AGEC Freshman Addresses Global Food Security Issues through Undergraduate Research Project 

Written by Jo Thomas, Academic Advisor

AGEC freshman Halee Fisher (Quantitative Analysis; Millersburg) has always had a passion for global agriculture and food security. During the summer after her senior year, Halee completed an internship doing socioeconomic studies with Borlaug-Ruan International in El Batan, Mexico. After her internship, Halee knew she wanted to continue research as soon as she got to campus. She began applying for research opportunities and secured a research assistant position through the computer science department. 

Last fall Halee began her project, “The Big Idea Challenge in Global Food & Water Sustainability” which focuses on food security on a global scale. She incorporated computer coding and programming to produce an interactive map researchers will be able to use a similar map for other countries to focus on water sustainability through implementing sensors. By implementing these sensors, they can gather that data and different departments at Purdue can use it for their research. The map takes the sensors data, and turns it into language that they can read (computer coding to language).

Undergraduate research presents the opportunity to learn new things, something Halee loves to do. While her primary major is Agricultural Economics, Halee wanted to build her resume and explore her research interest in food security. This experience also allowed her to build other valuable skill sets, “I have definitely gained my lab skills – independence, time management, & perseverance. I enjoyed gaining these skills because besides this summer I haven’t had much experience in the lab.”  

Once the project is complete, Halee will submit her project to the DURI program and then other faculty will use her findings to expand their research. Even though her project will be finished soon, Halee is already looking at future research opportunities. “This coming semester I would like to begin working in the Center for Global Food Security or start working in economic research because I want to get more involved in my field of study.”
Working in undergraduate research is a great way to engage with faculty and teaching staff while also expanding your professional skills. For future students interested in research, Halee has some advice, “I would tell students to get into research as soon as they can/they are ready. It is great to start building connections as soon as you can! Enjoy the experience and be open to any research opportunity that comes your way!”


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