climate team

Missouri EPSCoR Researchers Gathered for the Fourth Annual Meeting

Monday, November 26, 2018

Missouri Transect researchers gathered on October 4-5, 2018 for the Missouri Transect Annual Meeting at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) campus. The event brought together over 100 Missouri Transect participants, including faculty, staff, post-docs, graduate students, and undergrads and featured 42 research poster presentations.

On the evening of October 4, Jake Jacobson, Director of Public Relations for Children’s Mercy Kansas City, led a workshop for the Missouri Transect Student and Post-doc Association on effective communication to the public using social media engagement and building relationships with journalists.  He presented videos, social media posts, and anecdotes of communicating with print journalists to help students brainstorm how to get their own research out to the public in organic and creative ways.

The annual meeting with all Missouri Transect participants took place all day on October 5.  Among those in attendance were several key UMKC faculty and administrators. Attendees from all across Missouri received a warm address of welcome from UMKC Chancellor, Dr. C. Mauli Agrawal.  Dr. Agrawal was introduced by the UMKC Host and Climate Team member, Dr. Jimmy Adegoke.  He shared UMKC research areas of strength and highlighted successful interdisciplinary projects on campus.

Pictured L-R: UMKC Chancellor Dr. C. Mauli Agrawal, Missouri Project Director Dr. John Walker, Dr. Anthony Caruso, and Dr. Jimmy Adegoke

Dr. Anthony Caruso, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research at UMKC, gave the Keynote Address.  Dr. Caruso is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering at UMKC.  Based on his own research at UMKC, Dr. Caruso discussed how each of the teams (Plant, Climate, Community, Cyberinfrastructure, and Education) could contribute expertise to urban agriculture, One Heath Intelligence (OHI), and counter UAV defense research. He spoke on multi-institutional large grant opportunities for Missouri Transect researchers, particularly related to OHI.  OHI revolves around mapping the environmental, dietary, psychological, and physiological factors that affect a single person and predicting the health and longevity of an individual based on these factors.  Funding to study OHI ranges from federal to private sources based on the type of individual being studied, such as adults, children, elderly, the disadvantaged, active service members, or veterans.

After a short networking break, UMKC faculty, Dr. ZhiQiang Chen, Associate Professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering and Plant Team Seed Grant Recipient, and Dr. Lawrence Dreyfus, Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development led a panel of presentations of innovative technologies being developed and implemented by Missouri Transect researchers.  The session was called “Frontiers of Science: AVs, Autonomous Systems and Big Data Technologies and their Applications.”  The five presenters are Co-Investigators on the Plant and Climate Teams: Dr. Mikhail Berezin, Associate Professor, Department of Radiology, Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL); Ali Shafiekhani, PhD student with Gui DeSouza, (Associate Professor) Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Missouri-Columbia (MU); Dr. Zhaozhang Yin, Associate Proffesor, Department of Computer Science, Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T); Dr. Tim Eichler, Research Scientist at MU and University of Arkansas, and Dr. Neil Fox, Professor, Atmospheric Science, MU.

Graduate student, Ali Shafiekhani, presents on Vinobot and Vinocular technology out of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MU

As a representative of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Dr. Timothy VanReken spoke in the afternoon about the NSF INFEWS program and other “Cross-Cutting NSF Activities.”  Dr. VanReken is a Program Officer for NSF INFEWS and a Program Director for NSF EPSCoR. He has been with NSF EPSCoR since 2014 and came to Missouri for the Missouri EPSCoR Site Visit in 2017.  In his presentation, Dr. VanReken gave an overview of the Food-Energy-Water Nexus and the evolution of the INFEWS program at NSF (Program Synopsis: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505241).  Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) is just one aspect of the NSF’s Ten Big Ideas (https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/big_ideas/) and he encouraged EPSCoR researchers to look closely at the proposals and Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs) coming out of these initiatives.  One DCL that he highlighted was the Growing Convergence Research (NSF 18-058) (https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2018/nsf18058/nsf18058.jsp) that aims to fund “research driven by a specific, compelling challenge inspired by deep scientific questions or pressing societal needs.”  The proposed research should be interdisciplinary and innovative.  He also highlighted Rules of Life (RoL) funding opportunities because they fit well with Missouri EPSCoR research (https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/big_ideas/life.jsp).  RoL: Epigenetics (NSF 18-600, https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2018/nsf18600/nsf18600.htm), RoL: Forecasting and Emergence in Living Systems (NSF 18-031, https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2018/nsf18031/nsf18031.jsp), RoL: Building a Synthetic Cell (NSF 18-599, https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2018/nsf18599/nsf18599.htm) are all new initiatives. 

In the afternoon, four research and outreach highlights were given by students, Co-Investigators, and research scientists on the Missouri Transect Plant, Climate, Community and Education Teams. Lisa Groshong (Ph.D. Candidate, Community Team, MU) presented on “The community impact of climate change: Perceptions of state park visitors.” Abigail Aderonmu (Ph.D. Candidate, Climate Team, UMKC) gave her talk on “Missouri farmers’ perceptions of climate change and its impact on risk management practices.”  Dr. Nadia Shakoor (Senior Research Scientist and Tech Transfer Seed Grant Recipient, Plant Team, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center) talked about her research on “Natural diversity in maize drought stress response: Genome-wide association mapping of compositional traits and growth phenotypes.”  Dr. Sandra Arango-Caro (Education Programs Facilitator, Education Team, DDPSC) gave a presentation about her outreach education work, “MO DIRT: Promoting soil science in the state of Missouri.”

Graduate student, Abigail Aderonmu, presents her study of climate change and survey results of farmers' adaptation to climate change

After another networking break, students came to the front of the meeting room to give short “Poster Pop-Ups,” elevator pitches on their research to entice the audience to visit their research posters.  A poster session then took place and closed the annual meeting day of events.  At the end of the poster session, Dr. John Walker, Missouri EPSCoR Project Director, presented awards for the best posters and presentations, which were decided by a panel of judges.  The winning poster presenters where:

First Place: Carrie Merritt, UMKC, Undergrad (PI: Fengpeng Sun, Climate Team) “Midwestern Climate Modelling and Analysis: An Examination of Climate Patterns, Trends, and Sensitivities” (Poster 14)

Second Place: Shimin Tang, UMKC, PhD student (PI: ZhiQiang Chen, Plant Team) “Disaster-Scene Mechanics Understanding using Deep Learning” (Poster 21)

Third Place: Samuel Holden, MU, Undergrad (PI: Ruthie Angelovici, Plant Team) “Investigating the Genetic Architecture of the Seed Amino Acid Composition in Maize Using a Genome-wide Association Study (Poster 23)

Students give "pop-up" presentations of their posters before the poster session Samuel Holden describes his reserach to EAB member, Dr. Bonnie Bartel Carrie Merritt stands in front of her poster during the poster session

The Missouri Transect: Climate, Plants and Community is a statewide, collaborative research effort to understand how climate variability impacts plants and communities in Missouri. Researchers are collaborating with each other across disciplines and 10 institutions as part of this five-year project.  It is funded through the National Science Foundation’s EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) program.

Missouri Transect Sponsors New Faculty Hires Across Missouri

Friday, October 6, 2017

New Faculty Hires

Missouri Transect has committed to providing a total of $800,000 to start-up packages to five faculty hires across the partner institutions. These faculty hires reflect both future needs of the project and gaps in specific areas, and are designed to strengthen the overall mission of Missouri Transect.  The final faculty hire will begin in January 2018 at Lincoln University in the field of ecology.  Learn more about the current new faculty hires that have provided expertise and innovation at Misssouri S&T, UMKC, University of Missouri, and the Danforth Plant Science Center:

Xiong Zhang, Missouri University of Science and Technology (MS&T)

Xiong Zhang is Associate Professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at MS&T in Rolla.  He moved to Rolla from the University of Cincinnati as Associate Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, and Architectural Engineering, and Construction Management.  Dr. Zhang earned his Ph.D. and worked as a postdoctoral research associate in civil engineering at Texas A&M University.  He is an established member of the Missouri Transect Plant Team.  His research interests include remote sensing for geo-engineering applications, unsaturated soil mechanics, constitutive and numerical modeling of coupled climate-soil- structure systems, advanced laboratory testing techniques, geothermal and ground source heat pump systems, soil stabilization and ground improvement, and frozen ground engineering.

MS&T profile: https://care.mst.edu/people/faculty/profiles/zhang/

 

Fengpeng Sun, University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC)

Fengpeng Sun is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geosciences at UMKC.  As an established climate scientist, Dr. Fengpeng Sun brings to the Climate Team added expertise in high-resolution regional climate modeling. His research focus includes climate variability and change, regional climate modeling and downscaling, climate change impacts and sustainability, and geosciences data analysis and statistics. Dr. Sun received his Ph.D. in Earth System Science with a focus on Climate Dynamics from UC-Irvine. Before he joined UMKC in 2016, he was an assistant researcher in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at UCLA, developing regional climate downscaling framework to construct historical climate and to project future climate change in the Greater Los Angeles Area and California’s Sierra Nevada.

Research website: http://s.web.umkc.edu/sunf/index.html

 

Malia Gehan, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center (DDPSC)

Malia Gehan is an Assistant Member at DDPSC.  She joined the Plant Team at the inception of the Missouri Transect project in 2014 as a postdoctoral fellow at DDPSC.  She has since established her own lab, with start-up funds provided by Missouri Transect’s new faculty hire initiative.  Her research focus is on improving temperature stress resistance in plants using grasses and quinoa as model plant systems.  The Gehan Lab is conducting high-throughput phenotyping using plant imaging techniques to measure abiotic stress and identify traits that could resist temperature stress.  Dr. Gehan is also dedicated to outreach and has led computer science training for the Missouri Transect Computer Science Institute for Women (CSIW) in 2015 and other student and teacher workshops.

Danforth Center profile: https://www.danforthcenter.org/scientists-research/principal-investigators/malia-gehan

Lab website: http://www.gehan-lab.org/

 

Ruthie Angelovici, University of Missouri-Columbia (MU)

Ruthie Angelovici specializes in improving amino acid presence in staple crop seeds.  Her lab is working to understand the metabolic and genetic mechanisms driving the response of amino acids to environmental stress and other constraints.  Dr. Angelovici received her M.S. from Tel Aviv University, and her Ph.D. in Plant Sciences at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.  She continued on as a postdoctoral fellow at the Weizmann Instutite and then continued on as a postdoctoral fellow at Michigan State University from 2010-2015.  She became the first new faculty hire of Missouri Transect in 2015 when she joined the Division of Biological Sciences at MU and became a member of the Missouri Transect Plant Team.

Research profile: http://biology.missouri.edu/people/?person=165

Lab website: https://angelovici.biology.missouri.edu/

Paleo Perspectives on Climate Change Award Announcement

Monday, July 31, 2017

Program Solicitation

NSF 17-582

Replaces Document(s):
NSF 13-576

NSF Logo  

National Science Foundation

Directorate for Geosciences
     Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences
     Division of Earth Sciences
     Division of Ocean Sciences
     Office of Polar Programs

Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

October 20, 2017

October 20, Annually Thereafter

IMPORTANT INFORMATION AND REVISION NOTES

Changes included extending deadline dates and updating PAPPG requirements.

Any proposal submitted in response to this solicitation should be submitted in accordance with the revised NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 17-1), which is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 30, 2017.

SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

General Information

Program Title:

Paleo Perspectives on Climate Change (P2C2)

Synopsis of Program:

The goal of research funded under the interdisciplinary P2C2 solicitation is to utilize key geological, chemical, atmospheric (gas in ice cores), and biological records of climate system variability to provide insights into the mechanisms and rate of change that characterized Earth's past climate variability, the sensitivity of Earth's climate system to changes in forcing, and the response of key components of the Earth system to these changes.

Important scientific objectives of P2C2 are to: 1) provide comprehensive paleoclimate data sets that can serve as model test data sets analogous to instrumental observations; and 2) enable transformative syntheses of paleoclimate data and modeling outcomes to understand the response of the longer-term and higher magnitude variability of the climate system that is observed in the geological and cryospheric records.

Cognizant Program Officer(s):

Please note that the following information is current at the time of publishing. See program website for any updates to the points of contact.

  • Larry C. Peterson, telephone: (703) 292-2001, email: lapeters [at] nsf [dot] gov
  • Marguerite Toscano, telephone: (703) 292-8550, email: mtoscano [at] nsf [dot] gov
  • Jonathan Wynn, telephone: (703) 292-4725, email: jwynn [at] nsf [dot] gov
  • Candace O. Major, Division of Ocean Sciences, telephone: (703) 292-7597, email: cmajor [at] nsf [dot] gov
  • William J. Wiseman, Division of Polar Programs, telephone: (703) 292-4750, email: wwiseman [at] nsf [dot] gov
  • David J. Verardo, Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences, telephone: (703) 292-8527, email: dverardo [at] nsf [dot] gov

Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s):

  • 47.050 --- Geosciences

Award Information

Anticipated Type of Award:

Standard Grant or Continuing Grant

Estimated Number of Awards: 35

Approximately 35 new awards per year will be made with a typical award duration of three years.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $11,000,000

$11 million per year pending availability of funds

Eligibility Information

Who May Submit Proposals:

The categories of proposers eligible to submit proposals to the National Science Foundation are identified in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Chapter I.E.

Who May Serve as PI:

There are no restrictions or limits.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization:

There are no restrictions or limits.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or Co-PI:

There are no restrictions or limits.

Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

  • Letters of Intent: Not required
  • Preliminary Proposal Submission: Not required
  • Full Proposals:

B. Budgetary Information

  • Cost Sharing Requirements:

    Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.

  • Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations:

    Not Applicable

  • Other Budgetary Limitations:

    Not Applicable

C. Due Dates

  • Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

    October 20, 2017

    October 20, Annually Thereafter

Missouri Transect Second Annual Meeting Bring Together Over 100 Attendees at Missouri S&T

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Dr. Cheryl B. Schrader gives opening remarks at the Missouri Transect Annual Meeting

The Missouri Transect Annual Meeting took place on September 14-15, 2016, at the Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla. The event brought together over 100 Missouri Transect participants and featured 48 research poster presentations.

Among those in attendance were several key Missouri S&T faculty and administrators. Attendees from all across Missouri received a warm address of welcome from Missouri S&T Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader. Other Missouri S&T leaders also on hand to meet and interact with attendees included Dr. Robert Marley, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs; Dr. Bruce McMillian, Associate Dean of the College of Engineering and Computing, and Dr. Stephen Roberts, Vice Provost and Dean of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Business.

Dr. Kruse presenting on GRFP opportunities. To access her presentation, visit https://missouriepscor.org/news/nsf-powerpoints-missouri-transect-annual-meeting

Dr. Rebecca Kruse, Program Director for the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings, gave a presentation about NSF funding opportunities. She focused specifically on grants available to early career investigators, including the Faculty Early-Career Development Program (CAREER) and Graduate Research Fellowship Program.

Dr. Rich Ferrieri with Brookhaven National Laboratory gave the meeting’s keynote address. He described use of a technique his lab developed to administer and track radiotracers and their metabolites in whole plants using positron emission tomography (PET). To show the power of this technique for precision phenotyping, he highlighted results from two projects aimed at identifying the physiological, metabolic, and genetic changes in plants in response to root herbivory. Ferrieri previously served on the External Advisory Board for the Plant Imaging Consortium, a joint project of the Missouri and Arkansas EPSCoR programs, and has an adjunct faculty appointment with MU’s Department of Chemistry and Research Reactor. His talk highlighted the growing emphasis and innovations in precision phenotyping in plant science research.

Attendees were also brought up to speed on the progress of the Missouri Transect goals and projects. Each of the five Missouri Transect teams (i.e., Plant, Climate, Community, Science Education and Outreach, and Cyberinfrastructure) highlighted its accomplishments over the past year as well as next steps for the years ahead. A poster presentation session also gave students and postdoctoral fellows an opportunity to share results from projects as well as for all participants to learn about the wide range of research and educational projects currently underway.

Among the poster presenters were Lisa Groshong from the University of Missouri, who shared results from a project using photo narratives as a means to document visitors and park managers’ perceptions of the effects of climate change to Missouri State Parks. New advanced phenotyping technologies also were the focus of several posters, including Tyler Bradford with Missouri State University whose poster showcased a drone fitted with a hyperspectral camera being used to monitor and assess vegetative stress of fields of plants exposed to different drought conditions. Among the educational projects highlighted were Mutant Millets, an inquiry-based learning and advanced science research in modern agriculture project for high schoolers launched by the Danforth Center, and a community resilience education and training project for kids 6-9 years of age designed by Lincoln University.

Lisa Groshong, graduate student on the Community Team, speaks with Dr. Sandra Arango-Caro about community surveys and citizen science projects. Tyler Bradford, graduate student working on the Missouri State University seed grant, speaks with Rahul Sukharia about his research at Missouri State Lincoln University undergradates and graduate students speak with their faculty mentor, Dr. David Heise, during a networking break

Dr. Joel Burken, Chair of the Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Department at Missouri S&T and co-Lead of the Missouri Transect Plant Team generously hosted the annual meeting.  The event was organized by Missouri S&T Distance and Continuing Education Department.  The Missouri Transect would like to thank Sue Turner, Director of Distance and Continuing Education and Dr. Burken for their efforts in making this event such a success.

The Missouri Transect: Climate, Plants and Community is a statewide, collaborative research effort to understand how climate variability impacts plants and communities in Missouri. Researchers are collaborating with each other across disciplines and 10 institutions as part of this five-year project.  It is funded through the National Science Foundation’s EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) program.

10th Annual Graduate Climate Conference Accepting Abstracts

Thursday, May 26, 2016

There is still one week left to submit an abstract to the 10th Annual Graduate Climate Conference, which will be held October 28-30, 2016 at the University of Washington Pack Forest Conference Center.  The Graduate Climate Conference (GCC) is an interdisciplinary climate conference run by graduate students, for graduate students, with the goal of assembling a broad range of talks and posters featuring high-quality research focused on past, present, and future climate change and its impacts. 

We encourage students at all stages of their graduate career to apply and we seek abstracts on climate research from a variety of disciplines from the physical, natural, and social sciences and humanities, including: anthropology, atmospheric sciences, biology, Earth and environmental sciences, economics, engineering, ethics, geography, law, oceanography, public policy, and resource management. 

We highly encourage abstracts from students with traditionally under-represented backgrounds.

The abstract submission period opened on April 11 and closes June 1. Lodging and meals are covered for all participants. Limited travel funding is also available. Please see our website for more information and for submitting abstracts: www.graduateclimateconference.com

 

 

Weather Radar Dedication Ceremony Held at the Ninth Annual South Farm Showcase

Saturday, September 26, 2015

   Photo Credit: Logan Jackson | copyright: 2015 – Curators of the University of Missouri                                

 

           

 

The Missouri Transect-funded Doppler weather radar was officially dedicated at the ninth annual South Farm Showcase on Saturday, September 26, 2015.  An estimated 16,000 people came to the South Farm Showcase to visit over 60 venues spread throughout the property.

The Doppler weather radar was erected at the Jefferson Institute at South Farm Research Center in Columbia, MO on June 30.  By July 3 the radar was already collecting and streaming data by the minute.  Drs. Neil Fox and Tony Lupo, as well as EWR representatives gave words about the significance of the Doppler radar for climate science and weather forecasting in mid-Missouri.

EWR Weather Radar Systems designed the E750DP unit using dual polarizing technology, which improves the accuracy of precipitation estimates by taking two-dimensional images.  Dual-pol gives the weather forecasters a better reading of weather systems and can send warnings of severe weather to the public more quickly and accurately than before.  The data collected by the radar is transferred and stored every five minutes to the EPSCoR research server, managed by the Cyberinfrastructure Team.

A goal of collecting radar data is to make the streaming data available in map-format to public users through a public website.  The National Weather Service (NWS) is interested in the live streaming data provided by the radar.  This is the first radar unit in mid-Missouri to provide dual-pol images and will provide an additional layer of data for the NWS weather alert service.  Missouri EPSCoR will have more information on this coming soon.

Learn more about the Missouri Transect radar on the Climate Team Research Highlights page, “Closing a Radar Gap.”

Radar article in the Columbia Missourian, "New MU radar keeps eye on weather in the Columbia area."

Thundersnow and Flash Floods: The Elevated Thunderstorm and Its Dangers

Event date(s): Saturday, September 9, 2017
Location: Monsanto Auditorium, Bond Life Sciences Center, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211


Saturday, September 9

10:30-11:30am Saturday Morning Science: Thundersnow and Flash Floods: The Elevated Thunderstorm and Its Dangers

Speaker: Patrick Market, Professor of Atmospheric Science, University of Missouri, Atmospheric Science Program

Location: Monsanto Aud., LSC

Over the last 30 years, flooding has been the second leading cause of weather-related fatalities, with lightning coming in third. Many times, these phenomena occur on what may appear to be less threatening weather days. Our research group has produced a number of tools for improved weather forecasts on those days.

Saturday Morning Science is a series of one-hour long talks on various scientific topics. No science background is required, only enthusiasm for and an interest in science. The talks are free and open to the public. If you want to know a bit more about science or if you are simply curious, come join us on Saturday morning.

Join the conversation: #MizzouResearch and #LSSP2017

More info: bondlsc.missouri.edu/events

Missouri Transect Webinar - Quinn Pallardy (Climate Team)

Event date(s): Thursday, March 2, 2017
Location: University of Missouri-Columbia, Tucker Hall, Room 111; https://zoom.us/j/4739099498


About Presenter

Quinn Pallardy is a PhD student at the University of Missouri-Columbia in Dr. Bo Svoma's lab. He is doing research on the Climate Team and will present to the entire Missouri Transect community on his work creating high resolution fields of projected changes in temperature and precipitation in the United States.

Webinar Details

Date:

Thursday, Mar 2, 2017

Time:

12:00 PM

Location:

In Person: Room 111, Tucker Hall, University of Missouri-Columbia;

Online URL: https://zoom.us/j/4739099498

 

Add to Calendar: iCal/Outlook | Google Calendar

Graduate Student Rachel Kerns Attends U.S. Borlaug Summer Institute on Global Food Security

Rachel Kerns presenting her research poster during the poster session of the US Borlaug Summer Institute to Patrick Slack, program analyst, Purdue Center for Global Food Security.(Photo credit: US Borlaug Fellowship Program, Purdue University)       Photo credit: Rachel Kerns, University of Missouri      L-R: Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, Director of the Purdue Center for Global Food Security, Distinguished Professor of Agronomy, 2009 World Food Prize Laureate, Gary Burniske, Managing Director, Purdue Center for Global Food Security, Rachel Kerns, participant in the 2015 US Borlaug Fellows Summer Institute in Global Food Security receiving her completion award from Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, President, The World Prize Foundation at the closing reception of the 2015 US Borlaug Fellows Summer Institute held at Purdue University on June 19, 2015.(photo credit: Charles Jischke, Purdue University)

This summer, I had the opportunity to attend the U.S. Borlaug Summer Institute on Global Food Security at Purdue University. The institute was a two-week long program for graduate students interested in developing a better understanding of international development and global food security issues. The participating students came from many different backgrounds, including food science, nutrition, agronomy, soil science, economics, policy studies, sociology, anthropology, plant breeding, and pathology. When I was at Iowa State University for my undergraduate degrees, I was able to travel to Africa, South America, and Eastern Europe, and I have always had a passion for travelling and working in developing countries, so I was thrilled to be selected for this program!

Our training mainly consisted of lectures and practicums by world-class experts on food security from a variety of academic backgrounds. Most were faculty members with international research work, but we also heard from leadership at the US Agency for International Development and research scientists from local and multi-national NGOs. Dr. Gebisa Ejeta (2009 World Food Prize Laureate) was the program director and spent time getting to know each of us and answering our questions on working in international development and food security. We also completed an intensive group project where we were asked to respond to an RFA from USAID’s Feed the Future grant program. I was a member of the Kenya country group, and my team proposed a program to introduce cowpeas into the supply chain in Western Kenya. I learned so much from my teammates and from researching existing programs and conditions in that area.

One of the major themes that arose from the speakers was the need for climate change adaptation research, which fits well with my EPSCoR research project. In the coming decades, it is going to be increasingly important to understand how various ecosystems respond to the impacts of climate change and to develop strategies to make those ecosystems more resilient. I am so excited to look at the effects of increasing temperature and changing hydroperiods on playa wetlands on the Great Plains, and to take a close look at how climate change is affecting soil.

After I graduate from Mizzou, I hope that I am able to work on research in international development and global food security, and this conference has opened my eyes to the many ways to do so. I am so thankful for the network of fellow “hunger fighters” that I’ve gained, and also for my advisors and colleagues at University of Missouri for their support for me to attend this institute. I would highly recommend the Borlaug Summer Institute and Fellowship program to graduate students interested in global food security. You can find more information at www.purdue.edu/discoverypark/food/borlaugfellows/summer-institute/.

Tags: climate team, food security, summer institute, borlaug, graduate student