CANR honors 2022 cohort of Global Scholars in Education
CANR announces a new cohort of seven new global scholars representing education.
The Michigan State University (MSU) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) has announced a new cohort of 17 CANR Global Scholars, seven representing education. The scholars will be honored at the CANR Faculty & Staff Reception April 21.
Selected by the CANR International Programs Office, the Global Scholars Program supports established and early-mid career faculty members with seed funding and travel support for two years. Through this endeavor, CANR leadership annually selects three or more global scholars to strengthen and expand their global linkages, networks and collaborative programs across three core missions of the college in diverse areas of research, education and outreach.
The Global Scholars Program aims to enhance engagement of early and mid-career faculty members in international programs, according to Karim Maredia, director of CANR International Programs.
The Global Scholars in Education are:
- Daniel Chitwood, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Horticulture and a member of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering.
- Kylie Clay, Ph.D., associate director of the Forest Carbon and Climate Program in the Department of Forestry.
- Ramjee P. Ghimire, Ph.D., academic specialist in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
- Cedric Gondro, Ph.D., professor of Computational and Quantitative Genomics in the Department of Animal Science.
- Krista Isaacs, Ph.D., agroecologist with specializations in international seed systems, gender and agriculture, and crop ecology.
- Brent Ross, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
- Cholani Weebadde, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences.
The Global Scholars Program began in summer 2019 after Maredia was named director of CANR international programs. He was tasked with creating a faculty development initiative that grows the college’s global footprint and forms lasting international partnerships.
Global Scholars – Education
Daniel Chitwood, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Horticulture and a member of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering (CMSE) at MSU. Together, with Dr. Bob Van Buren at MSU and Dr. Alejandra Rougon-Cardoso from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores Unidad León, Chitwood has developed Plants & Python, an interdisciplinary, bilingual curriculum that teaches coding principles in Python using plant examples that are relevant to agriculture. As a Global Scholar, Chitwood has developed and offered a graduate online course on Foundations in Computational and Plant Sciences for MSU students in Mexico.
Kylie Clay, Ph.D., is the associate director of the Forest Carbon and Climate Program in the Department of Forestry. She earned a doctorate in political science from the University of Washington and a master’s degree in political economy from the London School of Economics. Her expertise is in the political economy of forest use decision-making and governance, forest carbon and commodity markets and natural resource property rights regimes. Her current projects explore the carbon storage and substitution potential of harvested wood products, social and environmental safeguards for carbon interventions, and institutional determinants of forest use in sub-Saharan Africa.
Cedric Gondro, Ph.D., is a professor of computational and quantitative genomics in the Department of Animal Science. His research focuses on the development of computational methods — particularly artificial intelligence — for optimization of biological problems and genomic prediction using high throughput genomic data, and its applications for livestock production. His applied work focuses on genetics of beef quality with a particular interest in the genetics of marbling. Current research projects include use of artificial intelligence methods for feature selection applied to genomic prediction, use of climate variables to increase accuracy of phenotypic prediction in livestock systems, supply chain data integration between farmers and consumers, applications of portable sequencing devices for livestock production and understanding epistasis in the context of linear models. As a Global Scholar, Gondro is developing a special online course for graduate and senior undergraduate students at MSU and internationally on “Precision Livestock Production: Big Data Programming and Artificial Intelligence Methods” applied to Animal Production.
Ramjee P. Ghimire, Ph.D., is an academic specialist in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. He has been involved in multidisciplinary research, training and outreach focusing on food safety, animal health, community empowerment and sustainable agricultural development in Asia, Africa and the U.S. As a Global Scholar, Ghimire has successfully designed and offered an international short course, “Zoonotic Diseases” in collaboration with several national and international organizations. Ghimire served as a member of the Departmental Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. He earned his Ph.D. degree from Michigan State University with a focus on international agricultural development and agricultural extension. He serves as general secretary of the Association of Nepalese Agricultural Professionals of Americas (NAPA).
Krista Isaacs, Ph.D., is an agroecologist with specializations in international seed systems, gender and agriculture, and crop ecology in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences. She works with plant breeders, farmers and practitioners to improve the availability of preferred, quality seed in Africa and India. With a Ph.D. in crop and soil sciences from Michigan State University and a bachelor’s degree in environmental sociology, her transdisciplinary research and outreach are focused on participatory processes with farmers that considers the environmental, social and economic constraints and opportunities to farmer adoption of new varieties and practices. Isaacs uses qualitative research methods and participatory engagement in combination with field trials to support farmers in improving their livelihoods.
Brent Ross, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics. Ross seeks to understand and improve how food and agri-business firms manage and create sustainable value in a globally competitive environment. His scholarly research activities in this area have focused on the strategies employed by entrepreneurial agri-food ventures as well as the emergence of new business models and organizational innovations in nascent agri-food systems. As an award-winning instructor, he uses active learning strategies (case studies and simulation, in particular) in his teaching approach and he is regularly invited, both nationally and globally, to develop and deliver food and agribusiness management curriculum and programming. As a Global Scholar, Ross is developing an agribusiness certificate program focusing on Global Food Systems Innovations and Entrepreneurship.
Cholani Weebadde, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences. As the plant breeder for International Programs, Weebadde interacts closely with MSU plant breeders to help expand their programs by reaching out to the global plant breeding community through initiating collaborative research and capacity building programs. She is currently on a 100% academic year teaching appointment at MSU where she instructs plant breeding and biotechnology courses, as well as biology courses to non-biology majors. During the summer months, she continues to work on strawberry breeding to train graduate and undergraduate students. She also serves as the director for Plant Breeding 2 Fight Hunger, a new MSU initiative where, as a Global Scholar, she offers an online certificate program to professional plant breeders globally, to fulfill her mission of training the next generation of plant breeders as hunger fighters. She is currently working on developing an online master’s program in plant breeding and crop improvement.