2016 AIARD Future Leaders Class
Mr. Cornelius Adewale is a Ph.D. candidate at Washington State University where he studies agricultural environmental science. Originally from Nigeria, Cornelius oversaw a growing organic vegetable farm in Nigeria before coming for his graduate studies. He is currently a board member of Seattle Tilth, a non-profit organization with focus on building sustainable food systems. Cornelius’s research focused on ecosystem services of agricultural systems. After graduation, he intends to continue working in model development for sustainable food systems across the globe.
Ms. Carmen Byce is an agricultural extension education specialist with volunteer, project management, agricultural extension, and youth development experience in the U.S., Central Asia and East Africa. Currently, Carmen is the Program Coordinator for Asia at the Borlaug Institute at Texas A&M AgriLife Research and previously served as an Agricultural Specialist with the Army National Guard Agribusiness Development Teams in Afghanistan. As a Ph.D. student at Texas A&M University, Carmen seeks to improve quantitative and qualitative methods of program and impact evaluation while developing tools for organizational learning.
Mr. Madhav Dhakal joined Plant and Soil Science department at Texas Tech University as a Ph.D. student in 2015. Madhav received his M.S. degree in Agronomy at Tribhuvan University, Nepal in 2011. After graduation, he spent 4 years in the government of Nepal, National Agricultural Research and Development Fund and District Agriculture Development Office, as an agriculture officer. He has published one book and one paper related to direct seeded rice technology. His research investigates a tradeoff between native pasture improvement and water consumption through improving native grass-alfalfa mixture quality and functional diversity in Southern High Plains. He would like to build his career in simulation modeling of soil moisture and pasture dynamics to make most efficient use of water supplies.
Ms. Anna Fairbairn is a M.S. student in agricultural and applied economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research investigates the quality of mineral fertilizer in the Morogoro region of Tanzania and is supported by the Borlaug Global Food Security Graduate Fellowship. After graduation, Anna hopes to obtain her doctorate and pursue a career in conducting policy-level research and impact assessment of technology adoption, food security and poverty reduction.
Mr. Noel Habashy is completing a Ph.D. at The Pennsylvania State University in agricultural & extension education and international agriculture & development. He has lived in Canada, Costa Rica, Egypt, and Honduras in addition to working in international development or education on five continents. His research focuses on understanding community perspectives of development projects. After graduation, he plans on working with NGOs and universities to facilitate collaborative, agile partnerships with local communities in the developing world.
Ms. Elyssa Lewis is a M.S. student at the University of California, Davis where she studies international agricultural development. She is also one of the graduate student coordinators of the Horticulture Innovation Lab's Trellis Fund program, which connects in-country development organizations with U.S. graduate students to work on short-term horticultural projects. Additionally, she has worked in South Africa with a local savings groups promoter to develop a more robust monitoring, evaluation and learning system. Her research focuses on the measurement of food (in)security and its implications on the promotion of local NGO learning.
Mr. Christian Man is a Ph.D. student in rural sociology and international agriculture and development at Penn State. His professional background is in urban agriculture, food policy, oral history, and local food value chains in the American south. His international experience includes work in Nepal and South Africa. His dissertation research is related to seed systems in Ethiopia. After graduating, Christian plans to work in development policy.
Mr. Frank Kyekyeku Nti is a Ph.D. candidate in agricultural economics at Kansas State University. His research has primarily centered on agricultural development in Ghana, his native country. His previous research was supported by a National Science Foundation fellowship where he investigated the role of energy on sustainable economic development in Ghana given the dynamics of its economic and social progress. His current research supported by a USAID grant investigates the supply chain management, production efficiency, and market structure of the Ghanaian poultry industry. He plans to work in the field of international development after graduation.
Mr. Diego Orellana is a M.S. student at the Department of Entomology at The Ohio State University. He is originally from Ecuador and currently researching the role of soil communities in changing tomato growth, chemistry and resistance to insects and diseases in organic farming systems. He is interested in working with rural farmers' cooperatives, government agencies, and industries to develop tools and policies that are necessary to achieve economically sustainable food production systems that are also compatible with environment quality.
Ms. Kate Polakiewicz is a M.Sc. candidate in International Agricultural Development at the University of California, Davis. Her background is in fair trade certification and international labor compliance third-party auditing. Kate has worked with USDA and the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture in applied experiential learning methodology for crop production in rural Haiti. At UC Davis, she is designing a new interdisciplinary course on coffee and international development. For her master's research, she will be in Honduras with Catholic Relief Services' coffee program as a fellow of USAID's Research and Innovation Fellowship for Agriculture.
Mr. Timothy Silberg is pursuing a Ph.D. from Michigan State University in ecological food and farming systems. Timothy’s agricultural development work in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala and Haiti catalyzed a desire to learn about the social and ecological processes operating within agricultural production systems. His doctoral research analyzes the use and adaptation of sustainable intensification methodologies among Malawian smallholder farmers. He comes from an interdisciplinary department that uses system dynamics, crop modeling and econometrics to study rural agri-food systems. Timothy wishes to work in development agencies that assess how, when, and if technology can be used for agriculture in conjunction with natural, social and human assets.