Q&A with Global Food Challenge Fellow Mandi Egeland
U of M junior Mandi Egeland spent 2014-15 as a Global Food Challenge Emerging Leader for Food Security Fellow. She explored food security issues from many angles, visiting the African nations of Malawi and Zambia as well as Washington D.C. In addition, Mandi helped to recruit and mentor the program’s 2015-16 University of Minnesota cohort.
What was Mandi’s experience like? We caught up with her in Austria, where she is studying for a term at the Vienna University of Economics and Business.
Q: As a GFC participant, what was your biggest challenge? Surprise? Benefit? It’s the type of experience I’ll talk about for years! I was challenged to look at a global issue from an economic, social, and equitable lens and come up with a proposal that could begin to impact the issue. I was surprised by how much I learned, especially from my peers. This gave me new energy to encourage others to join the conversation. The biggest benefit is that I feel empowered to make a change, even it is small.
Q: What was it like to recruit new applicants? I loved meeting them one-on-one, hearing their ideas and seeing the spark they had to tackle such a pressing global issue. Recruiting is a way I could ‘pay it forward’ for this terrific experience.
Q: You’re in your third year at the Carlson School of Management. What are your career plans? I’m not yet sure how I’ll use my management information systems degree. But I do know how I’ll define my success – it’s being passionate about making a difference, and influencing others through that passion. I want to work for a company that is socially responsible. Land O’Lakes has strengthened my desire to be involved in agriculture, whether that’s in industry, or policy, or even volunteering at a food shelf.
Q: Any parting thoughts? Yes! Biotechnology is just one approach in sustainable agriculture that is going to help ensure we have land to farm for years to come. And business is a tool that you can really use to drive change. Understanding how to leverage that is something I began to learn through the internship with Land O’Lakes.