Vanessa Rickenbrode

Vanessa   Rickenbrode
  • PhD Alum
  • Department of Sociology
  • MA, Sociology, Michigan State University, 2019
  • BS, The Pennsylvania State University, 2015


Vanessa Rickenbrode


Vanessa Rickenbrode earned a PhD Candidate in the Department of Sociology with a specialization in Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change. Her research uses mixed methods to evaluate development initiatives and agrifood system changes in their potential for securing social justice, gender empowerment, and food security. Her dissertation compares how gender empowerment is framed for and by women in the Global South and analyzes the impact of organizational empowerment solutions on women in India.

Vanessa also has international fieldwork experience evaluating the empowerment potential of contract farming in Tanzanian floriculture and participating in agricultural and economic development projects in Kenya. Prior to coming to MSU, she conducted quantitative research under the direction of agricultural economists at Penn State’s Center for Economic and Community Development and Kansas State’s Center for Sustainable Bioenergy. She graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Community, Environment, and Development with a concentration in International Development and a specialization in Biostatistics; along with minors in International Agriculture and Biology.


  • Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change (GJEC)


Bergtold, Jason S., Marcellus Caldas, Ana Claudia Sant’Anna, Gabriel Granco and Vanessa Rickenbrode. 2017. "Indirect Land Use Change from Ethanol Production: The Case of Sugarcane Cane Expansion at the Farm Level on the Brazilian Cerrado." Journal of Land Use Science 12 (6): 442-456.