Fall 2020 New Horticulture Grad Students

The Department of Horticulture welcomes three new graduate students.

Caleb Spall might be a new Horticulture graduate student, but he is certainly not a new Spartan! He was an undergraduate student at MSU in the Horticulture program and if he looks familiar, it’s because he has been a research assistant in the Lopez lab for the last few years. Now, Caleb will continue working with Dr. Lopez as MS student, “focusing on how manipulating the greenhouse lighting environment influences the growth and development of specialty cut flowers”.  Outside of the lab, Caleb likes to read, cook, and make origami creations. He also has a cat named Maisie, adding to the ever growing number of delightful graduate student animals.

Caleb Spall


McKena Lipham joins our department from Carrollton, Georgia. Before coming to MSU, Mckenna attended the University of Georgia where she received her BS degree and majored in Applied Biotechnology with an emphasis on plant science. Mckenna is another face you might recognize, as she originally joined MSU as a PBGB student in the Plant Biology department. She made the switch to the Horticulture department after completing rotations and joining the VanBuren lab as a PhD student. She will be studying the quantitative genetics of teff nutrition, resilience, and panicle architecture. In addition to being a PBGB Horticulture student, McKena is also part of the new NRT-IMPACTS program. During her free time she enjoys the outdoors, hiking, kayaking, and tending to her tiny garden. She is also currently fostering a puppy, who has been confirmed to be adorable, and would like to remind everyone to “adopt, don’t shop!"

McKena Lipham


Madison Whyte is from Mt. Pleasant, Michigan and is also a familiar face around the Horticulture department. She attended MSU as a Plant Biology major and conducted undergraduate research in the Douches Lab. As a PBGB MS student, she is currently working in the van Nocker lab studying the genetics of phase change and juvenility in apple. Outside of the lab, Madison enjoys nature walks where she brings along plant and fungi identification books for some extra fun. As a quarantine hobby, she also started baking. She would also like everyone to know, “I'm looking forward to meeting and working with the Horticulture faculty!”

Madison Whyte

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