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Food and Resource Economics Department

Food and Resource Economics Department

Economic Impact Analysis

People

The EIAP is comprised of a core group of administrative staff, faculty, research associates, and students as well as affiliated faculty and student members that contribute to specific projects and efforts.

Administrative Staff

Christa Court
Christa Court
Director
ccourt@ufl.edu

CV

ResearchGate | Google Scholar
ORCID | Ask IFAS

Christa is an Assistant Professor of Regional Economics in the Food & Resource Economics Department and serves as the Director of the UF/IFAS Economic Impact Analysis Program. Prior to coming to UF, Christa was a contract economist to the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory. She holds undergraduate degrees in Economics and Spanish from Middle Tennessee State University and Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Economics from West Virginia University. Her research interests include disaster impact assessment, regional economic modeling, economic impact analysis, and connections in human and natural systems. She is leading numerous funded research projects involving regional economic modeling and has a growing list of related publications and other outputs. Christa holds affiliate faculty status with Florida Sea Grant, UF School of Natural Resources and Environment, the UF Water Institute, the UF/IFAS Food Systems Institute, the Regional Research Institute at West Virginia University, and the University of the Westfjords in Ísafjörður, Iceland. Outside of the office she enjoys spending time outdoors with her family and taking a variety of classes at the Gainesville Circus Center.

Kelsey McDaid
Kelsey McDaid
Research Coordinator
kmcdaid@ufl.edu

ResearchGate

Kelsey joined the program in 2020 after graduating with a bachelor's degree in Neuroscience from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has experience collaborating with stakeholders across departments to improve policies and practices particularly pertaining to the library system and related resources. While pursuing her degree she also gained experience in Geographic Information Systems and had the opportunity to tie together spatial and socioeconomic characteristics to better understand and model a potential regional public health issue. She is greatly interested in continuing to learn and pursue interdisciplinary research and understanding the downstream economic impacts of decision-making and policy.

Postdoctoral Research Associates

Joao Pedro Ferreira
Joao-Pedro Ferreira
joao.ferreira@ufl.edu

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ResearchGate | Google Scholar

João became a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the Economic Impact Analysis Program in 2019 and an Adjunct Lecturer in the Food and Resource Economics Department in 2021. He holds a Master’s degree in Local Economics and a Ph.D. in Sustainable Energy Systems. He also has ongoing projects with researchers from Rutgers University and the University of Illinois in the U.S. and the University of Aveiro and the University of Coimbra in Portugal. His current interests center on economic impact analysis, input-output modeling techniques, and urban and regional economics. João is the author of 16 publications in international journals and 5 Book Chapters and more than 50 other publications in conference proceedings and newspapers. He is currently working on new methodologies related to structural decomposition analysis applied to global agriculture and food production. Outside of the office, he loves hiking with his dog Dexter and traveling to explore new places.

Sherry Qiao
Xiaohui “Sherry” Qiao
xiaohui.qiao@ufl.edu

CV

Researchgate | Google Scholar

Sherry joined the Economic Impact Analysis program in 2020 as a Postdoctoral Research Associate and works on the development of web-based geovisualization tools for UF/IFAS Extension and its stakeholders. The webGIS will serve as a tool for informed decision-making in relation to the 2023-2028 University of Florida Extension Roadmap, and will communicate the baseline socio-economic and demographic conditions within which UF/IFAS Cooperative Extension operates. Sherry earned a Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering at Brigham Young University, where her research mainly focused on hydroinformatics and webGIS development. She devoted her efforts to several research projects that emphasize geospatial computing, web services/apps, and cyberinfrastructure development to support environmental research. Her primary research interest is to leverage interdisciplinary technologies (GIS, data science, informatics) to solve research questions in agriculture and environmental science.

Graduate Research Assistants

Roberto Koeneke
Roberto Koeneke
Ph.D. Student
rkoeneke@ufl.edu

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Roberto was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, and spent part of his childhood in Gainesville, Florida. He graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor's degree in 2007 and obtained a master's degree at the University of Miami in Marine Affairs and Policy in 2011. He worked for over ten years with the Center for Independent Experts (CIE), which operates the independent peer review system for NOAA Fisheries. He joined the Ph.D. program in Food and Resource Economics in August 2020 and began his research assistantship with Dr. Christa Court at the Economic Impact Analysis Program. His research interests are non-market valuation systems for ecosystem services and natural resources, spatial analysis applications for valuation methods, valuation of natural disaster impacts, and economic policy analysis.

He spends his days on campus working on his classwork, research assistantship, and teaching assistantship. He spends his nights crying himself to sleep due to the dread and stress of graduate school. His current status is "surviving".

Mengming Li
Mengming Li
Ph.D. Student
mengming.li@ufl.edu

CV

ResearchGate | Google Scholar

Ming is a graduate research assistant in the Food and Resource Economics Department. Before joining FRE, Ming earned a BS in Applied Mathematics from Northwestern Polytechnical University in 2015 and a MS in Population, Resources and Environmental Economics from University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2019. He came to the University of Florida and joined the Economic Impact Analysis Program team in 2019. Currently, his primary research interests include Environmental Economics, Regional Economics, Applied Econometrics, and Input-output Analysis. Ming loves to play tennis, badminton, and video games in his free time. After completing his Ph.D., Ming is planning to find an academic position in universities.

Eyrika Orlando
Rika Orlando
Ph.D. Student
e.orlando@ufl.edu

Researchgate | ORCID

Affiliate Faculty

Alan Hodges
Alan Hodges

Director Emeritus
awhodges@ufl.edu

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ResearchGate | Google Scholar
Ask IFAS

Alan Wade Hodges is an agricultural economist with 34 years experience at the University of Florida-Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences, Food & Resource Economics Department in Gainesville, Florida. Before his retirement in 2019, he served as Director of the UF Economic Impact Analysis Program and served in numerous leadership roles for UF-IFAS Extension education and outreach programs. He has conducted research studies on a broad range of issues and industries, including agriculture, forestry, fisheries, environmental horticulture, bioenergy, healthcare, higher education, natural disasters, tourism and recreation. He received Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from the University of Florida, and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago. Alan is a native of Iowa and lives on a small farm in Alachua County, Florida.

Among his academic career accomplishments:

  • Mentored 22 graduate students; taught University undergraduate classes in agribusiness management and forestry;
  • Authored 55 refereed articles in scholarly journals, 16 book chapters and monographs, 48 professional conference proceedings, 400+ trade magazine articles, Extension papers, newsletters;
  • Presented at 200+ public meetings and professional conferences;
  • Awarded over $3.5 million in funding for research grants and contracts;
  • Cited 100+ times in popular media, including Wall Street Journal, Florida Trend and The Atlantic;
  • Received the 2019 University of Florida-IFAS Superior Accomplishment Award for academic personnel.

John Lai
John Lai
Faculty Affiliate
johnLai@ufl.edu

Faculty Page | Google Scholar

Dr. John Lai teaching and research program focuses on the market development of agricultural business operations. He teaches an online undergraduate course in selling strategically and also a course for graduate students in agribusiness risk management.

Andrew Ropeki
Andrew Ropicki
Faculty Affiliate
aropicki@ufl.edu

Faculty Page | Google Scholar

Dr. Ropicki is an assistant professor specializing in marine resource economics. He holds an extension and research appointment and is the Florida Sea Grant marine economics specialist. His research interests include socioeconomic analysis of fisheries management and governance, social network analysis of natural resource management issues, the economics of marine aquaculture, and evaluating the economic impacts of marine industries. Dr. Ropicki provides educational programs and applied research results concerning marine economics to various marine stakeholder groups in Florida. Audience groups include aquaculturists, commercial and recreational fishers, state/federal marine resource agencies, seafood dealers, marine-related business owners, and interested general public. Information provided to these groups assists in making business-related and resource management decisions that provide for the sustainable use of Florida’s marine resources.

Caleb Stair
Caleb Stair
Faculty Affiliate
cstair@ufl.edu

Faculty Page | Google Scholar
Ask IFAS

Dr. Stair is a lecturer working in the Food and Resource Economics department. His teaching interests include the ethics and philosophy of economics, applied economics related to wildlife, and regional economics. Dr. Stair is also a faculty affiliate of the Economic Impact Analysis program. His research interests include natural resource economics (specifically related to wildlife), regional economics, and spatial econometrics. His studies aim to inform policy makers about the impacts of events and policies related to wildlife management and natural resource use. His recent research focuses on the economic contributions of the American Alligator to Florida's economy.

Affiliated Postdoctoral Research Associates

Jana Hilsenroth Headshot
Jana Hilsenroth
jana.hilsenroth@ufl.edu

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Personal Website

ResearchGate | LinkedIn

Jana is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Food and Resource Department at UF and joined the Economic Impact Analysis Program team in 2021. She holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology and Marine Science and has a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Ecology. She uses her interdisciplinary background as an ecologist and natural resource economist to explore challenges facing natural resources and suggest potential management solutions. She has explored such challenges in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Outside of researching and teaching, Jana enjoys hiking with her family and trying new food!

Unmesh Koirala Headshot
Unmesh Koirala
ukoirala@ufl.edu

CV

Researchgate 

Unmesh Koirala is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the School of Forest, Fisheries and Geomatics Sciences at UF. He holds a Ph.D. degree in natural resource economics and policy (2020) and a MS degree in forest economics (2015). He came to the University of Florida in 2015 and joined the Economic Impact Analysis Program team in 2021. His current research interests are socio-economic and regional analysis of agricultural and forest-based production systems and non-market valuation of various ecosystem services. He is interested in continuing his research efforts towards developing economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable production systems. Outside of his work, he enjoys hiking with his family and nature photography.

Bijeta Saha
Bijeta Saha
bijetabijen@ufl.edu

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Bijeta is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Food and Resource Economics Department. She holds BSS (2013) and MSS (2015) degrees in Economics from the University of Dhaka. She came to the University of Florida in 2016 and joined the Economic Impact Analysis Program team in 2019. Her current research focuses on sustainability issues that are relevant to Florida. She uses quasi-experimental methods for measuring the impacts of environmental dis-amenities such as point sources of toxic releases or hazard events. She hopes her research will be able to answer pertinent questions that will help policymakers and stakeholders to make informed decisions. She looks forward to finding a position within an academic or a state/federal agency that will allow her to work with an interdisciplinary team to find solutions to complex issues at the intersection of human and environmental systems.

Sungeun Yoon
Sungeun Yoon
sungeunyoon@ufl.edu

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Sungeun is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Food and Resource Economics Department. She holds two bachelor's degrees in Economics and Agriculture from Chungbuk National University, along with a MA in Economics from the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development at Seoul National University. She came to the University of Florida in 2016 and joined the Economic Impact Analysis Program team in 2020. Her research interests lie at the intersections of consumer behavior, healthy diet, and food & environmental policies and programs. Her dissertation explores how environmental concern shapes food and food-related consumption behaviors, empirically estimating the extent to which contemporary consumerism incorporates environmental impact. Specifically, she utilizes a choice experiment survey data and retail scanner datasets to estimate consumer willingness to pay for meal kit attributes and to estimate a causal impact of a plastic bag ban policy. She plans to pursue her career as a professional researcher in the field of food and environmental economics in the future.

 

Affiliated Students

Robert Botta
Robert Botta
Ph.D. Candidate
botta822@ufl.edu

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ResearchGate | Google Scholar

Robert is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the School of Natural Resources and Environment. He holds a BS in Interdisciplinary Marine Sciences (2015) and a MPS degree in Fisheries Management and Conservation (2017).  He came to the University of Florida in 2018 and joined the Economic Impact Analysis Program team in 2019. His dissertation involves assessing the economic impacts and contributions of fisheries, aquaculture, and conservation efforts. Much of this current work focuses on assessing trends in global oyster production dynamics of wild and cultured sectors, as well as describing supply chains and market outputs of shellfish in Florida. After graduation, he seeks to work for a government agency, such as NOAA Fisheries.

Julio Cruz
Julio Cruz

Ph.D. Candidate
cruz.julio@ufl.edu

CV

ResearchGate

Julio Cruz is a 4th year Ph.D. student in the Food and Resource Economics Department at UF. Prior to moving to the U.S., he worked in the corn seed industry in Brazil for 8 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Agronomy (2008) and a master’s degree in Food and Resource Economics (2018). He came to the University of Florida in 2016 and joined the Economic Impact Analysis Program team in 2020. His current research interests are agricultural marketing and regional economics. ​He is looking forward to future opportunities where he can combine his knowledge in agricultural economics with his experience in the agriculture industry.

Undergraduate Students

Alexis Montoto Headshot
Alexis Montoto
amontoto@ufl.edu

Resume

LinkedIn

Alexis is an undergraduate student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at UF. She is from Rutherford, NJ. She holds a degree in Food and Resource Economics in the graduating class of 2023. She came to the University of Florida in 2019 and joined the Economic Impact Analysis Program team in 2021. Her current work/research interests are organic agriculture and global macroeconomics. Future interests/plans going forward include helping companies make sustainable business decisions and performing economic analysis.

Julia Ulrich Headshot
Julia Ulrich

julia.ulrich@ufl.edu

Resume

LinkedIn

Julia is a second-year Undergraduate Student in the Economics Department at UF. She came to the University of Florida in 2020 and joined the Economic Impact Analysis Program team in 2021. Her current research interests include food and resource economic topics, such as food security and life sciences. She plans on pursuing a Master of Science in Agribusiness in the future. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and labradoodle.