College of Agricultural Sciences students awarded NIFA fellowships

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Eight graduate students in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences are among the 101 recipients of fellowships from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

According to NIFA, these fellowships will develop new scientists and professionals to enter research, education and extension fields within the food and agricultural sciences. The aim of these grants is to cultivate future industry, government and academic leaders who are able to solve emerging agricultural challenges of the 21st century.

In all, NIFA awarded $12.6 million to support the training of doctoral candidates and postdoctoral scholars. Funding is made through NIFA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

Eligible applicants included land-grant institutions, colleges and universities with significant minority enrollments and the capacity to teach food and agricultural sciences, and other colleges and universities with the capacity to teach food and agricultural sciences.

"The high number of fellowships awarded to Penn State students this year stands as a testament to our exceptional research program and the outstanding students that it attracts," said Gary Thompson, associate dean for research and graduate education in the College of Agricultural Sciences. "These scholars are to be commended for their commitment to improving the quality of life for the world's citizens through their innovative research pursuits."

Penn State recipients and their research projects are:

— Andrew Elder, doctoral candidate, food science, "Preserving Omega-3 Oils: Investigating the Effect of Homologue Length on the Antioxidant Activity of Alkylresorcinols in Emulsified Foods."

— Elizabeth Rowan, doctoral candidate, entomology, "An Appetite for Phosphorus and Zinc? Towards a Better Understanding of Fertilization in Agricultural Insect Pest Management."

— Isaac Salfer, doctoral candidate, animal science, "The Rolf of Circadian Rhythms in Modulating Glucose Homeostasis of Dairy Cows."

— Melanie Allen, doctoral candidate, ecology, "Designing Farms that Support Wild Bees."

— Anne Jones, doctoral candidate, entomology, "Caterpillar Spit Decreases Green Leaf Volatile Emission, a Plant Stress Response."

— Amanda Ramcharan, postdoctoral fellow, entomology, "Harnessing Drones for Plant Disease Diagnosis."

— Charles Mason, postdoctoral scholar, entomology, "The Leaky Gut Syndrome: Direct and Indirect Consequences of Plant Defense Assaults on Herbivorous Insect Guts and Associated Microbiota."

— Douglas Sponsler, postdoctoral scholar, entomology, "Strengthening Urban Apiculture, Crop Production, and Biodiversity by Understanding the Habitat Needs of Wild and Managed Bees."

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Last Updated August 02, 2018