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Goodbye Columbus, Hello World!

Carolyn Dedolph”s plans were a little vague when she left Columbus High School for UW-Madison. “I wanted to study agriculture,” she recalls. She just wasn’t sure what part of agriculture.

But Dedolph soon learned about the possibilities. In a freshman writing class, she heard agricultural journalism professor Lloyd Bostian talk about his work in Brazil and at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines. “I was itching to see the world,” Dedolph says. “He planted in my brain the idea of working in international agriculture.”

In her junior year, she took a class from instructor Ellen Maurer, another former IRRI staffer. “By then I was determined to work at IRRI or one of the international agricultural research centers as a science writer and editor,” Dedolph recalls.

Dedolph received a double major in agricultural journalism and agricultural education in 1988. Her master’s in agricultural journalism in 1990 included an independent study project in Trinidad and a research project in Grenada. Dedolph then served briefly as a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo before Bostian and Maurer helped her land that job at the International Rice Research Institute.

“I didn’t think that would happen until I was 45 or 50 years old,” Dedolph says. “I was 25! Ellen Maurer was the strongest influence on my career choice and carried a lot of clout as my reference. She went way beyond being a teacher to really taking an interest in me and helping me get started and succeed in my career.”

After six years as a science editor and writer for IRRI and 18 months with the Asia Rice Foundation, Dedolph began working for the Asian Development Bank in 1999. “The ADB’s mission is to reduce poverty in Asia and the Pacific through projects that stimulate sustainable economic growth that helps the poor, encourage social development, and promote good governance and public service,” says Dedolph. “In 2000 it loaned $5.85 billion and provided $172 million in grants, mainly to the governments of countries in Asia and the Pacific.

“I truly enjoy the diversity of my work. One day I am working on a promotional flier about information and communication technology and the next writing a feature story on a seaweed project in China. I believe that my work has an impact on shaping people?s views about the Asian Development Bank and how it is making a difference in people’s lives.”