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Nurturing Global Perspectives in Agricultural Education

Amber Beseli’s journey in the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences (AHS) began when she pursued a Master of Science in agricultural and extension education (AEE) at NC State. Following the completion of her master’s degree, she ventured into the realm of academia, pursuing a Ph.D. in crop science. She didn’t want to lose her passion for teaching and education, so with the help and support of her committee, she was able to add the AEE minor. Her academic journey eventually led her to the role of program director at CALS Global Academy. Later, she transitioned to a role with the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, focusing on international market development, alongside her position as an adjunct assistant professor in the AHS Department.

During her tenure as Program Director at CALS Global Academy, Beseli had the privilege of engaging in numerous international opportunities. CALS Global Academy is a specialized office committed to tailoring technical and leadership training for international agricultural professionals. In this capacity, Beseli organized and hosted 20 training programs, welcoming Fellows from 23 different countries. Many of these programs were federally funded through the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Cochran Fellowship Programs and Scientific Cooperation Exchange Programs.

When reflecting on her time in the AEE Graduate Program, Beseli recalls, “I have always had a passion for teaching agriculture, so AEE was a natural fit for me”. This passion allowed Beseli to introduced and teach a new course entitled “Global Issues in Agriculture” and played an active role in study abroad programs. Additionally, she initiated a program named “Germany and Czech Republic: Food, Energy, and Society” and co-directed another program titled “Netherlands: Agricultural Innovations, Agritourism, & Agri-food Products.”

March 2020 Agricultural Innovations, Agritourism, and Agri-foods Products study abroad program in the Netherlands

The AEE program started its impact on Beseli long before she ever entered into NC State. her agriculture teacher and mentor, who earned his degree in the same department, profoundly influenced her and her career aspirations. His encouragement throughout high school ignited her interest in pursuing agricultural education. When asked for advice for students in the field of AEE, both current and prospective, Beseli emphasizes the pivotal role played by Land Grant Universities and Cooperative Extension systems in the growth and development of the nation’s agricultural sector. She encourages students to consider how lessons learned from these institutions can be applied to international endeavors, especially in developing nations. She states, “If you are interested in pursuing an international aspect to your career, especially in developing nations, think about how we can use lessons learned from our Land Grant University and Cooperative Extension systems.”

Beseli’s extensive international experiences have endowed her with expertise in the realm of international agricultural development. Her career has allowed her to work in trade policy, market development, export assistance, trade data and analysis, and food security. Looking towards the future, Beseli is working on developing a new course in the AHS department that will start in the spring of 2024. The course is titled “Global Issues in Agriculture” and provides students with an opportunity to learn about international challenges, global issues involved in solving those challenges, and opportunities related to solving those challenges. She excitedly states, “This course has been designed to help students gain an international agricultural perspective without having to leave campus”. 

Teaching within the AEE program has brought Beseli immense satisfaction by enabling her to share her passion for agriculture. She eagerly expresses, “Hopefully, teaching in this department will allow me to pass on that joy and passion and encourage AEE students to contemplate the international aspects of agriculture, education, and extension.”