AEDE Doctoral Student Interns at USDA’s Economic Research Service

July 28, 2014

Kathryn Dotzel, a doctoral student studying under Alessandra Faggian at AEDE, is spending her summer interning at the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), a highly competitive position that students from across the country compete for annually.

As an intern in the Rural Economy Branch of the Resource and Rural Economics Division (RRED) of the agency, she is working with David McGranahan, Tim Wojan, and Sarah Low, well known experts in their fields, to analyze the pilot results of the Rural Establishment Innovation Survey. The survey, which was launched for the first time in 2013, is a national survey of business innovation in rural America. Over a six-month period, the survey collected information from the rural business sector, such as manufacturing and professional services, with the goal of understanding to what extent rural businesses engage in innovative activity and how public funding can support rural business development.

Dotzel is spending the summer using statistical methods that she has fine-tuned while a graduate student to analyze survey responses. Her work will contribute to a conference paper that will be presented at the 61st Annual North American meetings of the Regional Science Association International (RSAI) in Washington, D.C. in November 2014.

“Rural business innovation is a topic of national importance which incorporates several of my interests, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to apply knowledge I have gained during my graduate studies to a project that could ultimately inform policy,” notes Dotzel.

At AEDE, Dotzel studies regional and development economics. For her second year doctoral paper, titled “Do Natural Amenities Influence Undergraduate Student Migration Decisions,” she conducted a comparative analysis of the influence of university natural amenities on nonresident enrollment based on the amenities of a student's origin location. During the 2014-2015 academic year, Dotzel has secured a research assistant position with Joyce Chen working on a project funded by the National Science Foundation that examines the impact of sea-level rise and climate change on migration patterns in Bangladesh. 

July 28, 2014