Ag student focuses on homeland security

Issues of safety and security

Jada Thompson

When you mention bird flu, homeland security may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But for Agricultural and Resource Economics doctoral student Jada Thompson, bird flu and other avian diseases can be connected directly to issues of safety and security.

With the federal government in agreement, Thompson is one of two doctoral students selected as 2015 Career Development Program fellows by the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases , a Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Center of Excellence. She will receive a three-year DHS-funded fellowship that covers a portion of tuition and fees, includes up to two summer internships and pays a stipend. At the completion of her fellowship, she will complete a one-year service commitment to work in academia, government or industry related to their field of study.

Newcastle disease and avian influenza

Thompson is conducting economic and epidemiological analyses of Newcastle disease and avian influenza in commercial poultry operations. She will be creating risk assessments through epidemiology scenarios — at the producer, regional/processing and national levels — to assess the economic benefits and costs of movement of layer eggs within and outside of quarantine zones in the event of a disease outbreak. Thompson’s academic advisor is Associate Professor Agricultural and Resource Economics Dustin Pendell.

“With only two fellows selected from this year’s highly competitive pool of applicants, this prestigious fellowship speaks volumes about Jada’s demonstrated abilities and promising future in the animal health economics discipline,” said Pendell.

IIAD Career Development Program

IIAD’s Career Development Program was established in 2008 to provide graduate-level fellowships that promote workforce development into public and private practice and academia. Emphasis is placed on building future workforce capacity in fields related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics that also support the DHS mission space in transboundary, emerging and zoonotic disease defense. The program uses DHS-sponsored funding awarded to the Institute through the DHS Office of University Programs and the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Needs Fellowship.