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Our Rising Stars

The Rising Star Award is bestowed by the IFAMA Young Board and recognizes outstanding contributions of early career professionals, under the age of 35.

Luis Peña-Lévano is an assistant professor of Cooperative Extension in Dairy Cattle Production, Health, and Management Economics in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis.

Luis pursued his PhD in Agricultural Economics at Purdue University with specialization on International Trade and Environmental Economics. His dissertation focused on Climate Change interactions with food security, agriculture, livestock, and forestry.

Luis is an expert in dairy economics, benefit-cost analysis, agribusiness, labor issues, environmental economics, financial management, mathematical optimization, and general equilibrium modeling. He is currently the chair of the International Section of the Agricultural and Applied Economic Association (AAEA). Luis has also received multiple awards such as 2022 Paul B and Robert Dykstra Faculty Excellence Award, EAERE Best Paper in Environmental and Resource Economics (2020), Outstanding Young Scholar Award (2017) by the FAMPS section of the AAEA, among many others.

Alexis H. Villacis is an applied microeconomist studying the social welfare implications of agricultural production, with a particular interest in food security, behavioral economics, and climate change. He is an Assistant Professor at the W. P. Carey School of Business, Morrison School of Agribusiness.

Professor Villacis is an applied microeconomist studying the social welfare implications of agriculture, with a particular interest in food value chains, food security, and behavioral economics. He has worked extensively in the Latin American region, including countries such as Honduras and Nicaragua. He has also conducted research with USAID in El Salvador and worked for the Department of Agriculture of Ecuador. 

Before joining W.P. Carey, he completed a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Applied Economics from Virginia Tech, and an M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University. He has also been a fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and at Innsbruck University.

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