Maria Buzzelli is a senior majoring in applied and resource economics. She has been involved in multiple research projects within agricultural and resource economics over her time at UConn and is currently assisting in the collection of data at farmers’ markets across New England. She is also actively involved in club volleyball and will be traveling for nationals later this month. She will be continuing her studies in the fall 2019 semester with an aim of improving her data analysis ability. Here is what she said about her time at UConn.
What attracted you to UConn? As a Connecticut resident, I was always amazed by the quality of education that UConn provides. It was an easy decision to apply to UConn and eventually attend because of the rave reviews from the alumni base. There are so many fields available to study and endless opportunity to get involved and find your passion. The sense of community and school spirit here at UConn is unparalleled.
What is your major, and why did you choose it? My major is applied and resource economics in CAHNR. I chose this field because of the multi-faceted education that it provides. The major includes business, economics and policy, all of which I am passionate about. This major allowed me to pursue my interest in natural resource management and policy. I feel that it has shaped my path and really allowed me to hone in on my career path.
Which one of your UConn activities, internships or jobs was the most memorable? Why? I am a member of the women’s club volleyball team on campus, and it has been a wonderful experience. When I first came to UConn, I was nervous about finding my place and fitting in with a group of friends. The club team introduced me to some of my closest friends with whom I share similar interests. Being a club athlete helped me with time management and was a critical part of my overall happiness at UConn. We will be traveling to Denver, Colorado to compete in the Club Volleyball National Tournament, which I am really excited about. I would recommend getting involved in club sports to any new Huskies!
Name two other experiences that have enriched your studies. In the spring of 2018, I was a fellow for Farm Credit East, a financial institution that provides loans to farmers. This was a transformative experience because I was able to meet students with similar goals and create a network. I learned about the loan process and agribusiness from talented employees. My favorite part was visiting farms and conversing with farmers in the area. It was cool to be able to apply what I have been learning in my classes to the real world.
This semester, I am assisting in a research study between UConn and Tufts regarding the impact of the New England Nutrition Incentive Collaborative. As a research assistant, I am traveling to farmers markets all over New England enumerating surveys. This experience has really enriched my studies because of my interest in data collection and analysis, as well as program evaluation.
What was the biggest challenge in your UConn career? The biggest challenge was balancing work, club sports, class and research all at once. Although it seemed daunting at first, I was able to manage my involvement. The professors in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics are understanding and are aware that some students may be spread thin. I couldn’t have done it without their help along the way. Overall, I am glad that I pushed myself to get involved in the UConn community because the experiences and people that I have met made it worthwhile.
When do you expect to graduate? What then? I am graduating this spring (2019) and eagerly hope to receive my master’s degree in the future.