Melissa Hendrickson joined the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics as an agribusiness management lecturer in 2002 after earning her PhD in Agricultural and Extension Education from NC State University. Her work in teaching, advising and study abroad programs has positively impacted hundreds, if not thousands, of students.
Hendrickson taught agribusiness management and agricultural marketing classes to undergraduate students. Her role grew when she was promoted to the Coordinator of the Associate’s Program in Agribusiness Management. Hendrickson served as a bridge between the department and the Agricultural Institute (AGI), which administers the 2-year program. With Hendrickson’s help, 90% of AGI graduates are fully employed within 6 months of graduation.
A colleague wrote, “While Hendrickson was the Coordinator of Agribusiness Management, she served on many Agricultural Institute committees and went above and beyond for the students enrolled in the program. Melissa is a caring individual that treats everyone with respect and is respected by everyone. She is not one to like the limelight but certainly won’t back down when she knows it is necessary. She takes great joy in seeing students succeed. That shows in the fact that many of the students, when given the opportunity at graduation, thank her for helping them get to where they are now.”
Hendrickson also led several short-term study abroad trips, exposing students to agricultural business management and marketing practices in places like the UK, Italy, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands. Another colleague wrote, “Because of Hendrickson’s impact and mentorship of other faculty, we now offer more CALS short-term study abroad programs for more students. She has developed meaningful connections with faculty across the world that has led her study abroad programs to be successful. Melissa has even taken on the challenge of developing more study abroad programs to different countries, instead of sticking with one program which has allowed students more opportunities to travel abroad more than once. She truly cares about the students and takes what the students want to do into consideration while trying to maximize all the opportunities in a short time. The students have nothing but great things to say about her study abroad programs upon their return!”
Although Hendrickson is retiring on January 1, 2022, her impact on the department and its students will be long lasting. The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics would like to thank Dr. Hendrickson for her leadership, passion and mentorship over the past 20 years. On behalf of the entire College of Agricultural and Life Sciences community, we wish Dr. Hendrickson the best in retirement.