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  • Writer's pictureWomen in Ag Science Team

Meet Johannah Hamilton, Public Policy Ph.D. Student

Devoted and self-confident, Johannah seeks to listen to the community and provide practical solutions to preserve farmlands.

Johannah Hamilton is a Public Policy P.h.D. student at Oregon State University (OSU). She is preparing herself to start an international rural comparative study with Oregon policies in the Willamette Valley and Ontario, Canada policies in the Greenbelt area. Johanna explains that Ontario’s Greenbelt has more than 2 million acres of protected land which secures environmentally sensitive areas and productive farmlands from urban development and sprawl. Her curiosity about how the land changes hands, who acquires it, and what they do with the land will impact Oregon for generations.  Therefore, she will interview farmers and policymakers in Oregon and Ontario to compare policies and practices. Eventually, she will evaluate possible ways to promote and motivate young and family farmers to stay in the farming business. 

“Agricultural/Rural policy is so imperative because it impacts us at every level from economic to social to environmental. It impacts our food quality and safety, our access to healthy and local food, water quality and access, wildlife habitats, agricultural economy, food security, climate change, vulnerable and underrepresented populations and more. Good agricultural policies are necessary to help sustain biodiversity, jobs, food and other resources.” 

Unexpected experiences are where you discover your passions

Johanna found her devotion and passion when she studied abroad in Panama. She expressed how she traveled all over each region in Panama and visited many farms and Agri-tourist spots. “It turned out to be so transformative for me because I discovered my passion for development and equity, especially among rural and other vulnerable communities.” This experience impacted her so much that she decided to study abroad in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Nicaragua during her undergrad years. 

Look out for campus organizations that will help you grow

During her undergraduate journey  in the Agricultural Economics program at the University of Kentucky, Johannah joined MANRRS (Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences)which exposed her to a new world of vast opportunities that allowed her to grow as a professional and scholar. Thanks to MANRRS, she outgrew her insecurities with enough confidence leading her to  attend her first professional conference, first internship, an interview with a Fortune 500 company, and the opportunity to complete her masters in Ag Economics at Auburn University. 

Get involved, network and give back

Johannah is actively involved with the community and campus organizations. She is active in numerous groups of leadership including the City of Corvallis King Legacy Advisory Board, the Community Inclusion Action Team, co-Leader of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, co-advisor for OSU’s SACNAS and MANRRS chapter and last but not least,  OSU’s Women in Policy.  

“I’m actually getting my Ph.D. on an assistantship as a MANRRS GTA right now so to say MANRRS has helped shape my journey through academia is an understatement. Currently, I’m the MANRRS National Graduate Vice President of Region IV. I’m very dedicated to MANRRS because I have seen first-hand the opportunities and genuine love and support that come from it.”

Johannah is clearly passionate about equity and development, and she hopes to work in agencies like the United Nations, FAO, NIFA and others. Her experience in Oregon exposed her to a lot of opportunities in agriculture and she hopes to own a farm besides having her dream job in a federal entity. Moreover, she emphasized that she wants to leave a long-lasting, positive impact on the world. 

“We witness the birth of incredibly impactful things all the time that come from individuals who didn’t give up or let someone else decide their limit for them.”

And after all that busy life she takes care of HERSELF

Johanna loves going on hikes with her dog around Oregon’s beautiful nature.  She also plays basketball, loves anime and video games. She even started her own skin care company with her friend called Melanin Minerals. They offer a variety of all-natural and handmade skincare products that are plant based but you also have the option of getting them with or without hemp CBD. 

As women role models, Johannah has: Michelle Obama, Rihanna, Malala, Christien Russell, Shandrea Stallworth, and her mom. “All are super bosses.”

Do you have a piece of advice you wish you had when you started your journey?

“Find your people. Not just your friends you hang out with, but mentors, advisors, professionals, etc. who genuinely want to see you succeed. Having that support and guidance when you’re feeling lost or really need a shoulder to lean on can make all the difference between you feeling like an imposter and dropping out versus knowing you deserve to be there and finishing.”

Johannah wants to highlight these awesome initiatives!

MANRRS (Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences)

SACNAS (Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science)

Melanin Minerals (of course!)

You can contact and know more about Johannah at:


Instagram: melaninminerals324



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