By Makeida Antonio
An Antiguan is set to receive one of the highest scholarly awards from a tertiary institution in the United States.
Dr Blondel Brinkman, an economist who has spent several years contributing to the US agricultural sector, has been honoured by Purdue University West Lafayette Indiana Campus and will receive the APEX award by the Agricultural Economics Department during a ceremony on April 22.
The Apex Award, presented by the Department of Agricultural Economics, is in recognition of those individuals with a strong connection to the department who have made outstanding contributions in their fields.
It is the highest honour given by the department and represents the convergence of accomplishment in the lives of the honourees.
“I am honoured to be receiving this award. It is a nice feeling to be recognised for my work. As a daughter of the soil, I take our country’s motto to heart – each endeavouring, all achieving.
“I believe growing up in Antigua made me the person I am today,” Dr Brinkman told Observer.
Dr Brinkman, who hails from Barnes Hill, completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics (May 1993) and a Master of Science degree in Agribusiness Management (December 1998) at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University in Huntsville, Alabama.
She went on to complete a doctoral degree in Agricultural Economics at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. After graduation in 2006, she began working for the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) as an economist.
Her responsibilities include conducting economic and policy analyses that focus on regulatory impacts on small business entities, programme performance measurement, special studies, and providing expert advice on socio-economic issues to programme managers, senior leaders and policy makers.
She considers herself a mission-driven economist with expertise in a wide range of areas and over 15 years of experience with the federal government. She says that being a senior economist with APHIS has been both challenging and rewarding.
Dr Brinkman has had the opportunity to work on a variety of issues that are critical to the mission of the agency, which is to protect the health and value of American agriculture and natural resources.
In addition to her federal service, she has worked as an adjunct professor of economics. She is also a current member of the American Applied Economics Association where she chaired two sections of the organisation.