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Fall 2016

Name: Emily Ann Burke

Gender: Female


Phone Number: (571) 340-2215

Local Mailing Address

400 Houston St Apt I

Blacksburg, Virginia  24060

Permanent Mailing Address

705 Birch St SW

Vienna, Virginia  22180

How did you hear about COINS? VT undergrad listserv

VT Profile

Grade Level: Senior

Academic Standing: Senior

Credit Hours Completed: 115

Expected Graduation: May 2019

Major(s): Environmental Policy and Planning

Minor(s): (also a major) Applied Economics, Resource Management

Cumulative GPA: 3.85

In-Major GPA: 3.88

Do you plan to study abroad in the near future? No

Is there anything that you would like to communicate with the membership committee prior to reviewing your application? I can’t input my majors properly since there is only one option for major/minor, but I am getting a dual degree in EPP and Applied Economics. The in-major GPA correlates to my Applied Economics degree.


Name an organization you’ve been a part of, and describe how you contributed to the group.

This semester, I took a leadership role within the CALS First Year Experience course. My advisor within CALS sought me out to see if I would be interested in being a peer mentor for incoming freshman and transfer students. I was honored and excited to be given the opportunity. I have thoroughly enjoyed advising and leading students who are in the very beginning stages of their academic career. So much has changed for me over the last four years, largely because of the interactions I have had with people who care about my future and my passions. Their support and advice have led me to where I am today. I have always wanted to give back to CALS in some way and being a peer mentor was the perfect opportunity to express my gratitude for the people that have created unbelievable independent research opportunities and study abroad experiences for me. Each week, I attend class and work with 9 students to discuss and determine what they would like to capitalize on during their time at Virginia Tech. We have explored on-campus work opportunities they can become involved in and one of my students is currently in the process of applying for a job within the chemistry lab. I am there as a friend, a mentor, a resource, and trusted adult if they are struggling with something they do not feel comfortable asking a professor. Each week, I encourage them to challenge themselves to explore an interest they may have and it has been so rewarding to watch them develop niche within their respective majors.


In my sophomore year at Virginia Tech I made the decision to get a dual-degree in Applied Economics and Environmental Policy and Planning; a complimentary combination. I love the challenge that surrounds economic theory. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I am able to make sense of the concepts that drive supply and demand. COINS is an ideal opportunity to take my academic career to the next level as well as contribute a motivated, enthusiastic economic driven attitude towards the program. My academic load has lifted this year and I want to engross myself in the program to experience real-world application of my studies. This summer, I became serious about ensuing a career that encapsulates economics with respect to international development. I traveled to Thailand to research seed storing methods for small scale farmers. While there, I discovered that the greatest adversity many of these farmers faced was finding and establishing themselves within a market. My fascination with this challenge has inspired me to continue learning about the global market. More specifically, I believe I can bring a unique perspective to commodity trading because of my interest in how the market affects global development, particularly surrounding low income communities. My curiosity and desire to be involved with an organization that practices the principles of my academic choices had led me to COINS. Contributing to COINS would bring purpose to my decision to explore economics and its relationship with agriculture.

What are you passionate about and how does it contribute to your chosen course of study?

I have always had an interest in environmental policy. Prior to attending Virginia Tech, I thought I would major in environmental science. I lived by the principal that the environment was our sole responsibility and I felt strongly that decisions to mitigate the environmental chaos should be dedicated to solving environmental issues, regardless of the economic, social, or cultural sacrifices made. The last four years have changed my opinions on how to handle wide-spread environmental issues. I still have a desire to contribute some part of my career to environmental awareness, but I have come to understand the economics behind environmental policy decisions. This balance between the economy and the environment spurred my interest in international trade and development. I see the value and importance in understanding the way the international market works and how developing countries in particular are affected by economic and environmental choices. I would like to pursue a career that encourages economic growth in a sustainable manner; studying environmental policy and economics has provided me with a wholesome framework for fulfilling that passion.

Discuss a recent economic effect and how it contributed to the market.

Soybean prices in Brazil are at an all-time high. This is largely due to the tariffs placed on the China by the United States. China has invested their money in the Brazilian soybean market and this has affected the state of soybeans in the United States. Despite being in the midst of harvest time, the tariff negatively impacted prices for soybean futures and the effect has been detrimental to U.S. soybean farmers profits. The U.S. government has to spent billions of dollars to compensate farmers for the losses elicited by the tariff. The President’s attempt to force China to change its behavior backfired on the U.S. government when the Chinese resorted to the Brazilian soybean market—an unfortunate outcome of the tariff.

If you had three wishes, what would you wish for?

1) I would wish for a solution to all of the worlds environmental problems: climate change, glacial melting, rising sea-levels, ozone depletion, deforestation, habitat destruction, abnormal weather patterns, and so on. 2) I would wish for a mini Pitbull that is filled with lots of energy, wants to cuddle all of the time, follows me wherever I go, and runs with me when I exercise. 3) I would wish for Blacksburg to be closer to my hometown. I love Virginia Tech and I have made some amazing friends, but I often miss my parents and sister and I wish they were a quick drive away. They are a constant source of peace and comfort.

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