This was a week to celebrate the achievements of UC Davis senior and AIC undergraduate researcher Nina Anderson, who was honored by her department with the Outstanding Senior Award in Managerial Economics. Anderson accepted the award earlier this week with her mother, grandmother, and AIC Director Dan Sumner proudly in attendance.

At the AIC, Anderson has conducted economic research on the California agricultural drought, analyzed California agricultural export data, monitored local and national egg prices, and co-authored a key AIC study on water content in California produced foods. The AIC’s costs-and-returns reports are relied upon by food growers, producers, and policymakers to understand conditions and trends in the California agricultural markets and make informed business and policy decisions.

Sumner first invited Anderson to join the AIC as a student researcher after she aced his Microeconomic Theory course as a sophomore. Sumner quickly realized that he had “a remarkable student” on his hands—“the top A+ student out of 150 enrolled in the toughest course in the Managerial Economics major”.

Anderson’s work at the AIC, which she describes as “challenging but very rewarding,” culminated in co-authorship of several academic publications as an undergraduate and a summer internship writing press releases and providing top-level advice on delicate policy matters to agricultural industry clients.
Amidst all of this, Anderson also somehow found time while at Davis to compete on the university’s cross-country team for a year, and to manage the finances of of her 165-member Alpha Phi sorority.

The business of managing the harvest of California’s natural bounty is nothing new to Anderson, who grew up in the agricultural heartland of Salinas with a father who worked in the produce business. She graduated as valedictorian of Salinas’ Notre Dame High School, where she was also captain of the Cross Country team, holder of two school records, a three-time Central Coast Section finalist in cross-country, and winner of the Tri-County Athletic League titles in 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters. As it turns out, all of these were just shadows of Anderson’s accomplishments to come.