FIYou profile: Mahadev Bhat

By Eaguila

Name: Mahadev Bhat

Hometown: Sirsi, Karnataka, India

Job Title/Department: I’m an associate professor and co-director of the Agroecology Program in the Earth and Environment Department.

Campus: University Park

In a nutshell: I teach environmental economics, policy and sustainable agriculture courses. I conduct research in the general area of natural resource economics on coastal resources, water and agriculture. I also co-direct the FIU Agroecology Program.

Number of years at FIU: 15

What do you enjoy most about your job? I am in a position to make an impact on students’ lives by helping them successfully graduate and land a job or assume a leadership role. The energy and fresh ideas that new students bring to my class semester after semester are something that I cherish. And for my research, I get to travel to different countries and meet people from different origins.

What do you think faculty/staff/students should know about your department? We have a friendly group of faculty advisors and staff. Students will get ample opportunities to gain hands-on experience and get professional skills in the fields of earth sciences and environmental studies. They get close attention from faculty members and department staff.

Where is your favorite spot on campus? Why? University Park’s organic garden. This is a place where FIU students can learn in a fun way how to grow their own food in an ecologically friendly fashion.

If there is one thing you wish everyone knew about FIU, what would it be? FIU is on the verge of becoming a Hispanic-serving agricultural university as one of the new land-grant universities to be designated under the latest U.S. Farm Bill (provided that Congress appropriates funding). If approved, FIU is expected to receive millions of dollars for research and teaching in agricultural sciences.

Family snapshot: I grew up on a farm in South India. My parents didn’t have much education, but knew the value of it. They encouraged me to study and do well in school and helped me as much as they could. In 1988, I came to the United States to pursue my Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee. I joined FIU in 1994. I live in Miami with my wife and two children. My wife graduated from FIU with a degree in management information systems and now works as a data analyst. Even after 20 years, I regularly go back to my home country and have kept close contact with my brothers and their families.

Word that best describes you: Friendly.

First paying job: I was a bank officer in India.

Favorite TV show: Not one in particular, but anything that is humorous.

Your proudest accomplishment: The establishment of the Agroecology Program at FIU with the help of associate professor Krish Jayachandran and other faculty members and with the grant support of USDA Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program, the International Science Education Program and the Multicultural Scholars Program. The program provides funding support to students for internships, research and travel. More than 50 students are currently involved in the program taking classes and training at the Campus Organic Garden.

What do you do when you are not working at FIU? I run the religion-based educational program for children at a local Hindu temple, teaching more than 150 children. I also choreograph Indian classical and folk drama and dances by children. I like listening to Indian classical music and prayers.