2018 Committee

Thank you to the committee for putting on a great event. For all interested in being part of the 2019 committee, please email Sara Tirado with your interest!


Leanna LeverichLeanna Leverich, Committee Co-Chair


Leanna is a Master's student in the Applied Plant Sciences program studying soil nutrient management at the University of Minnesota. She received her Bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison in Agronomy and Life Sciences Communication leading her to her current studies in soils. Leanna's research focuses on the potential for soil phosphorus loss in corn-soybean rotations throughout the state of Minnesota. She hopes to continue working on research with direct application to farmers and Mid-western agriculture.


PictureSara Tirado, Committee Co-Chair


Sara is a second year PhD student within the Applied Plant Sciences Graduate Program at the University of Minnesota. Sara grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico before attending Iowa State University, where she acquired a bachelor's degree in Agronomy. Her current research is focused on developing and implementing phenomic approaches to characterize the effects of genetic and environmental variability on plant growth. 

PictureSydney Schiffner, Committee Member

Sydney is an M.S. student emphasizing in Agronomy/Agroecology in the department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics at the University of Minnesota. She received her B.S. degree in Ecology from the University of Minnesota, and found an interest in agronomy during those studies. Sydney is currently researching the potential of Silphium integrifolium (rosinweed) for use as a perennial oil seed crop. These studies include examining proper cropping systems to use with the plant, as well as configuring appropriate dates for seeding the plant.


Cody HoerningCody Hoerning, Committee Member

Cody Hoerning is finishing a Master's degree in Agronomy and transitioning to a PhD where he will continue working on camelina and pennycress, two winter annual cover crops that are intended to be used for oilseed production. He holds a B.S. degree in Agronomy from UW-Madison. His current research project focuses on implementing  winter oilseeds into a corn and soybean rotations, where they can offer both economic and agro-ecosystem benefits. His specific research is focused on  the management of soybean cyst nematode and weeds in this system.


PictureVijaya Raj Joshi, Committee Member

Vijaya R. Joshi is a third year PhD student in Applied Plant Sciences program advised by Dr. Axel Garcia y Garcia and Dr. Jeff Coulter. He holds a M.S degree in Agronomy from the University of Wyoming. His current research project focuses on nitrogen management in corn using crop simulation models and remote sensing tools. 


Becky PictureZhong, Committee Member

Becky Zhong is a second-year PhD student in Plant Breeding and Genetics at the Applied Plant Sciences Program here at UMN. Her research project focuses on genetics and breeding in the dual cropping system of winter barley and soybean. Becky received her B.S. degree in Plant and Soil Sciences at North Carolina State University, and she is very interested in studies related to genetics and breeding and cropping system/agronomy.


Jessica CoburnJessica Coburn, Committee Member

Jessica is a M.S. student in Agroecology at the Applied Plant Sciences Program here at UMN. Her research project focuses on researching the use of alfalfa protein concentrate as an aquafeed ingredient. Jessica received her B.S. degree in Environemental Science and Resource Management at University of Washington Seattle, and she is very interested in the Twin Cities local food system.



Vivian WautersVivian Wauters, Committee Member

Vivian is a second year PhD student at the Applied Plant Sciences program studying the science, practice, and movement of agreocology in Midwest horticultural systems. Her research focus is on cover crops, soil quality, prioritizing research of interest and relevance to vegetable farmers, and meaningfully involving them in the research process. Her main research project is a collaboration with farmers to assess the effects of summer cover crops on diversified vegetable rotations.