Graduate & Professional Student Appreciation Week 2023 – Annie Carter

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By Mary Shelley-Snell and Annie Carter

Annie Carter is a 2021 Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications (ALEC) alumna and a current ALEC graduate student. She will be graduating this May after spending the past two years working with the Smith Center to research youth perspectives towards the ground nut value chain in Uganda through photovoice methodology. We can’t wait to see how Annie works to #GrowGlobal in the future. In honor of Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week, learn more about her experience as a Smith Center graduate research assistant below!

2023 Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation- Annie Carter

During my time as a GRA with the Smith Center, I was able to travel to Uganda to visit our research sites and meet the project participants. This was an incredible experience because I was able to connect with the people that I had been communicating with online for two years. In addition to Uganda, I was also able to travel to Greece to present our research findings at the 2022 Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) conference.

I doubt that I would have taken these trips without the Smith Center to guide me and help me have the best travel experience possible. Having advisors who have traveled worldwide and are passionate about international agriculture is one of the most empowering aspects of my grad program and has motivated me to work with international populations in the future.

Sustainable agriculture is essential for addressing the issues facing agriculture in Tennessee and beyond, so getting to be a part of that work has been such an impactful experience. Through the Smith Center, I’ve gotten to make connections with professionals that are on the frontlines of this work. I enjoy being able to see that impact in person and know that we are making change that will affect future generations.

As someone who did not take a study abroad trip in undergrad, I am forever grateful that I was able to have these experiences as a graduate student. Having international experiences, especially during your master’s courses, allows you to gain a new insight into the world of research. Not only do you get the chance to go abroad, but it encourages you to connect with people from around the world and improve your career network.