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Q&A with new faculty: Alfredo Gonzalez Cambero

Alfredo Gonzalez Cambero

Alfredo Gonzalez Cambero’s career can be traced directly back to the family farm.

Cambero, who is originally from Mexico City, studied agricultural engineering in college, intending to eventually help his family’s farming business.

After graduation, and looking for some real-world experience before focusing on the farm, he took a job with a nonprofit in rural development, helping poor farmers modernize their agricultural techniques.

“That experience allowed me to see the social side of agronomy as a tool for social development,” he said. “I also learned that bringing change farmer by farmer would take forever; instead, it was government policy that was required. That also made me realize that I needed knowledge in economics and a higher degree.”

Cambero, now a visiting assistant professor of business and economics at Randolph, went on to earn his masters degree in economics and a PhD in applied economics from the University of Minnesota.

He found a new path in education, while also working as a consultant all over the world, from Colombia to Egypt to Trinidad and Tobago

His fields of expertise include agricultural and economic policy analysis, economic development, and prices and marketing.

How did you get into education?

As I was about to finish my master’s degree in economics, the school asked me to stay and become part of the faculty. I saw in education an even further opportunity to help bring change with a higher multiplier, so I was happy to say yes. Since then, education has been the most rewarding aspect of my professional career.

Describe your teaching style. What can students expect in your classes?

My approach to teaching is that of significant, meaningful learning, which helps to ensure lasting learning by students. In addition, since we live in a rapidly changing world, and knowledge is also changing at a fast pace, another aspect of my teaching approach involves learning to learn, as learning never ends, whether it is about updating knowledge or learning something new. Eventually we all leave college and must find our way by ourselves, and if we know how to learn, it is more likely that we will navigate forward. Students can expect me to help them to succeed by facilitating their learning.

What attracted you to the job at Randolph?

It runs in the family. Although it never occurred to me, I ended up teaching at the same college in which my father-in-law spent his academic career in the philosophy department of then-R-MWC. After spending most of my professional life abroad, as a family we relocated to Lynchburg, and it just seemed natural to knock on the doors of the economics and business department.

What are your initial impressions of Randolph and its students?

I immediately felt the warmth of the faculty and staff. It feels like family; the beautiful campus adds to that. It is enjoyable. I feel fortunate to be here. I am not so new to Randolph, as I have served as an adjunct before, and it is rewarding to see students grow and mature intellectually. I have had students from different backgrounds, which is also a learning experience for me.

What do you like to do outside of the classroom as far as hobbies or other activities?

Outside the classroom, I mostly spend my time gardening. My wife and I have a challenging vegetable garden; we try to stay positive, hoping one day the deer, the groundhog, and all other animal life let us share some of the food we grow.

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