This past summer, the Department of Applied Economics welcomed Brianna Hagstrom and Eric Didion to the department for our fifth year of hosting summer interns. Previously interns were funded through the NIFA funded Regional Approaches to Climate Change for Pacific Northwest Agriculture (REACCH) research grant. This tradition has been extended through the Interdisciplinary Climate Change Research and Extension for Building Sustainable Agroecological Systems internship grant, which is also NIFA funded. The overall goal of these internships is to train a new generation of scientists with knowledge of both interdisciplinary research and the importance of extension and outreach. The project provides experiential learning experiences with cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary research related to climate change adaptation and mitigation, and providing training in working with stakeholders through a nine-week summer internship program. These internships are part of larger cohort located at University of Idaho, Washington State University, and in Pendleton.

We were very lucky to have recruited two very talented undergraduate students for the Applied Economics positions. Brianna Hagstrom is currently a junior with a double major at Truman State University. She is studying biology and health science. Eric Didion, currently a senior at the University of Florida, is studying chemical geomatics and is adept at working with GIS data systems.

Brianna Hagstrom worked closely with Clark Seavert, Laurie Houston and the AgBiz LogicTM development team to develop online visual tutorials for AgBiz Logicand its upcoming AgBizClimate application. AgBiz Logic is a suite of economic, financial, and environmental decision tools for businesses that grow, harvest, package, add value, and sell agricultural products. AgBizClimate is a new module which incorporates climate projections for 14 climate variables that will help businesses make informed decisions related to climate change. The tutorial will be used to show users how alternative management practices such as those initiated in response to climate change and climate change policies will impact the farm level net returns and environmental outcomes.

This internship offered Brianna a remarkable opportunity to work across disciplines with agricultural economists, programmers, and web designers to develop a tutorial package for AgBiz Logic, and she was able to gain first-hand experience with climate change impacts, adaptation implications for farmers, environmental outcomes, and the economics of agricultural systems.

“Participating in this internship has reaffirmed my belief that I should pursue a career in working with others and communicating information.”

“The three most important things that I learned through this internship were: (1) How to make communicating without being face to face with someone more effective; (2) The importance of staying motivated and (3) How to work independently.”

Eric Didion worked jointly with the Applied Economics and Civil and Construction Engineering Departments to develop a comprehensive Geographic Information System database to support economic, engineering, and ecological modeling efforts for a multidisciplinary research program for the Oregon Coast. His mentors were Steven Dundas, David Lewis, Laurie Houston, all in the Applied Economics and Christopher Parrish from Civil and Construction Engineering. His work will support various research efforts, including (but not limited to) analyses of the capitalization of chronic (climate change) and acute (tsunami inundation) risk in coastal housing markets and of the economic impacts of conversion of agricultural land to tidal salt marshes to stabilize estuaries against sea-level rise.

This internship provided Eric with a unique opportunity to gain first-hand experience working alongside graduate students and university professors from different fields of study (including environmental and resource economics, civil engineering, coastal ecology, and geomorphology) on a large multidisciplinary research project.

Eric Didion during his project summary presentation titled GIS Approach to the Value of Coastal Protection and Risk: Evidence from the Oregon Coast, August 2016.


Brianna Hagstrom during her project summary presentation titled “AgBiz Logic User Experience”