Curt A. McConnell

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Phd, graduated in 2023. Curt Andrew McConnell works now as a biogeochemistry experts with the company Indigo. He was co-advised by Jason Kaye. Curt's work explored the fate of phosphorus in soils using stable isotopes of oxygen to trace phosphates, the magnitude of the stratification of soil properties under no-till, and at the landscape level the influence of interseeding cover crops on corn across the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The later work used the simulation model Cycles. Skillful in the lab and with the keyboard, Curt has a contagious and cheerful energy. Curt was the recipient of a USDA predoctoral research fellowship.

Allison Koehle

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MSc, graduate in 2022. Allison Koehle is now a Senior Research Scientist at Planet FWD. Allison's work in our lab focused on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from organic agricultural systems. Allison crushed through a substantial amount of field and modeling work in the short time frame afforded by a Master's program, exploring clever management practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in organic systems. An AWD by nature, Allison finished her program in record time through the Covid pandemic and with her advisor on sabbatical.

Rachel Kim Nydegger Rozum

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PhD, graduated in 2022. Rachel Kim Rozum Nydegger works now as a GIS analyst with Antares Inc., a private company based in Virginia with expertise in landscape design and development of bioenergy systems. Rachel scaled up the application of the Cycles model, and was the first student to simulate more than 847k individual fields in Iowa (every single agricultural field in Iowa) to model the effect of changes in tillage practices, cover crops usage, and the replacement of annual crops with the perennial switchgrass. Among the insights from Rachel's work was that the need to dispose manure from CAFOs may condition the expansion of perennials in the landscape, as corn is a strong sink for nutrients in manure. Rachel was a generous lab member that trained incoming students in the use of the Cycles model. Rachel was the recipient of an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

Amanda B. Burton

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Phd, graduated in Spring of 2021. Amanda Bailey Burton works now at private company in Belgium. After graduation Amanda worked as postdoctoral student in Agroscope, Switzerland. During her PhD Amanda explored the use of polycultures for silage production, as well as creative spatial arrangements of maize plants and hybrids in the field to increase diversity and ameliorate the effect of climate stresses on productions systems. Amanda's energy and organizational skills allowed her to finish a prodigious amount of field work, and still find time to help other students in the lab. Amanda's PhD dissertation received the prestigious Penn State Alumni Association Dissertation Award in March 2021.

Giovani Stefani-Fae


PhD, graduated in 2019. Giovani Stefani-Fae is now a Researcher at EMBRAPA in Passo Fundo, Brazil. Giovani's work at Penn State merged his deep knowledge and experience in wheat and soybean systems, with interest in sustainable soil management. Giovani's work revealed that field-measured hydraulic saturated conductivity is powerful indicator of soil productivity (or soil quality) in Pennsylvania's agricultural soils. While at Penn State he was co-advised by Greg Roth's, whose expertise combined with Giovani's unbounded energy and interest in merging research with extension turbocharged the application of models (Cycles) and the role of the land grant system in Pennsylvania's and Brazil's agriculture.

Alexis Hoffman

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PhD, graduated in 2018. Alexis Hoffman was a student in Meteorology advised by Chris Forest (Meteorology) that completed part of her dissertation work in collaboration with our lab. Her outstanding work revealed the impact of climate variables on crop yield in the US and Africa using machine learning, and included an impressive effort to disentangle the direct effect on dust on US crop yields. Alexis is now a Principal Data Scientist and Manager of the Data Science Team at Jupiter Intelligence, a company specialized in assessing climate risks.

Mitch C. Hunter

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PhD, graduated in 2018. Mitch Clayton Hunter was a PhD student advised by Dave Mortensen (Weed Ecology) that become a prolific user of the Cycles model. His work explored the use of cover crops on subsequent corn performance, as well as the role of soils in ameliorating the effects of climate change and in particular drought. After a few years as director of research for the American Farmland Trust, Mitch works currently at the University of Minnesota as Associate Director of the Forever Green Initiative. Mitch was the recipient of an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

Virginia M. Pravia

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PhD, graduated in 2017. Virginia Pravia is a Researcher in the Institute for Agricultural Research of Uruguay (INIA). Virginia's work addressed the sustainability of crop-pasture systems and included modeling and stable isotope work to trace both nitrogen and carbon cycling in soils. Her PhD demonstrated that carbon saturation can explain variations in carbon retention efficiency in soils. Through her time at Penn State, Virginia's meticulous work was recognized with multiple awards including a 1st prize at a prestigious soil carbon meeting in Rothamsted, UK.

Debasish Saha

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PhD, graduated in 2015. Debasish Saha was a Soils major advised by Armen Kemanian and co-advised by Jason Kaye (Biogeochemistry Dual Title program). Debasish focused on landscape control of nitrous oxide emission in energy crops (PhD), and organic agriculture (Penn State postdoc). Debasish combined field work and stable isotope work to understand the processes that control nitrous oxide emissions. During his time at Penn State Debasish won multiple awards. He is currently Assistant Professor of Soil Science at the University of Tennessee.

Charlie M. White

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PhD, graduated in 2015. Charlie White was a Soils major advised by Jason Kaye and co-advised by Armen Kemanian (Biogeochemistry Dual Title program). A scientist with a broad background, Charlie has published original work on modeling the coupled carbon and nitrogen cycling with particular consideration to soil organic mater and cover crops. White is currently Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management in the Department of Plant Science at Penn State.

Sebastian Mazzilli

Sebastian Mazzilli

PhD, graduated in 2014. Sebastian was Faculty at the University in Uruguay and Chief Agronomist of one of the largest agricultural producers' association in Uruguay. Sebastian published ground breaking work on soil carbon cycling in no-till system in temperate South America. Sebastian occupies currently a leadership position within INIA, the national institute for agricultural research in Uruguay and is stationed in the iconic Estacion Experimental La Estanzuela in Colonia, Uruguay.

Gustavo Camargo

Gustavo Camargo

PhD, graduated in 2015. Gustavo focuses now on applications of models and decision support systems in agriculture in the private sector, with the aim of developing sustainable practices. He works currently at Bayer in St Louis, MO.

Maria Laura Cangiano

Maria Laura Cangiano

MSc, graduated in 2015. After two productive years as Fulbright Fellow in our lab, Maria Laura is now preparing manuscripts emerging from her research in carbon and water fluxes in annual crops and woody perennial systems. She held a position as Junior Faculty in Agricultural Chemistry in the Department of Agricultural Sciences of the San Luis University in Argentina (Universidad Nacional de San Luis). She is currently affiliated with the University of North Caroline in joint-projects with the USDA-ARS.