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CIRED welcomes new Assistant Director for Research, Operations, and Program Management

Dr. Jessica Agnew
Dr. Jessica Agnew

CIRED is pleased to welcome its newest faculty member, Jessica Agnew, as the assistant director for research, operations, and program management. 

A former graduate assistant with CIRED, Agnew brings to the team expertise in food and nutrition security, food and agriculture economics, and health education and behavior. Her research has involved improving the competitiveness and commercial viability of small and medium-sized enterprises that sell nutritious foods to low-income populations. 

She has also explored the business enabling environment, policy, and planning systems that promote private sector engagement in food security and nutrition to create positive outcomes for low-income households globally. In 2017, she developed the BUY2THRIVE initiative that aims to connect consumers to markets for nutrition. Currently, she serves on the VT Food Access and Security working group to address food security on campus at Virginia Tech. 

In her new position, Agnew will serve as the co-Principal Investigator on a project that she and Ralph Hall, assistant director of the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) were awarded to conduct research in using blockchain technology in value chains for Kenya’s African Indigenous Vegetables to advance food and nutrition security. In addition, she will oversee trainings and continue acting as program coordinator for the Catalyzing Afghan Agricultural Innovation (CAAI) project. Agnew will also continue to support CIRED’s business development, proposal preparation, and project implementation activities.

“Working at CIRED as a graduate assistant was an amazing experience,” said Agnew. “I am thrilled to be able to stay on at the center and support the work that Virginia Tech is doing internationally, especially continuing to advance our engagement in food security and nutrition as well CIRED’s research portfolio across our core competencies.”

A 2020 graduate of Virginia Tech’s doctoral program in Planning, Governance, and Globalization, Agnew looks forward to continuing to inspire students at Virginia Tech, where she will teach graduate-level courses as an adjunct faculty member in SPIA.