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Jenna Rice

About Jenna

What were you doing prior to your degree program?

Prior to pursuing my MPS degree, I served with AmeriCorps NCCC, which is a full-time, team-based, and residential service program. I was afforded the opportunity to gain experience in a variety of fields, including wildfire relief, elementary education, nutrition assistance, and sustainable agriculture. I completed projects across California, Oregon, and Alaska. My passion for sustainable agriculture and nutrition assistance was ignited while working at a small food bank farm in Oregon during my service with AmeriCorps.

Why did you choose to pursue the MPS degree?

I ultimately decided on Cornell’s MPS program because I knew I would get an outstanding education and because this program actively supports multidisciplinary learning. Students are offered a great deal of flexibility when choosing their coursework and capstone project. I was able to tailor my schedule to best fit my needs and interests, which has prepared me well to enter the workforce.

What are the strengths of your program, in your opinion?

The strengths of the MPS degree, in addition to the program’s flexibility, are the incredible faculty, staff, and students in the Cornell community. The camaraderie among the natural resource MPS students is really wonderful, and the knowledge I’ve gained from my relationships with them is invaluable. I have felt consistently supported by my professors, MPS and DNR faculty and staff (shout out to Dr. Steve Morreale!), classmates, and my advisor Dr. Marianne Krasny. I am extremely thankful for the relationships I have made during my time at Cornell.

What are your short term and long-term career goals?

In the short term, I hope to garner more experience in the urban agriculture industry. Right now, I am learning a lot as the Communications Intern at Ithaca Children's Garden. A long-term goal of mine is to enhance local food security through urban agriculture programming.

What courses stand out as most helpful for your specific career goals?

Agricultural and Food Policy (a microeconomics course taught by Dr. Bradley Rickard) and Food, Agriculture, and Society (taught by Dr. Sunny Power) have been two of my favorite courses at Cornell, although I’ve truly enjoyed all of my courses and am confident the knowledge I’ve gained from them will benefit me in my future career.

What professional organizations are you involved in?

I am a member of the Civic Ecology Lab here at Cornell.

What advice would you give to your younger self embarking on the journey of graduate school?

Make sure you expand your network and go out of your way to build relationships at Cornell. The community here is friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable, and there is so much you can learn from engaging with faculty, students, and staff within and outside your area of study.

How has your MPS experience changed you, both personally and professionally?

My time at Cornell spurred substantial personal and professional growth. I am really proud of everything I accomplished this year, and I am confident I have the tools needed to attain, and succeed in, my career goals. Developing relationships with people from many different backgrounds and walks of life has made me a more well-rounded person. I have been very lucky to be surrounded by such incredible people.