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Beth Olberding

Degree, Program, and date of graduation: Urban and Regional Planning, MURP and Natural Resources, MNR, May 2018 (expected)

Dates of working with the WGD Program: Independent study: May 2014- August 2014

What work did you do with the WGD program?

"I worked on research about conservation agriculture and livelihood strategies that was collected in Sank’ayani, Bolivia in 2011. I helped analyze the research which included interviews, a focus group discussion, and participatory maps. Simultaneously, I researched relevant literature, including research in the following fields: conservation agriculture, gendered assets, feminist political ecology, qualitative methods, and sense of place."

Most exciting experience, interesting discovery, or connections made:

"The most interesting part of my independent study was learning how to write a formal paper including how to analyze qualitative data. This opportunity has been a great experience and I learned a lot about a field I was unfamiliar with prior to this independent study."

After-graduation plans:

"I will be graduating in 2018 after my Peace Corps assignment in Costa Rica (2015-2017); my hope is to continue my education or work for an international development organization. The involvement with the WGD Program has helped me realize that I would be interested in pursuing research on the relationship between gender and environment."

How has the WGD program influenced your future?

"My experience has helped me prepare for my Peace Corps assignment because I have a better understanding about how to conduct international development research. It has also inspired me to focus my thesis on gender, the environment, and development. My hope is to collect my research in Costa Rica during my Peace Corps assignment. I had a wonderful experience with the WGD program and learned a lot about these disciplines in a short amount of time."