Graduate Students 2017-05-17T18:15:41+00:00

Graduate Students

Meet some of the graduate students who are currently involved in CEFS research and see some of the past graduate student research.

Rachel Atwell
Rachel Atwell | Ph.D. Candidate | Crop Science | NC State
Advisor: Dr. Chris Reberg-Horton

Rachel has research projects that focus on winter pea production in the Southeast and using cover crop mulches for weed suppression. Her first project focuses on screening winter pea genotypes for use as grain, forage and cover crops in the Southeast. Her other graduate student research focuses on using cover crop mulches for weed suppression in both organic and conventional cotton production. Rachel also completed her M.S. degree under the advisement of Chris Reberg-Horton where her research focused on cultural weed control tactics and fertility management in organic corn and canola production.

Rachel is a CEFS Graduate Fellow.  Learn more about the Graduate Fellows program here. 

Johanna Elsensohn
Johanna Elsensohn | Ph.D. Student | Entomology | NC State
Advisors: Dr. Hannah Burrack and Dr. Coby Schal

Johanna utilizes insights gained from basic biology research to help inform sustainable pest control strategies. She investigates how oviposition by female Drosophila suzukii, a globally invasive pest of small fruit crops, varies as a function of season, host quality, and pest density. These results will lead to better-informed, locally optimized pest management strategies for this pest. Another project, working with the Genetic Engineering and Society Center at NC State, compares socio-environmental risks among several insect genetic modification techniques and questions how different stakeholder groups evaluate those risks.

Johanna is a CEFS Graduate Fellow.  Learn more about the Graduate Fellows program here.

Sefakor Fianu
Sefakor Fianu | Ph.D. Candidate | Industrial and Systems Engineering | N.C. A&T
Advisor: Dr. Lauren Davis

Sefakor has experience and training in the design and improvement of Supply Chain systems with emphasis on optimization and decision making. She is currently working with Dr. Davis on the “Ufoods” project to build a decision support tool to assist the decision makers to build a cost-effective local food supply chain from Local farmers to University markets.

Fallon Fowler
Fallon Fowler | Ph.D. Student | Entomology | NC State
Advisor: Dr. Wes Watson

Fallon researches whether certain dung beetle groups (dwellers, tunnelers, or rollers) affect nutrient cycling and greenhouse gas production differently. She specifically seeks to answer which, if any, dung beetle traits and species are most beneficial to livestock producers and the environment. Ultimately, she plans on using this research to contribute to alternative, sustainable strategies in livestock systems, specifically in cattle production systems.

Fallon is a CEFS Graduate Fellow.  Learn more about the Graduate Fellows program here.

Graham Givens
Graham Givens | MBA Candidate | Business Administration | Jenkins Graduate School of Management | NC State
Advisor: Dr. Rebecca Dunning

CEFS Supply Chain Resource Cooperative Scholar

Graham’s research is focused on understanding the current state of local, sustainable food value chains in the region to provide recommendations and possible solutions to developing more equitable and efficient processes. Graham’s focus has been on local dairy supply chains and the different ways in which local dairy products move throughout the value chain.

Lisa K Johnson
Lisa K. Johnson | Ph.D. Student | Horticultural Science | NC State
Advisor: Dr. Nancy Creamer

Lisa is digging into food waste at the agricultural level. Vegetables are often left in the field because they don’t meet industry standards for quality. At the same time, food insecurity is high and anticipated population growth means increased yields are needed. Lisa is incorporating interdisciplinary methods to measure the amount of crops that are lost due to a lack of aesthetic appeal, and identify barriers growers face in harvesting, marketing, or otherwise utilizing this portion of their crop. Using the entire edible portion of the crop can improve yields without increasing inputs, which could improve efficiency, sustainability, and profitability for growers.

Jacob Rutz
Jacob Rutz | M.S. candidate | Crop Science | NC State
Advisors: Dr. Dara Bloom, Dr. Michelle Schroeder-Moreno

Jacob is involved in the Farm to Childcare initiative, partnering with Wake County Smart Start, Wake County Extension and Advocates for Health in Action to bring local, fresh fruits and vegetables to low-income childcare facilities in Wake County. Jacob is investigating the farmer side of this value-chain, researching various barriers to entry, complexities of long-term farm-direct relationships and efficacy of local food aggregators to meet this need. Jacob welcomes further collaboration!

David Suchoff Photo
David Suchoff | Ph.D. Candidate | Horticultural Science | NC State
Advisor: Dr. Chris Gunter

David’s research focuses on developing screening methods for abiotic stress tolerance and avoidance in tomato rootstocks. Specifically, David is looking at morphological traits in rootstock root systems that may help improve soil resource use and acquisition. The end goal of this research is to help farmers improve their resource use efficiency via the use of these more resilient rootstocks. David also completed his M.S. degree under Dr. Chris Gunter and Dr. Jonathan Schultheis investigating nitrogen use efficiency in grafted watermelon and tomatoes. Prior to graduate school David was an apprentice on the Small Farm Unit at CEFS’ Field Research and Outreach Facility at Cherry Farm in Goldsboro.

David is a CEFS Graduate Fellow.  Learn more about the Graduate Fellows program here.

Kaitlyn Sutton Photo
Kaitlyn Sutton | MBA Candidate | Jenkins Graduate School of Management | NC State
Advisor: Dr. Rebecca Dunning

CEFS Supply Chain Resource Cooperative Scholar

Kaitlyn’s research is focused on analyzing the food supply chains on North Carolina university campuses. As a member of the UFOODS (University Food Systems) project team, she is working to increase the understanding and transparency of how food systems work on university campuses so that small and mid-size farms can benefit from increased engagement with North Carolina campus communities. Kaitlyn’s focus has been on cultivating new market opportunities for farmers by creating supply chain links from farms to university campuses in North Carolina. Ultimately, she hopes that her research will contribute to increased access to local foods for North Carolina students and the development of greater economic opportunities for small farms.

Kaitlyn is a CEFS Graduate Fellow.  Learn more about the Graduate Fellows program here.