Ethan Carter graduated with a masters in Agroecology at UF in fall 2015, after completing his bachelor in Food and Resource Economics. He began the agroecolgoy program as non-thesis student, working on improving peanut yield through the study of seed maturity under the supervision of Dr. Rowland. At the end of the first season, Ethan had become very involved in the trail and wanted to further investigate different factors of influence in it. After discussing it with Dr. Rowland, Ethan decided to write a thesis on this peanut maturity study. At first, he was hesitant about becoming a thesis student, plagued with the question all students wonder: would he would have enough time to manage writing a thesis?
“Sometimes the ideas of writing a thesis is worse than what is actually is,” said Ethan. “Your research becomes the foundation of the paper and then you just need to write in depth about it.”
As a thesis student, Ethan received more hands on experience through applied research allowing him to gain more experience. He believes that experience with research set students apart in the workforce and helped prepare him for his career. Ethan’s research led him to his current job as an UF IFAS regional grow crop and integrated pest management (IPM) extension agent in the panhandle.
UF’s Agroecology program encompassed topics and principles that crossed over to Ethan’s job, including his research topic for this thesis. The agroecology program provided Ethan with the opportunities to work with multiple professors, establishing a professional network that Ethan still uses today.
“There is a learning curve when you graduate and get a job; everything is new and different,” said Ethan. “But my experience with research helped me transition easily, whereas other people without solid research foundation wouldn’t have.”
As a regional row crop IPM agent, Ethan works with pest management, pesticide training and economic sustainability of peanut, cotton and other row crops. As an IFAS agent, Ethan primarily conducts his outreach to the communities and institutions in the Panhandle. He works with sustainability in the community to maintain good stewardship of the land.
“I would recommend non-thesis students keep an open mind,” said Ethan. “For students who are on the fence about it, I would recommend looking into what professors are already researching to see if it interests you. Or talk to Dr. Rowland, she can convince anyone.”