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Alumni Close-Up: Applying Science to Feed the Globe

A life abroad is what Alexis Ellicott, who leads a USAID project to secure agricultural inputs for Nepal, dreamed of as a child, although she wasn’t sure how she would get there. After earning her bachelor’s degree in Russian language and literature from the University of Wisconsin in 1992, Ellicott studied in Russia. She stayed after her program finished, hoping that remaining abroad would help her find her passion.

Instead, she was reminded of another long-held dream to earn a science degree. She returned to her home state of Illinois and learned that since she already held a bachelor’s degree, she could fast-track a second one in biology at the University of Illinois, which she earned in 1997.

“I was still wondering what I could do internationally with science, given that I also had a passion for foreign languages,” she says. “I sort of triangulated that interest and came to the subject of international agriculture.”

She began interviewing in graduate programs at different universities. Her future in international agriculture became crystal clear upon meeting Gebisa Ejeta, distinguished professor of agronomy and Purdue University Presidential Fellow for Food Security and Sustainable Global Development. International activity taking place throughout the College of Agriculture helped Ellicott see how she could combine her desire to work around the globe with her interest in science.

Read more about Agronomy alumna Alexis Ellicott in the full Alumni Close-Up:

Envision - Winter 2024

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