Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

CDFA teams up with UC Davis in new program for graduate students


UC Davis graduate student and CDFA ELIPPS intern Kelly Gravuer.

UC Davis graduate student and CDFA ELIPPS intern Kelly Gravuer.

What does the top-rated agricultural university in the world and CDFA have in common? In addition to working on key issues involving food and agriculture, they each make their home in the same region of California; and they offer unique opportunities for students, including future Ag leaders, to learn about real-life policy issues while making a meaningful contribution through public service.

To enhance these opportunities, UC Davis has designed the Emerging Leaders in Policy and Public Service program (ELIPPS) for graduate students interested in public policy. The program encourages students to explore career paths in the public sector – including an internship at any one of a number of government agencies, including CDFA.

Kelly Gravuer is an ELIPPS graduate student–a PhD candidate in Ecosystem and Landscape Ecology–who recently started an internship at CDFA. While here, Kelly will see firsthand the types of issues the agriculture industry is dealing with right now—for example, the drought–and will be able to offer her own ideas and insights. She is working with CDFA’s newly-established Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation to evaluate water-saving initiatives, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and soil health measures. At the conclusion of the internship, Kelly will be in a better position to more clearly assess her career plan and understand government’s potential to be a part of it.

Graduate students have a lot to offer. They are researchers, problem solvers and critical thinkers. They instill in us a sense of hope and optimism for a bright and a prosperous future. We want these students to lend their perspectives to state and federal policy makers as they enact and carry out policy on many complex issues.

That can work out well for agriculture. California leads the nation in food production and crop diversity, thanks to the resiliency and innovation of farmers in our state; CDFA protects and promotes agricultural commodities through its varied programs; and over the decades, UC Davis has played a pivotal role through cutting-edge research. The ELIPPS program strengthens a partnership that is already highly productive and beneficial to people across the nation and around the world.

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