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In the form of a short story, we aim to create a wider network of #WomenInAgScience, including scientists, farmers, organizers, etc. Submit your story here!

Explore the ag fields


Becca Honeyball

April 11, 2024

Ph.D. Candidate in the Horticulture Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

As a graduate researcher, I study ericoid mycorrhizal fungi (ErM fungi) and their associations with cranberry plants. Because the United States is the largest global producer of cranberries, with Wisconsin accounting for 60% of nationwide production, exploring alternative management practices that reduce use of fertilizers and water while maintaining yields and plant health, could have a significant impact on the wellbeing of the land we inhabit and the agricultural community. As a graduate researcher, I study ericoid mycorrhizal fungi (ErM fungi) and their associations with cranberry plants. Because the United States is the largest global producer of cranberries, with Wisconsin accounting for 60% of nationwide production, exploring alternative management practices that reduce use of fertilizers and water while maintaining yields and plant health, could have a significant impact on the wellbeing of the land we inhabit and the agricultural community. ErM fungi are beneficial root-dwellers that form a symbiotic relationship with cranberry plants (and other ericaceous plants like blueberry, lingonberry, and rhododendrons). There is so much exploration to be done on these fungi and my research runs the gamut, investigating the potential of these cosmopolitan symbionts to enhance both tolerance of drought stress and access to readily available organic nutrients— i.e., the reduction of irrigation and the inorganic fertilizers that leach into watersheds. We’re also curious about the comparative biodiversity of fungal communities present inside wild versus cultivated cranberry roots. Between these projects in the lab, greenhouse, and field, this research has given me the opportunity to learn and create more protocols than I ever would have imagined. But I didn’t begin in the biological sciences arena. I double-majored in linguistics and anthropology as an undergraduate, conducting research in the context of conversation, gender, and institutional hierarchy. On the face of it, these fields may seem unrelated, but the idea of interconnectedness is still there; we all exist in dynamic relation to each other, whether we’re microbes and roots or the scientists studying them. We cannot expect to succeed in conservation work if we don’t make an effort to understand people.


V. Hannah Ayala

March 21, 2024

Head Diagnostician at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension - Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab

I graduated with a B.S. in Bioenvironmental Sciences from Texas A&M University in 2018. During my undergraduate, I had the opportunity to work as a student worker at the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab (TPDDL). This is where I developed a deep fascination for the relationships between plants, pathogens, and the environment. Every day brought me a new puzzle to solve in the form of a diseased plant that needed a diagnosis. I worked at the TPDDL as an Assistant Diagnostician until I left for graduate school at the University of California, Riverside. My M.S. research focused on the epidemiology of onion downy mildew in southern California. I monitored fields for symptoms, used spore traps, and tracked conducive weather conditions for Peronospora destructor to identify trends and develop strategies for disease prevention. I am now back at the TPDDL as the Head Diagnostician. As part of @txextension, I am privileged not only to provide plant disease diagnostic support but also to share knowledge of plant pathology and the vital role it plays in agriculture and the environment. I like to share plants and symptoms on my Instagram @plantsgetsick and help make videos for @txplantclinic!

Instagram: @plantsgetsick @txextension @txplantclinic @plpmbesc


Maddie Oskey

September 13, 2021

Research Associate at Zinpro Corporation

I'm Maddie and I help do research in the R&D department at a trace mineral company. My love for agriculture started the first time I visited my grandparent's dairy farm in Wisconsin. The amount of knowledge and strength my grandparents had to provide food for others amazed me. I studied at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and received my B.S. in Animal Science. Then I went to Clemson University to pursue my master's degree. My master's thesis focused on how different management techniques effected fiber digestibility of drought resistant forages. In my current position I've been able to continue my education in research/lab techniques, statistics, and experimental design. My areas of interest include: crop production, animal nutrition, data science, and mentorship within Ag science. One of my goals is to create a presentation to present to students at my former high school who may not be familiar with careers in agriculture science.

Instagram: @maddio94


Bárbara Soleil Ramos Sanfiorenzo

September 2, 2021

Quality Control Processing/Slaughter & HACCP Coordinator Assistant

In 2019 I graduated from the University of Puerto Rico, Arecibo Campus with a bachelor's degree in Industrial Chemical Process Technology. That same year I began my graduate studies in a Master's program in Food Science and Technology at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus. My research work focuses on the production and nutritional characterization of edible insects. I have worked as an Educator of the Ecoexploratory: Museum of Sciences of Puerto Rico and teaching assistant at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus offering laboratories in the biology department. Currently I work in the Puerto Rican company Ganaderos Alvarado as a quality control in the meat processing plant in the town of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. A year ago I started a personal project where I share content about Food Sciences (@ future.foodscientistbarbara). With this project I seek to share my knowledge and inspire new generations about the importance of this field of study. I consider Agricultural Sciences to be one of the most important fields of study. My best decision was to continue my studies in this field and thus be able to contribute to public health through food science.

Instagram: @future.foodscientistbarbara


Erlinda Janeth Bonilla Andrade

August 24, 2021

Agricultural Engineer in Ecuador

I was born and raised in Ecuador. I am an indigenous woman, I graduated as an Agricultural Engineer. In the future, I hope to pursue a master's degree in Plant Physiology and Nutrition. My thesis research was based on the efficiency of Gibberellins in the production of beans (var. INIAP 430 Portilla) in La Pradera farm. I was struck by how the addition of a hormone affects the assimilation and distribution of photo-assimilates in plants. As a result of this, I published a scientific article called Effect of gibberellins on the phenology of bean cultivation and I am currently writing another article called Effect of gibberellins on the dry matter distribution of beans. On the other hand, I am working as an agronomist providing nutrition and plant health solutions to small and large farmers. For me, it is very exciting to help them improve their production. I have noticed that many women agronomists suffer from discrimination from the producers when they get a job, that is why my long-term goal is to form the first network of women agronomists in my country, to reduce the labor gap that exists. Finally, I want to mention that I belong to the Warmi STEM group, which is a network of indigenous women that aims to make more girls from indigenous peoples interested in studying a career in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. I am very passionate about science and I hope to contribute with it for the development of the indigenous communities of Ecuador, uniting science and ancestral knowledge.

X: @JanethBonillla
Instagram: @janethbonilla4


Evan Lozano

August 10, 2021

Graduate Student in the Fruit Crops Pathology Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

I started working in Ag Science during my undergraduate career, where I discovered Plant Pathology and the importance of keeping crops healthy, as well as the many diseases of plants. I love getting to work with growers and solving problems that directly affect them. I currently work on Cranberry Fruit Rot, which is a disease complex made up of 12 different fungi. I am studying the biology of the different fungi in the complex, as well as the dispersal mechanisms of the various pathogens. I am especially interested in the dynamic barrier between cultivated agricultural land and uncultivated surroundings. Follow me @thecranberrypathologist on Instagram to see what I’m up to in the field and in lab!


Helvi Shindume

July 8, 2021

Graduate Student in Agribusiness at the Namibia University of Science and Technology

Helvi Shindume is a Namibian farmer and entrepreneur who holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and is currently pursuing her honors degree in Agribusiness at the Namibia University of Science and Technology. As a woman aspiring to build a career in agriculture, Helvi is known for instigating and devising original, thought-provoking concepts. In October 2019, she created the Women In Agriculture Namibia organization, which aims to strengthen the recognition of women’s efforts in agriculture. The club has two hundred members who are proactively dynamic in their communities, most being small scale farmers that produce for their households and populace in their vicinities, while some being qualified agriculturalists.

Instagram: @womeninagriculturenamibia


Dr. Emily Cole

June 16, 2021

Climate and Agriculture Program Manager at American Farmland Trust

I lead AFT’s Climate and Agriculture Program in New England. Where I work to improve and advocate for the integration of climate-smart management practices into New England’s productive farming communities through education, outreach, and policy. Before joining AFT, I was an assistant professor of environmental science at Westfield State University. Before that, I was a high school teacher and farming during the summers prompted me to pursue my doctorate degree in agriculture. I earned my Doctorate in plant and soil sciences from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where my research focused on improving soil health and carbon sequestration though the application of biochar and implementation of climate-smart management practices. I also hold a Master of Science Education from Boston University and a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Kenyon College.


Dr. Ranjana Pathak

May 25, 2021

Research Extensionist and Outreach in Plant Pathology

I was born and raised in India, and took my education up to Master’s degree. I then got an opportunity, back in 2016, to pursue my doctoral studies in Plant Science at Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Norway. My research focused on finding environmentally and cost-effective alternatives such the use of ultraviolet radiations within the visible region of the light spectrum that had the potential in mitigating the powdery mildews in greenhouse grown tomatoes. Furthermore, I was interested in elucidating the mechanism powdery mildews. I was also given the opportunity to travel to Sweden during my Ph.D. studies to take a course in Plant Pathology. There, I was exposed to a variety of new technologies that were being used by farmers with close collaborations with scientists. I was amazed by this experience of being able to see that collaborations between scientists and farmers could exist. Since then, my career interests have been inclined towards research extension and outreach. I firmly believe that as a Plant Pathologists, it is essential to understand the problems and challenges that every farmer faces, and help them to identify problems such as diseases,pests, etc. and provide them with solutions. In turn, I find that this continuously allows me to learn from farmers as well as enjoy and love my job every single day.

Instagram: @ranju232


Carmen Banks

May 6, 2021

Animal Scientist

I received my B.S. in animal science from the University of Maryland and am now a Ph.D. candidate in the Animal Biology graduate group at UC Davis. My research focuses on the mechanisms underlying prolactin receptor expression in the kidneys of pregnant and lactating pigs. In addition to my role as a graduate researcher, I am also a teaching assistant, mentor, the vice president of Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources & Related Sciences (MANRRS) at UC Davis, and one of the directors of the Diversity in STEM Committee (DISC) at UC Davis. Being a scientist in a field with very few people that look like you can be extremely difficult. However, one of my favorite things about pursuing a graduate degree is that I am able to serve as a role model and diversity figure for minorities in STEM. I am dedicated to supporting the advancement of marginalized students throughout academia by both mentoring and leading organizations that are devoted to fostering the success of minorities such as, MANRRS and DISC. I love that as a scientist I am able to pursue my passion for science while impacting the lives of minorities and changing the face of STEM!


Beverly Álvarez Torres

April 30, 2021

Soil Scientist

My first contact with soils was during visits to the family farm. Years later, I completed an internship at USDA-NRCS, primarily working with Soil Taxonomy. Each experience was different but equally educational and valuable for my professional training. In 2017, I graduated with a double B.S. in Biology and Environmental Technology with a minor concentration in Chemistry. Since I was sure of what I wanted I decided to pursue a M.Sc. in Soil Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico (Mayagüez). Despite having worked in the agricultural industry, it was quite challenging in the beginning because my academic training focused on another field. However, graduate school is full of rewards, teachings, and research experiences. Due to my graduate responsibilities, I dedicate a great part of my day to researching the saline and sodic soils of the Lajas Valley. My research implements the use of the EM-38, an electromagnetic induction sensor, to assess the relationship between the apparent electrical conductivity of the soil and its properties such as salinity, texture, and pH. In my free time, I work on Agropost a blog that I started earlier this year with one goal: to encourage a community that promotes agricultural sciences and associated professions.

Instagram: @myagropostpr


Kayla Braggs

April 6, 2021

Food Scientist, National MANRRS Region II Undergraduate Student Vice President

Originally, I came to Florida A&M University studying pharmacy because everyone told me the obvious thing to do if I was smart and liked science was to become a doctor. However, when I realized that pharmacy wasn't what I wanted to do, I had to find something better. Food Science and Agribusiness not only allow me to have versatility in the type of careers available but also has given me unparalleled opportunities both professionally and personally. It is powerful to think that, while the field is currently white-male dominated, I am breaking down barriers for the future minority, women leaders in agriculture and related fields. My research interests primarily focuses on food manufacturing, production, and customer experience. I want to bridge the gap between the science/research-based side and the business/customer-based side of the food industry. I want to understand not only how the product is made but also why customers choose it and why they keep coming back to it compared to the thousands of products just like it in a given grocery store.

X: itsme_kaylab
Instagram: kayla_braggs_region2


Dr. Noelia García-Franco

April 2, 2024

Soil scientist specializing in carbon sequestration and climate change at Technische Universität München (Lehrstuhl für Bodenkunde) in Germany

I have been working at the University for eight years as a soil scientist specializing in agricultural soil and carbon sequestration and climate change. I come from the Southeast of Spain, where I completed my doctoral thesis. More than 90% of our food comes from the soil; moreover, soil acts as a filter, purifying water and buffering harmful substances. It serves as habitat for millions of species and plays a role in climate regulation by acting as a sink for greenhouse gases. In the past, farmers were using conventional and intensive agricultural management practices in the soil to increase productivity, but the increase in temperature and decrease in precipitation due to climate change, led to a loss of soil organic matter and a reduction of productivity, therefore it is necessary to move to a sustainable agricultural management practices to offset the negative effects of climate change. I am a cheerful and very creative person who always tries to convey scientific knowledge to society in a simple and easily understandable way. That's why, amidst my fieldwork, laboratory work, and scientific publications, I made time to write a book about the importance of soil biodiversity for children. I believe it's crucial for people to learn to love and care for soils from an early age because you can't care for what you don't love. The book, translated into eight languages, can be downloaded for free from the website of the BonaRes program of the German Ministry of Science (

X: @NoeNoeliaga


Skye Blackburn

March 18, 2024

Founder of Edible Bug Shop, an insect protein farm located in Australia

After learning about the amazing health, sustainability and nutritional benefits of insect proteins, I founded Australia’s first insect protein farm called the edible bug shop in 2007. Since then I have dedicated my time to research and development of insect farming (optimization and commercialization), development of delicious insect protein based foods and education of the community about the importance of being able to create more, nutrient dense foods using less natural resources.

Instagram: @bugshop


Gabriela Inveninato Carmona

September 9, 2021

Entomology Graduate Student

Gabriela Inveninato Carmona (Gabi) is originally from southern Brazil. She has a B.S in Agronomy from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. Currently, she is a Ph.D. student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), conducting research on the influence of cover crop management on arthropod abundance and diversity in a cover crop-corn system. In 2019, she received the North Central Region – Sustainable and Agriculture Research and Education Student Grant to expand her Ph.D. research objectives to study insecticide management in cover crop-corn system. In addition to her research, she is very engaged at the UNL Lawrence Entomology Bruner Club, currently the elected president, co-chair of the Education Committee, and a member of f other committees. She is also a member of the UNL/College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources - Strategic Framework for Graduate Education Committee. Moreover, Gabi has been engaged with ESA and NCB, being a volunteer since 2017 and recently was elected as the UNL NCB student rep. Gabi’s past experiences in Brazil, USA, and in the Philippines contributed to developing her passion for leadership, agriculture, entomology, and her desire to merge technologies with sustainable crop protections strategies to better prepare growers to overcome pest issues. Gabi also has interests in people’s development, diversity, and inclusion.


Dr. Nilovna Chatterjee

September 1, 2021

Crop and Soil Modeling Scientist

I am a crop and soil modeling scientist at CIBO Technologies where I develop new crop models, improve existing model performance and test them to evaluate their performances. The most rewarding part of my job is to delineate the mathematics behind soil processes and crop physiology. We often go to the field, collect data and analyze them. But being a mathematical modeler, I get to test various what if scenarios in agriculture. The decision support systems based on these scenarios are critical to farmers.

X: @Chatter_Nilovna


Edauri Navarro Pérez

August 23, 2021

Graduate student in soil science and root ecology and teaching assistant at Arizona State University

I am Ph.D. student at Arizona State University, studying grass root traits and how these affect drylands soil properties. Did you know that roots are extremely important for ecosystem services? Besides serving as plant anchorage and transport nutrients and water, roots are really important for C cycle and can account for 10-60% of NPP in terrestrial ecosystems. Some root traits like root length, order & diameter can play a fundamental part in plant performance and survival since they have been linked with resource acquisition, mycorrhizal colonization, respiration rate and more. My research is looking for ways to understand 1) how grass- roots traits changes in different soil abiotic conditions and species composition, 2) their relationship with mycorrhizal colonization & 3) how they affect drylands rhizosphere soil properties (for example C & N avail). One of my goals with this project is to apply it on restoration projects in the future. Besides being a scientist, I am also poet that is inspired by life in and outside of the PhD. Also, I am super passionate about topics related intersectional justice.

X: @Edauri1
Instagram: @eda_transoceanica


Sandra Gomez Gutierrez

July 28, 2021

Ph.D. student in Plant Pathology at Purdue University

Sandra is a 2nd year Ph.D. student at Botany and Plant Pathology Department at Purdue University. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Agronomy from National University of Colombia in 2019. She started working in plant pathology during her second year of undergraduate studies. She worked in biological control of the cocoa pathogen Moniliophthora roreri. From that moment, she knew that plant pathology fascinated her and that research on fungal pathogens was her area of interest. In 2018, she did an internship where she worked with bioinformatics and discovered this incredible tool which has numerous applications for the study of gene expression in pathogens of agricultural interest. Currently, she combines bioinformatics, molecular biology and plant pathology in various projects within her laboratory, which specializes in wheat and corn pathogens. She is standardizing a field detection technique called Loop isothermal amplification (LAMP) for the detection of wheat pathogens whose visual detection is difficult. Her thesis research focuses on the wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici and the characterization of pathogen effectors which are involved in the transition from biotrophic to necrotrophic stage in this fungus. Also, she is studying target proteins in the host that interact with the corresponding pathogen effectors using protein-protein interaction analysis.

Instagram: @sandrigoguti
X: @SandriGutierrez


Dr. Priyanka Mittapelly

June 30, 2021

Postdoctoral Research Associate at USDA APHIS/University of Richmond

I was born and raised in India! I earned my bachelor’s degree in biotechnology and master’s degree in microbiology. I came to U.S. in 2011, initially worked as a research scholar and later pursued Ph.D. in entomology at The Ohio State University where I worked on bed bugs, brown marmorated stink bug and other agricultural pests. My doctoral research focused on understanding the molecular interactions of stink bug with its bacterial endosymbiont and their role in nutrient provisioning. My expertise is in molecular biology, insect-plant interactions and insect rearing and have used molecular tools such as RNA-Seq, metabolomics, mass spectrometry and RNA interference to better understand these interactions. Besides research, I have been an active participant of Entomological Society of America (ESA) meetings. I served as a student member-at-large for the ESA, North Central Branch Executive Committee for two years. I also won several student awards for my presentations during the ESA annual and branch meetings. I’m currently the President of Association of Indian Entomologists in North America and was featured as a standout early career professional in Entomology Today in 2020. When I am not working, I love spending time with my 5-year-old!

X: @PriyankaMittap2
Instagram: @priyankamittapelly
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Jodie McVane Reisner

June 14, 2021

Conservation Agriculture Graduate Student

Conservation agriculture professional previously with USDA as a regional conservation agronomist. In this role, I helped people help the land to promote soil and water conservation for our nation's land water resources. Currently, a Ph.D. student at Texas A&M University conducting research on cover crops for integrated weed management and regenerative agriculture. Communicating science to diverse audiences, especially farmers, is a passion I hope to share with other scientists. Bringing science to the public is a responsibility I take seriously so we can apply conservation on the ground at regional and national levels. Protecting our nation's greatest assets of soil and water resources for current and future generations is exciting!


Marian M. Rodríguez Soto

May 25, 2021

Entomology Graduate Student

“You are bumping up against a growth edge”. That is the phrase that summarizes my graduate school experience for the past two years. As an undergraduate I studied agricultural sciences at the University of Puerto Rico and applied to graduate school after hurricane Maria, unfortunately, hit our island, I had no access to internet or cellphone service but was able to apply. I started in the entomology department at Purdue University in the Summer of 2018 and since then it has been a journey of gaining knowledge in the field of entomology, research, science communication, extension, and pest management. I decided to pursue the current research I do because of the skills that I would gain during my master’s experience. My current research is in the interface of molecular tools applied to pest management. I study a group of insects called billbugs and I use DNA barcoding to understand their seasonal biology which in turn will help growers make more informed decisions in terms of pest management. My goal is to continue in the interface of science and informing better pest management programs to growers through extension materials to decrease the ecological footprint of pest control. Her strengths: Restorative | Adaptability | Harmony | Deliberative | Context

X: mars_rodri125
Instagram: marianamicaela


Vanessa García Polanco

May 5, 2021

Federal Policy Associate, Food Justice and Sustainable Community Advocate, Ag Economist

I advocate for sustainable agriculture and fair opportunities in agriculture for small and diversify young farmers and farmers of color as the National Young Farmers Coalition Federal Policy Associate. I seek to create partnerships and work with networks to address systematic inequalities in our agriculture by serving as a board member in The Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society, and the Michigan Food and Farming Systems. I bring my intersectional identities from sustainable food systems, environmental economics, food studies, and as a Dominican immigrant to inform my research, advocacy, and policy activities.

X/Instagram @vgpvisions


Jacqueline Aenlle

April 28, 2021

Ag Communicator

I received my B.S. in Dairy Science and Masters in Agricultural Education. I am currently a doctoral student studying agricultural communications. I work as a graduate assistant; supporting research projects and undergraduate courses within the Department. I also work part-time as an extension technician and manage a podcast for a research lab on campus. My research focuses on the use of new media for effective agricultural outreach. In my free time I produce my own podcast ‘From Urban to Ag,’ in an effort to bring agricultural information and research to urban consumers.

Instagram: @jvaenlle @fromurbantoag


Yeter Seda Karakoc

March 28, 2024

Graduate student at Clemson University

She began her AgScience career in Turkey, transitioning to the U.S. for a master’s degree at South Dakota State University, funded by a Turkish government scholarship. There, she engaged in the Plant Breeding and Genetics Program, focusing on the pleiotropic effects of the Ehd1 (Early Heading Date1) gene in rice, concurrently earning an M.S. degree in Data Science. Now, as a last-year Ph.D. student at Clemson University, she focuses on the metabolic profiling of Prunus spp., studying their interaction with Armillaria Root Rot (ARR) disease. Her research aims to uncover defense mechanisms in ARR-tolerant Prunus spp. and to develop predictive tools for ARR resistance by integrating genomic, transcriptomic, and metabolic data. During her doctoral education, she completed a professional development course, obtaining an FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot license, along with APSA Flight Proficiency and Level 1 Thermography Certificates. In addition to her academic endeavors, she gained practical industry experience by interning at Bayer during the summer of 2023. There, she worked on a trait-pipeline delivery project and participated in a project focused on Drone Mapping and Data Analysis in Corn Breeding and Genetics.


Lindsey Pedroncelli

March 14, 2024

Plant Pathologist, Staff Research Associate at UC Cooperative Extension San Diego

In 2017 I earned a B.S. in microbiology from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where I got my start in plant pathology working in the pathology lab at the Cal Poly Strawberry Center. I then decided to pursue graduate school and went to the University of California, Riverside where I earned a Ph.D. in plant pathology in 2023. My graduate research focused on the role of soil moisture in disease development and management of Macrophomina charcoal rot on strawberries. I performed lab, greenhouse, and field experiments to study the interactions between the strawberry plant and the soilborne fungus Macrophomina phaseolina. I’m now working as a staff research associate with UC Cooperative Extension San Diego where I’m conducting an urban agriculture project looking at the best way to grow high value crops in small-scale urban settings in Southern California. We are creating a production guide that will include scale-specific fertilizer, irrigation, and pest management recommendations. I love being a plant pathologist and helping growers protect their crops from disease. I also enjoy educating the public about plant diseases and where their food comes from. To learn more about my research and plant pathology in general, follow along on Instagram @ThePlantPathologist.

Instagram: @ThePlantPathologist.


Alice Dambroz

September 6, 2021

Soil Science Graduate Student

I’m an Agronomist and a Doctoral Student in Soil Science at Universidade Federal de Santa Maria. My research focuses on hydrossedimentological monitoring, tracing sediment sources and erosion modeling at the catchment scale. Our goal is to understand the processes occurring in an agricultural catchment by the border of the volcanic plateau in Southern Brazil so we can improve soil and water conservation. I’ve had previous research experiences with in vitro cultivation of plants, characterization of Manihot esculenta varieties, soil bioengineering and pedology. Besides my academic training, I’ve been working with my family at a grain production farm.

Instagram: @alicedambroz @gipehs.ufsm


Theo (Chelsea) Newbold

August 25, 2021

Plant Pathology Graduate Student

I started my ag journey during under grad, working in a small plant pathology lab at a state university in California. Through that experience I discovered not only the world of plant disease but the profound impact that plant health has on global health. This experience, coupled with my strong devotion to social justice, also helped shape my philosophy around science. I believe that science should be applicable and address current and emerging issues. I feel very fortunate that I was able to stay true to that philosophy during my Master’s and now my PhD. I attained my MS in plant pathology in summer of 2021. I worked on one of the world's most devastating diseases of grape, Grape Powdery Mildew, and the impact of strobilurin fungicide resistance on the fitness of its causal agent, Erysiphe necator. This pathogen is an ongoing problem for growers across the globe, and fungicide resistance has made managing it especially difficult. Through my work we now know that there are no fitness costs associated with resistance to strobilurins, indicating that their application is no longer an effective management tool. My PhD work will focus on understanding endophyte community establishment in corn and soybean. My research will be foundational to our understanding of endophyte communities and inform how these organisms interact with some of the world’s most important crops. Outside of my research I serve as vise chair for the Committee for Diversity Equity and Inclusion as part of the American Phytopathological Society where I work to make our field more accessible and equitable to all.

X: @chelsea_newbold


Fernanda Krupek

August 20, 2021

Graduate research assistant in soil science at University of Nebraska-Lincoln

I am a Ph.D. student in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). My research project focuses on alternative agricultural management practices to improve soil health and ecosystem services. This is a statewide project that combines on-farm experiments with a continuum of practices on a transition to more complex, ecologically intensified cropping systems. My project seeks to incorporate aspects of agroecosystem productivity, resilience, and adaptability in corn-soybean cropping systems. Before joining UNL, I received my M.Sc in Horticultural Sciences at the University of Florida (UF) where I worked on a project focused on canopy desiccation management, postharvest technology, and potato plant physiology. I also earned a B.S. in Agronomy from the University of Sao Paulo – Brazil. I recently joined the @oagroconnection YouTube channel, an outreach team effort to update Brazilian farmers on the USA corn and soybean growing conditions in part using the National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS) Crop Progress reports and Weather data from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Obtaining a doctorate degree at UNL is going to be a stepping-stone to my future career goal: become a researcher in a land-grant university and continue my engagement in research, teaching, and extension.

X: @FernandaKrupek


BeKa (Rebecca) Leuschen

July 12, 2021

Graduate Student in Plant Pathology at Purdue University

Halito! (Choctaw) Beka is a native american second-year graduate student studying molecular plant pathology at Purdue University - Department of Botany and Plant Pathology. Her research focuses on understanding pattern-triggered immunity (PTI) perception and response in tomato roots. BeKa's dream job is to work with Native American farmers to execute crop/pathogen research that directly impacts Native communities in the US and give awareness to scientific research in relation to Native cultural practices. Outside of her research focus, she is working to develop a program for Native American college students to explore PhD programs, including the interconnections between science and cultural preservation.

Instagram: @purdue_bpp_gso @b3kyL3u
Sloan IGP


Dr. Alyssa Whitcraft

June 28, 2021

Associate research professor on remote sensing of agriculture

Dr. Whitcraft is the Deputy Director and Program Manager for NASA Harvest, a thematically and geographically diverse consortium of more than 50 institutions focused on advancing the use of satellite-based EO by agricultural and food security decision makers. She is also an Associate Research Professor in the Department of Geographical Sciences at UMD, and since 2015, she has served as Program Scientist at the G20’s Group on Earth Observations Global Agricultural Monitoring (GEOGLAM) Secretariat. She has a broad portfolio ranging from management of large, multi-national programs to applications research in remote sensing of agriculture and in the social, political, economic, and technical aspects of transforming decision support systems through the integration of Earth observations (EO). She is an expert in organizational, institutional, and individual change with respect to integrating new satellite technologies into work flows. Dr. Whitcraft, having grown up working in her family winery also understands well the challenges of high-quality agricultural production in the context of climate change, extreme weather events, and land mismanagement. She is bringing this knowledge and experience to working with actors throughout the agricultural value chain - from inputs to producers to consumers.

X: @AKWhitcraft


Nicole Colón Carrión

June 8, 2021

Plant Pathology Graduate Student

I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, where I obtained my bachelor's degree in Natural Science with a concentration in Biology at the University of Puerto Rico, Cayey. After obtaining my bachelor's degree, I joined the post-baccalaureate program (PREP) at Michigan State University where I had the opportunity to work in the area of Neurotoxicology. Currently, I am a third-year Ph.D. student at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Arizona working in Dr. Arnold's lab. As a graduate student, I am interested in understanding how climate change impacts plant-fungal associations and their focus on reforestation and agricultural enhancement. After obtaining my Ph.D., my career goal is to become a specialist focused on the use of symbioses to develop biocontrol strategies to reduce pathogenicity and the use of chemical agents in the landscape. By integrating my knowledge in fungal symbioses, plant sciences, molecular biology, bioinformatics, phylogenetics, ecology, and evolution I will develop and communicate innovative strategies to local farmers to improve Puerto Rico's agricultural practices, while also providing educational opportunities to local students and engaging students in research.

Instagram: @nicolecolon11


Yesenia I. Vélez-Negrón

May 11, 2021

Plant Pathologist

My earliest memories as a child were listening to my father's concerns about how diseases were affecting his crops, and this is when his concerns became my curiosity. I decided to explore more about plant diseases and start my profession in Crop Protection at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus (UPRM). I explored my options within the discipline by volunteering in different activities. However, being a scholar of ECaFSS (Encouraging Careers In Food Security and Safety), made me expose myself to research work. In UPRM I had experience with different pathogens that were associated with pineapple rot such as oomycetes and bacteria. In the past few years, I had the opportunity to participate in internships which led me to explore two different research environments (academic (OSU) and industry (USDA-ARS)). After my experience with different research projects, I decided that my next journey will be related to microbes in Plant Pathology as a master’s student at Ohio State University. I believe that understanding microbes and how their molecular interactions work between the plant and the pathogen can contribute to proper management for these diseases.

Instagram: @yess_mei


Ivanett Z. Barreto Concepción

May 4, 2021

Food Engineer

I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. I received my B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico (Mayagüez). I am a second-year Ph.D. student at The Ohio State University. I work in the Food Process Engineering laboratory with Dr. Dennis R. Heldman. For decades, the meat industry has been encountering efficiency and quality problems with the current air-handling system of smokehouses. My research project involves an innovative smokehouse air-handling system that will increase food safety and quality attributes. The overall goal of my research is to determine the optimal configuration of the new ventilation system to achieve uniformity of airflow distribution thereby reducing temperature variations and process time. Part of my project also involves numerical analysis using Computational Fluid Dynamics to develop a 3D model and simulate the airflow pattern, velocity, and temperature distribution within the new smokehouse design. The transition from being an undergraduate student, working in the food industry, and going back to academia to pursue a doctoral degree has been challenging and tough but I am very proud of the decision I made. I am convinced that my graduate journey will be a unique and valuable experience in my life.

Instagram: @ivanett.zoe


Paola I. Bonilla Carrero

April 15, 2021

Animal Scientist

My name is Paola Bonilla and I am a second year M.S. student in the field of Animal Behavior and Welfare at the University of Maryland-College Park. My research topic involves the supplementation of probiotics to laying hens as an antibiotic alternative and to observe potential changes in behavior, production parameters, and overall well-being. Our lab also studies alternative ways to implement practices in chicken and quail production such as environmental enrichments to stimulate positive conditions in the farm, and also communicating better alternatives to the general public through Ag extension. I hope to be able to implement such practices in small laying hen farms for the benefit of the community it may serve. Many of the modern animal production systems are intensive and detrimental to the animal in question, prioritizing profit over the well-being of the animals. Although I am aware that there is heavy debate about the matter, I believe there is an ethical way to rear animals. In the animal science field, it can be a challenge to pose important questions relating to their emotional reactivity and share potential solutions. I believe it is crucial to understand the importance of this issue and the dire need for it to be addressed.

Instagram: @p.pibc

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