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Immigration Reform and American Agriculture

Marissa Geib '12 spent a semester in Washington D.C., taking public policy classes and interning at the U.S.D.A. Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

As a Political Science major with a Biology minor, she felt as though she learned a great deal in both fields. 

Her research took her right into the heart of one of the most challenging political and economic issues in contemporary America: immigration reform and agriculture. Geib examined the interdependencies of our food supply and immigration reform - and then was able to present that research at Malone's 2012 Undergraduate Research Symposium (pictured below). 

Marissa Geib

"[I learned how much] that our agricultural consumer systems are based on the labor that [undocumented farm workers] are providing to us," Geib says. "If we like plentiful food supplied cheaply, we need broad, comprehensive immigration reform and not just a small fix."

For example, she said, Georgia's "Legal Workforce Act" left a shortage of farm workers, which meant that fruit went bad in the fields, unharvested, and drove up consumer prices.

Throughout her research, Geib found herself drawn more deeply into the complex interplay of these issues.

"It really helped me think analytically," she says. "Once you start researching, you learn how much you love it, and you're not going to want to stop, even when your project is over." 

Case in point, Geib is now working as the Huff Run and Mud Run Watershed Coordinator, where she volunteered as a community member and volunteer before being elected as secretary of the Huff Run Watershed Restoration Partnership. In 2011, Geib (pictured below) presented at Malone's Undergraduate Research Symposium on the topic: "Chemical Water Quality in Huff Run: an Example in Sustainability & Restoration."

Marissa Geib