University of Vermont

Community Development and Applied Economics at the University of Vermont

Community Development and Applied Economics

Amanda Goldstein

Amanda Goldstein, M.S. '09, Certificate of Ecological Economics '09 and Peace Corps Fellow

B.S. Tulane University

Areas of interest

local food systems, intercultural connections, nutrition

Contact Information
Office: 207 Morrill Hall

Thesis Title:

Towards the transdisciplinary: The need to combat the obesity epidemic using a holistic, collaborative approach

Undergraduate and Professional Background:

  • Undergraduate- Tulane University, BS Exercise and Sports Science, with the intention to later become a physical therapist.
  • Worked as a physical therapy tech for approximately a year.
  • Served as a Peace Corps Volunteer (community health; HIV/AIDS education) in rural Malawi (June 2003 - January 2006). As I lived there, I decided that I wanted a career that would grant me the opportunity to live/work abroad. I became more interested in the public health, community development field with a particular interest in the relationship between proper nutrition and health and food systems/agriculture in general.
  • Substitute taught for a year.
  • Returned to Malawi as a Crisis Corps Volunteer (February - August 2007) to set up a home-based care training facility.
  • Started the CDAE Masters program Fall 2007 as a Peace Corps Fellow.

Graduate Courses:

Fall 2007
CDAE 326 Community Economic Dev
CDAE 354 Advanced Microeconomics
PSS 295 Agricultural Policy and Ethics
CDAE 392 Graduate Seminars

Winter 2007/8
CDAE 295 Grant Writing Principles & Practices

Spring 2008
CDAE 351 Research Methods
NR 378 Sustainable Food Production
CDAE 392 Graduate Seminars

Summer 2008
NR 385 Modeling Pollination as an Ecosystem Service

Fall 2008
NR 285 Ecological Stoichiometry
NR 385 Ecological Economics
PA 295 SL:Comm-Based Partic Research
STAT 200 Med Biostatistics & Epidem
CDAE 392 Graduate Seminars

Spring 2009
NR 384 Independent Study in NR
CDAE 391 Master's Thesis Research
GRAD 397 Master's Comprehensive Exam

Funding Grad School:

Research Assistantship for 10 hours/week and Teaching Assistantship for 10 hours/week.

Certificates Completed:

Ecological Economics

On Customizing Grad School to Fit Personal Interests:

In all honesty, I did a poor job of this. My motivation entering the CDAE program was to make myself more qualified for a future job. I was less interested in specific subject matter and figured so long as I received a degree (any which way), I would be more marketable. I also entered the program a bit shell shocked from having very recently returned from living in Malawi, and it took some time to settle in and figure things out. It was helpful that I was a funded student because I was assigned to a research project. I initially tried to design with a thesis topic intimately tied to my own interests, but it seemed too difficult to develop and conduct a thorough plan in a two year time span, let alone find faculty with enough time to support me in my efforts. However, once I resigned myself to turning the research project I was funded to work on into my thesis, I took an angle on the topic that aligned with my personal interests.

Words of Wisdom to Inquiring/Incoming MS Students:

This program (as all others actually) is truly only as good as you the effort you put forth to make it so. It definitely helps to enter the program with a study of interest in mind. Otherwise a two year time span feels like a "crunch" to finish. It is extremely important to identify the interests of program faculty to assess whether you are keen on studying what they are working on or they might be interested in advising you on a related topic of your choice. The program is small and faculty members are extremely busy- know that coming in. In addition, with a small program, comes few class options; it takes a self-motivated and independent student to piece together course offerings that lead to graduation following a certain path. However, therein lies the true beauty of the program- it is vague enough to be pliable towards any desired end. The hodgepodge nature of the community development and applied economics subject matter lends itself to a diversity of topics studied by students that is absolutely fascinating.

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