why are you passionate about improving agricultural circumstances in Ecuador?
A1) In Ecuador, agriculture continues to be an important source of employment, livelihood, and income, and many farmers are extremely poor. I hope that my research will shed light on how to improve the life conditions of farmers, their families, and the rural communities where they live.
Q2) What are your long-term goals for your lifelong career?
A2) I love to do research, and I am passionate about the possibility of using my research to move the world toward a better tomorrow. Upon my return to Ecuador, I would like to work on creating a research center that would mainly focus on developing new solutions to Ecuadorian problems such as poverty and inequity. I think heavy work needs to be done especially in rural areas where poverty is deepest among people of indigenous origin. Women are affected the worst. Most rural women fall into categories of poor or extremely poor.
Q3) What is your greatest joy? What makes you feel the most alive?
A3) My children are my greatest joy in life. It is amazing to watch them grow and see how they learn and grow so quickly. They are absolutely amazing!
Q4) What are you currently excited about? Any new interests?
A4) I am very interested in inequality of opportunity as it relates to intergenerational transmission of poverty. This is a topic I definitely want to explore deeply.
Q5) You are very academically driven. Are your children following in your footsteps? What are their interests at the moment?
A5) Our oldest daughter wants to be a marine biologist, and even though she is just 13 years old, she is thinking about college and how to get admission to a good university. To be honest, whether they become doctors or artists, we will be equally happy. What we really hope is that they will be fortunate enough to discover their calling at a young age and carry it with them going forward.