Aditi Pandey is one of more than 1 million young adults who left their native countries last year for an education in the U.S.
About 21 percent of the foreign students came to study engineering, another 19 percent came for business and management, and almost 14 percent came for computer science and math degrees, according to the 2016 Institute of International Education’s Open Door report.
But not Pandey.
After completing a bachelor’s degree in her native Nepal, Pandey’s family allowed her to follow an 8,440-mile dream to the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Beaumont. Her heart was set on earning a master’s degree by learning ways to help farmers in her country produce food sustainably on their land.
Pandey is unique not only for choosing agriculture but because she’s a girl who, she said, by the code of her village in Nepal should have stopped school the minute she learned to read and write so her parents could save for her wedding dowry.
Agriculture has been a global ticket since the dawn of time. For millennia, traders have crossed sea and country bringing local commodities to new lands and hauling back goods from afar. But increasingly, today’s markets are more about producing enough food for the world population, scientists say.
Of the 1 million foreign students, some 12,300 — only a little more than 1 percent — are pursuing agriculture, the Open Door report noted, though researchers worldwide are clamoring to discover ways to feed the estimated 9 billion people on the planet by 2050.
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