Born and raised on a farm in rural West Virginia, I developed an early interest in food security and accessibility. During my undergraduate studies at West Virginia University, I joined a research team that identified and mapped every food distribution site in West Virginia and became increasingly interested in “development” as a formal academic field. I studied abroad and conducted research on economic development projects in Nicaragua, Timor-Leste, and Rwanda. In addition, I worked for the Senate President of the West Virginia Legislature and the West Virginia Secretary of State. These experiences led to an appreciation of the impact politics exerts on the economic development process. I currently serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA and work on program development related to increasing accessibility to higher education among first-generation and low-income students. I plan to work in international development for several years before returning home to work on economic development in West Virginia and Appalachia. I enjoy hiking, writing, playing tennis and basketball, watching Mountaineer sports, and traveling. I am excited and honoured to join the global Gates Community and begin work on the MPhil in Development Studies.