Graduate students receive Northeast SARE grants to conduct sustainable agriculture research

September 14, 2021
Graduate student Jessica Cole received a Northeast SARE Graduate Student Research Grant to explore the role that flowering plants play in pollinator exposure to pesticides. Photo courtesy of Joshua Brown, University of Vermont.

Twenty-eight students from around the Northeast were recently awarded grants by Northeast SARE to conduct sustainable agriculture research. Graduate students at any accredited Northeast university, college or veterinary school were invited to submit proposals to Northeast SARE’s Graduate Student Research Grant Program.

The program funds graduate student research focused on sustainable agriculture using either or both natural and social science approaches. Projects are intended to address issues of current or potential importance to Northeast farmers and the agricultural community.

Northeast SARE’s Administrative Council approved 28 proposals for the 2021 grant cycle, totaling $408,780. The students who received awards are listed below in alphabetical order by state.

Maine

  • Sara Delaney of the University of Maine in Orono, ME was awarded $15,000 to conduct, “Tracking Climate Adaptation Knowledge Spread in Advisor-Farmer Networks as Long-term Impacts of the Northeast Climate Adaptation Fellowship”. (Advisor: Rachel Schattman)
  • Benjamin Johnson of the University of Maine in Orono, ME was awarded $10,528 to conduct “Optimizing Thresholds and Reduced-Risk Management Strategies for the Control of Spotted Wing Drosophila in Maine’s Wild Blueberries”. (Advisor: Philip Fanning)

Maryland

  • Kathleen Evans of the University of Maryland in College Park, MD was awarded $14,998 to conduct, “Effects of Floral Diversification on Beneficial Arthropods and Ecosystem Services in an Edamame Agroecosystem”. (Advisor: Anahi Espindola) 
  • Biwek Gairhe of the University of Maryland in College Park, MD was awarded $14,970 to conduct, “How the Transition to Organic Grain Effects Biological Indicators of Soil Health”. (Advisor: Ray Weil)
  • Margaret Hartman of the University of Maryland in College Park, MD was awarded $15,000 to conduct, “Dragonflies as Potential Biological Control on Farms: Prey Assessment using a DNA Approach”. (Advisor: William Lamp)
  • Alison Schulenburg of the University of Maryland in College Park, MD was awarded $14,999 to conduct, “Management Options for Farmers Facing Saltwater Intrusion along the Chesapeake Bay’s Eastern Shore”. (Advisor: Katherine Tully)

Massachusetts

  • Deicy Munoz Agudelo of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA was awarded $14,999 to conduct, “Interactive Effects of Pesticides, Drought and Pathogens on the Common Eastern Bumble Bee”. (Advisor: Lynn Adler)
  • Ajay Giri of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA was awarded $13,411 to conduct, “Evaluating an Attract-and-Kill Strategy to Manage Tortricid Moth Pests using Plant Volatile-based Lures and the Biopesticide Bacillus thuringiensis va”. (Advisor: Jaime Pinero)             

New Hampshire

  • Annasamy Chandrakala of the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH was awarded $14,490 to conduct, “Antifungal Activity of Grapevine-derived Extracts against Botrytis cinerea”. (Advisor: Subhash Minocha)

New Jersey

  • Shuo Yuan of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ was awarded $14,997 to conduct, “Development of Value-added Healthy Meal Solutions in Functional Recyclable Packaging to Rebrand and Increase Marketability of New Jersey Squashes”. (Advisor: Kit Yam)

New York

  • Matthew Barrett of Cornell University in Geneva, NY was awarded $14,924 to conduct, “Utility of the Parasitoid Fly Celatoria setosa for Controlling Striped Cucumber Beetles in Cucurbit Agrosystems”. (Advisor: Jennifer Thaler)
  • Rekha Bhandari of Cornell University in Geneva, NY was awarded $14,851 to conduct, “Assessing Insect Dynamics in the Sour Rot Disease Etiology of Grapes”. (Advisor: Gregory Loeb)
  • Eric Branch of Cornell University in Geneva, NY was awarded $14,741 to conduct, “The Effects of Azoxystrobin on Rhizosphere Microbiology and Microbiome-mediated Susceptibility to Rhizoctonia solani AG 2.2 in Table Beet”. (Advisor: Sarah Pethybridge)
  • Shriya Rangarajan of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY was awarded $15,000 to conduct, “Influences of Social Capital and Resource Efficiency on the Resilience of Local Food Supply Networks”. (Advisor: Kieran Donaghy)
  • Yejin Son of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY was awarded $14,991 to conduct, “ Improving Soil Health Using Beneficial Microbiomes in Urban Agriculture” (Advisor: Jenny Kao-Kniffin)
  • Rink Tacoma-Fogal of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY was awarded $15,000 to conduct, “Using Hand-held Near Infrared Spectroscopy Devices to Predict Grass Percentages in Alfalfa-Grass Mixtures to Improve Nutrient Management and Whole-farm Sustainability in Dairy Systems”. (Advisor: Debbie Cherney)

Pennsylvania

  • Jeremy Held of the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, PA was awarded $14,966 to conduct, “Identification of a Potential Nonhost Fire Blight Resistance Gene”. (Advisor: Tim McNellis)
  • Sophia Kenney of the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, PA was awarded $14,876 to conduct, “Increasing Sustainability in Dairy Production: A Proactive Approach to Addressing Salmonella Dublin, An Emerging Antimicrobial Resistant Pathogen”. (Advisor: Erika Ganda)
  • Elisa Lauritzen of the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, PA was awarded $15,000 to conduct, “Adapting Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation as a Pre-Plant Non-Chemical Soilborne Disease Management Tactic for Use in High Tunnel Tomato Systems”. (Advisor: Beth Gugino)
  • Andrew Lefever of the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, PA was awarded $14,124 to conduct, “Understanding Production and Conservation Tradeoffs of Vertical Tillage Practices”. (Advisor: John Wallace)
  • Rachel Richardson of the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, PA was awarded $15,000 to conduct, “Identification of Non-Pseudomonas Blotch Pathogens Using High Throughput Isolation”. (Advisor: Kevin Hockett) 
  • Francisco Reyes Rocha of the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, PA was awarded $14,923 to conduct, “Farming as a Latinx: Analyzing How Ethnic and Gender Identities Shape Latino/a Participation in Sustainable Agriculture in Pennsylvania”. (Advisor: Kathleen Sexsmith)
  • Ryan Spelman of the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, PA was awarded $15,000 to conduct, “Determining the Effect of Cover Cropping Legacy on Mycotoxin Accumulation and Fusarium Disease in Maize”. (Advisor: Gretchen Kuldau)
  • Wenan Yuan of the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, PA was awarded $14,997 to conduct, “Apple Blossom Density Estimation and Mapping through Unmanned Aerial Vehicle-based Photogrammetry”. (Advisor: Daeun Choi)

Vermont

  • Sarah Brickman of the University of Vermont in Burlington, VT was awarded $12,662 to conduct, “Quantifying How Soil Aggregate Size Impacts Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Manure Injection”. (Advisor: Heather Darby)
  • Andrea Campbell of the University of Vermont in Burlington, VT was awarded $14,438 to conduct, “Developing a Plant-based Attractant to Trap Swede Midge”. (Advisor: Yolanda Chen)
  • Catherine Horner of the University of Vermont in Burlington, VT was awarded $14,968 to conduct, “Integrating Vermont Farmer and Service Provider Knowledges Using Co-Created Mental Models of Soil Health” (Advisor: Ernesto Mendez)

West Virginia

Heather Chaney of the West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV was awarded $14,926 to conduct, “Characterization of Agouti-signaling Protein during Oocyte Maturation and Early Embryonic Development to Improve In vitro Embryo Production in Cattle”. (Advisor: Jianbo Yao)

Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Northeast SARE offers competitive grants to conduct sustainable agriculture research and education projects.

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