Katriel Marks



Carmel, Indiana

my Purdue view

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

In high school, I kept coming back to the question, “What can I do that will improve lives in a meaningful way?” The answer, for me, seemed to lie in food — everyone has to eat.  I visited Purdue, where I found out about the Molecular Agriculture Summer Institute and the World Food Prize Youth Institute, which I attended while in high school. That was the first time I met other students with passions similar to mine.

Purdue’s connections to industry have also been influential for me. Purdue is one of 11 universities eligible  for the Land O’Lakes Global Food Challenge. As part of that program, we traveled to Malawi and met with government staff in economic and agricultural development. Almost all of their objectives for increasing agricultural productivity were economic rather than agronomic. With a strong interest in economics, I switched majors from plant genetics to agricultural economics.

This spring I studied abroad at Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands, taking economics courses that would round out my education. I also visited a couple of innovative dairy farms and traveled to London, Paris, Berlin and other cities.

I was also a Truman Scholarship finalist, and my policy proposal entailed changing SNAP benefits from a cash to a point system. While point values would still be based on cost, fresh and frozen produce would be discounted, and unhealthy processed foods would have a surcharge. As such, it would be a cost-neutral way to increase access to produce for lower-income families.

I’m interested in pursuing graduate degrees in development economics, focused in agricultural and food economics. I hope to work for the World Bank or another intergovernmental organization helping to liberalize trade in order to increase food security.

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