Tommy Crocker

MPS '22, Global Development
  • Hometown: Rochester, New York, USA
  • Colleges attended and degree earned: Cornell University, Bachelor of Science in International Agriculture and Rural Development
What are the big challenges you want to tackle in the world?

The primary challenges I seek to confront are food insecurity, climate change, and economic inequalities between the global North & South.

What were you doing before the MPS program?

Prior to this program, I was studying International Agriculture and Rural Development at Cornell University. Over the summer, I was working on my family farm.

What does global development mean to you?

To me, global development is the multi-leveled endeavor set out to create a better world for our children. This includes ensuring future generations have the economic, social, environmental, and civic freedoms to live their best lives.

What has been the most memorable or impactful experience of your career so far?

So far, the most memorable experience I had was during my undergraduate career at Cornell when I spent a summer conducting research in rural Kenya. The summer after my freshman year, I was selected to be a Cornell Research Intern for the Youth Involvement in Livestock in Trans-Nzoia County Research Program in Kitale, Kenya. The research my team conducted during the 11-week internship was part of a long-term effort to improve the livelihoods of rural farmers in Kitale. Professor Medvecky and Professor Terry Tucker oversaw this research project and mentored us along the way with guidance and feedback on our project design and implementation. Our research team assessed previously compiled data to form our own hypotheses and survey questions. My internship in Kitale, Kenya allowed me to experience, first-hand, the opportunities that agriculture presents to economic security in the developing world. I also gained a unique opportunity to understand the value of cross-cultural communication and collaboration in international development projects. Creating surveys and collecting household data on nutrition and agriculture further confirmed my passion to help uplift people out of poverty and solidified my interest in agriculture and food systems.

How do you envision your MPS degree contributing to your career?

I believe that the MPS degree would not only allow me to focus on the integration of my past experiences and interests, but also allow me to further concentrate on coursework and research that would best prepare me for a long-term career in international development.

Do you have any aspirations for what you’d like to focus on in your MPS problem-solving project?

Although I am not set on a specific project yet, I think that I would like it to surround issues of food security, food policy, and international relations.

Tell us a fun fact about you.

I was born and raised on a Hop farm in a rural area of Upstate NY, just north of Canandaigua Lake.

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