WASHINGTON (September 29, 2020) – Preparing future food and agriculture scientists to solve urgent agricultural challenges tomorrow starts by investing in them today. The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and North Carolina State University are excited to announce the 23 recipients of the 2020 FFAR Fellows Program. This Program is a unique three-year fellowship that provides funding and mentorship to doctoral students conducting research in alignment with FFAR’s six Challenge Areas.
Most science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs prepare students for traditional research career paths, often leaving food and agriculture scientists unaware of career opportunities outside of the laboratory. Additionally, early career scientists are typically not provided with professional development opportunities to learn non-cognitive “soft skills” needed by well-rounded graduates. The FFAR Fellows program provides these missing opportunities.
“Investing in early career scientists is critical to building a scientific workforce that is prepared to tackle the many pressing issues facing the food and agriculture industry,” said FFAR’s Executive Director Dr. Sally Rockey. “We are proud to support this year’s talented cohort of young scientists who are conducting bold research with the potential for real world impact.”
This holistic training program not only funds research, but also provides career guidance, explores professional development opportunities and offers mentorship from industry sponsors. The program pairs doctoral candidates with academic and industry mentors to foster professional development and critical workforce skills. Each industry sponsor matches FFAR’s funding to double the investment in early-career scientists workforce development.
The FFAR Fellowship program is led by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University. “The Fellows are passionate about their science and the potential impact they can have in the world,” said Dr. Rebecca Dunning, who manages the program at NCSU. “The Fellows program provides the leadership and communications training these impressive Ph.D. students need to fully realize that potential.”
The 2020 FFAR Fellows include:
- Felipe Alves Correa Carvalho da Silva, University of Florida
- Lauren Anderson, North Carolina State University
- Sarah Bennett, Pennsylvania State University
- Maria Chavez, Colorado State University
- Ekramul Ehite, University of Tennessee Knoxville
- Charles Farber, Texas A&M University
- Shane Hansen, University of Wisconsin- Madison
- Siwook Hwang, Colorado State University
- Nicholas Karavolias, University of California, Berkeley
- Sarah Kezar, Texas A&M University
- Alison Lui, University of California, Berkeley
- Jamila Mweta, Tuskegee University
- Echo Pan, North Carolina State University
- Daniela Pezzini, North Carolina State University
- Aaron Prairie, Colorado State University
- Abigail Roche, Case Western Reserve University
- Manuel Sabbagh, University of Minnesota
- Xiaonan Shi, North Carolina State University
- Simon Sretenovic, University of Maryland College Park
- Renan Stefanini Lopes, Washington State University
- Jeremy Sutherland, Pennsylvania State University
- Sara Tondini, University of Illinois
- Lauren Whitt, University of Missouri
About the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization originally established by bipartisan Congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, builds unique partnerships to support innovative and actionable science addressing today's food and agriculture challenges. FFAR leverages public and private resources to increase the scientific and technological research, innovation, and partnerships critical to enhancing sustainable production of nutritious food for a growing global population. The FFAR Board of Directors is chaired by Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, Ph.D., and includes ex officio representation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation.