Student Delegates

Cohort 2 Student Delegates:

Kindrea Gibbons | Alabama A&M University

I am currently a Junior Majoring in Environmental science.

Alysa Gauci | Auburn University

Growing up in a rural town, agriculture and the environment have always been very close to me. To continue this passion, I declared my major in Biosystems Engineering at Auburn University. BSEN has numerous environmental components one can venture into, including bio-fuel management, ecological entities, food production, and much more. To be concise, we provide solutions to global challenges and life’s essentials: food, water, energy, environment and health. Specifically, there is much improvement within the agricultural industry including irrigation practices, waste management, and improvement in technology. With a growing population, there is an increasing stress on this industry to provide the materials that we need. Overall, it would be my dream to give back to an industry that has given so much to each of us daily. Through sustainable techniques, my passion involves maximizing production, minimizing waste, and exploring new technologies to do so. Currently, I work as a research assistant through the BSEN department with focus in precision agriculture and bio-fuels.

Brooke White | Central State University

Central State University is an 1890 Land Grant institution that has been growing and expanding in agriculture. The agriculture program is a newly introduced degree program that offers a bachelors program in Sustainable Agriculture, Business Agriculture as well as Agriculture Education. Central State is currently working on developing a community garden on 3 acres of land across the street through student programs such as Seed to Bloom. I am a rising junior at Central State University who participates in activities such as cheerleading and toastmasters withholding a 3.6 GPA. I am ultimately striving to become a Veterinarian gaining experience through past internships with Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm as well as developing research involving mice.

Haley Dallas | Colorado State University

Haley Dallas is working toward completing her undergraduate degrees in Environmental & Natural Resource Economics and Natural Resource Management at Colorado State University. She is passionate about improving the sustainability of our agricultural systems, particularly concerning composting and the recycling of organic waste. Haley is interested in a career at the intersection of the circular economy and the bioeconomy, and hopes to employ her research and activism to reduce food waste, improve agricultural land use efficiency, and further the equitable distribution of food resources worldwide. When she’s not sorting trash with CSU’s Zero Waste Team or volunteering at the local food bank, you can find Haley backcountry skiing, climbing, and backpacking through Colorado’s gorgeous Rocky Mountains.

Joshua Condra | California State University, Fresno

A plant science degree from Fresno State is more than just a degree. This degree signals a certain level of expertise and accomplishment. it provides the foundational knowledge necessary to further the understanding of plant science. With this knowledge, along with the technologies of today, the opportunities to advance this field are seemingly limitless. Advancement is the key to overcoming the challenges of the future. Joshua Condra realizes that to face the challenges of the future, one must have a broad range of knowledge. Chose any sector of plant science, be it plant breeding or soil salinity, understanding plants and soils is only a portion of the complete problem. in his pursuit of a degree, Joshua has increased his knowledge of the irrigations, soils sciences, plant nutrition, pest management, and communications. With great possibilities in both law and plant science, he will use the knowledge gained to influence policy or conduct research. by utilizing either, or both, opportunities, he can work with his peers alleviate a few of today economic problems. He hopes to have a long and successful career incorporating a bioeconomic based approach to life.

Nicole Miletti | Delaware State University

Nicole E. Miletti is a senior undergraduate student at Delaware State University (DSU) in Dover, Delaware completing a major in Pre-Veterinary Science and a minor in Theatre Arts. Nicole conducted research for the International Science and Technology Academy for Research Scholars program with the University of Technology and Life Sciences in Bydgoszcz, Poland. She is currently a USDA ARS student researcher as part of the NSF INCLUDES program. These research experiences in organismal, cellular and molecular biology have prepared her to apply this knowledge to additional scientific challenges in veterinary and animal agricultural studies. The CABLE Program will offer her a unique opportunity to connect animal agriculture and bio-economy research projects as well as develop her professional and leadership skills in these fields.

Chelsea Tyus | Louisiana State University

I am a Saint Louis, MO Native with a B.S in Food Science & Technology from Alabama A&M University (2005), M.S. in Food Science with emphasis in Food Chemistry from University of Missouri (2009), and I am currently working towards a Ph.D. in Nutrition and Food Sciences from Louisiana State University (expected 2019). I have worked in Quality Assurance as a technician, specialist and most recently Regulatory Affairs. My experience ranges from spray oils, spices, seasonings, sauces, cold mixes, and dry baked goods.

Alvina Aui | Iowa State University

I am a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering with research focused Bio-renewables, mainly techno-economics and life cycles of a process related to bio-power and bio-fuel, at Iowa State University. I am an international student, who is forever grateful to be given the opportunity to study abroad and to be apart of the CABLE program. The goal of going to graduate school and to do research in this field, is to one day be able to give back to society and nature. I believe it is very important to go towards the direction of bio-renewables with the increasing climate change and global warming effects.

Kaitlin Bratt | North Carolina State University

Kaitlin is a rising fourth year majoring in Sustainable Materials and Technology with minors in Business Administration and Environmental Science. She has pursued opportunities provided by her cross-disciplinary major, including interning with the Wood Science & Engineering department at Oregon State University. Since the beginning of her first year of college, Kaitlin has been involved in extracurriculars that address various environmental issues. She first joined a student organization on campus focused on local conservation efforts called Roots & Shoots. Eventually, Kaitlin became the President of the club, which allowed her to develop her leadership skills tremendously. Last year, she went on an Alternative Service Break trip to Eastern North Carolina that focused on environmental justice. This trip inspired Kaitlin to become involved with education regarding local injustices such as the exploitation and pollution of land in minoritized rural communities. Additionally, Kaitlin has recently joined the Sustainability Fund Advisory Board, which reviews grant proposals for sustainability initiatives on NC State’s campus. In the future, Kaitlin hopes to engineer sociologically and economically sustainable solutions to environmental problems.

Ujala Sehar | New Mexico State University

Being a graduate student, I feel accomplishing a degree is about creating fresh knowledge, discovering novel things and above all developing new skills. My doctoral degree will quest my thirst of seeking greater depth of knowledge in the field of Plant and Environmental Sciences. My research interests lie in the area of production of algae-based products. My Master’s degree gave me an opportunity to work on biofuel production from algae and I recognized the need for continuing this work on an advanced level. At New Mexico State University, I am fortunate to be a part of a highly productive team working on biofuel production, carotenoid production, wastewater treatment and cellulose degradation by using algae. My area of research is the cellulose degradation by red algae and the goal is to use this study to evaluate potential cost savings in commercial enzyme production industry and to replace commercial enzyme treatment. Furthermore, my plan is to characterize intermediate products of cellulose degradation by algae and their utilization in other industries. Algae are emerging to be one of the most promising long-term, sustainable sources of biomass and oils for fuel, food, feed, and other co-products. It is believed that one’s discovery may even change the society; I am determined to make a positive impact on the growth of bioeconomy by using alga based products without threatening the natural resources and social justice.

Kaleb Sell | North Dakota State University

North Dakota State University is a research, land grant university located in Fargo. NDSU's enrollment is about 14,000 total students. One of the main departments at NDSU is the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics. One of the majors that this important department offers is Agricultural Economics. The department also offers a master's degree, which is currently what I am working towards completing. I have roughly a year left to finish my degree.

Shivani Patel | The Ohio State University

Majoring in Biological Engineering is a perfect fit for Shivani Patel. As a child, she was always curious and wanted to know the “why” behind how things worked, and had a passion for science. With a specialization in Biosystems, Shivani wishes to apply engineering concepts to biology, and create new solutions to existing problems by imitating nature’s ingenuity. She is also pursuing a Leadership Studies minor to enhance her leadership abilities. Shivani has been lucky enough to meet and be mentored by many leaders, so she wants to give back to her community in any way she can. Shivani is very involved on The Ohio State University’s campus and in the local Columbus community to achieve this goal. She has been part of a variety of programs ranging from mentoring adolescent girls and second-year students, to helping plan the College of Engineering’s annual fall career fair, and is a social media intern for a local nonprofit dedicated to helping people embody servant leadership. With her diverse experiences and interests, Shivani is dedicated to becoming a civic-minded engineer to help the world at large. Combining skills she’s learned from her courses, extracurriculars, and life, Shivani is excited to work in a field of other passionate people working towards a sustainable world.

Ryan Schlobohm | Oklahoma State University

Innovation is critical to the continued advancement of global sustainability. Research that contributes to innovative development of improved plant varieties through traditional and molecular breeding methods is a central focus of Ryan Schlobohm's Ph.D. work at Oklahoma State University, where he has a focus in plant breeding and genetics. In addition, Ryan's M.S. provided experience in optimizing input management strategies for fertilizer applications. Originally from the Oklahoma Panhandle, Ryan's interest in sustainability of biological systems, particularly agricultural production, has been shaped by the adverse growing conditions producers face in this water limited, semi-arid climate. Incorporation of optimized plant varieties with sustainable production practices is critical to the continued advancement of the bioeconomy. Following graduation, Ryan hopes to begin a career that allows him to express his interests of sustainability and plant improvement through research that enhances the sustainable production potential of plants used for food and bioproducts. Ultimately, Ryan anticipates his career diverging to a leadership position, where his impact can be broadened and lead to the continued trend of enhanced performance of the bioeconomy by identifying novel sources of biobased products and production practices

Maxwell Melnick | Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Max Melnick is an undergraduate at Rutgers University studying environmental science and minoring in sustainability. His passion for the preservation of the natural world was developed at his childhood home, where Max grew up next to the renowned Sourland Mountain Preserve. It was there that he began questioning the mechanisms that pushes mother nature to function with magnificent efficiency. A lifelong interest in medicine has allowed Max to understand and appreciate the complexities and nuances of biological order before widening his scope of interest from medicine to environmental science. Since his switch in interest to environmental science, Max has worked to improve his understanding of sustainable practices through a collaborative effort between himself and his faculty mentor. Max's competitive and innovative approach to problems led him to the opportunity to meet his CABLE faculty mentor at an energy competition, where Max presented on the benefits of integrating a Power over Ethernet (PoE) system for data driven energy management on campus. He has since been working with his CABLE faculty mentor on expanding the close-loop bioeconomy initiatives aimed at improving efficient utilization of resources at the local, state, and regional levels. Max hopes to master the analysis of bioeconomy initiatives at relevant business fronts to be able to provide a full scope understanding to those who request his help. He aspires to one day open up a consulting/design firm that is capable of producing innovative bioeconomy solutions while mimicking in design how nature has been perfecting the utilization of energy for nearly 3.8 billion years.

Daniel Pegoretti Leite de Souza | SUNY College of Science and Forestry

Daniel is working on his Ph.D. in Forestry and Natural Resources Management at SUNY-ESF. His background gives him experience with Short Rotation Woody Crops (SRWC) management and harvest. He grew up in Venezuela, where he got a B.S. in Forestry and started working with projects aiming to produce woody biomass for bioenergy conversion. During his M.S., at Auburn University, he worked with eucalypt, poplar, and willow, which are three of the four potential woody species proposed by the USDA to be used as bioenergy feedstocks. His recent research has focused on nutrient management and harvesting techniques and methodologies in willow crops, aiming to reduce the impact on the soil's quality and health. Although his research has always focused on the feedstock production, he has recently developed an interest in the following steps of the bioeconomy supply chain to better understand the system.

Maggie Elliot | Texas Tech University

Maggie Elliot grew up in a small town in south-central Washington surrounded by tree fruit, vineyards, hops, and vegetable crops, an area where the economic stability of the region largely depends on the viability of agriculture. As a young adult she began to realize how misinformation regarding the industry was warping consumer perceptions of the food system, shaping legislation and manipulating market trends in patterns negatively effecting her hometown community. As an undergraduate at the University of Idaho, she studied Agricultural Science, Communications, and Leadership, taking courses delivering information on a broad range of technical elements within agriculture, as well as communication classes to learn different ways of conveying scientific messages. Now a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in agricultural communications at Texas Tech University, she is excited to continue exploring research addressing the knowledge gap between producers and the public, learning to navigate different communication strategies to most effectively resonate with audiences. As a student delegate of CABLE, Maggie is thrilled to learn about how growing concepts of sustainability through application of the bioeconomy can strengthen rural communities, as well as how the biofuels discipline frames its messaging to engage with public and industry stakeholder entities.

Wesley Reznicek | University of Missouri

Wesley Reznicek graduate studies at the University of Missouri in the fall of 2017. His research project involves the valorization of lignocellulosic biomass (with an emphasis on switchgrass). Various fractionation methods have been explored; however, deep eutectic solvents have been the most frequently employed media. Analysis of biomass pretreatment has been performed using both experimental methods and molecular dynamics simulations.

Lu Yu | University of Tennessee

The Center for Renewable Carbon in University of Tennessee provides researchers and students the international platform to develop the novel and improved bioproducts and materials, and make optimization of the biorefinery processes, which make contributions to the sustainable bioecconomy. Lu Yu understands the importance of.increasing the availability of biomaterials and the roles of biomass energy in the long-term sustainability. With the degree in thermal energy and power engineering, she mainly focused on the electricity designing, and the master study in renewable energy department provides her background on the photovoltaics, and thus accumulated knowledge about the solar cells and semiconducting devices. Combined the full-time job as an electrical engineer in the Electric Power Engineering Consulting Institute, Lu Yu got to know the real situations of the renewable energy power stations in China and realized a bunch of problems, such as the energy storage problems in photpvoltaic and wind power stations, and the severe corrosion problems in the biomass power stations. The courses she will take in University of Tennessee will expose her to get deep understanding of biomass materials and improve the biomass energy utilization to convert the biomass into the carbon materials which can be used in the energy storage applications. She hopes to figure out the better way of using the biomass resources and develop novel materials for energy storage applications with high capacity and reversibility.

Hisham El-Husseini | University of Washington

Hisham El-Husseini is a graduate student at the University of Washington pursuing a master’s degree in Bioresource Science & Engineering. Hisham’s research focuses on biochemical conversion processes of lignocellulosic biomass to fuels and chemicals. Specifically, he is studying the feasibility of vegetative buffer strips on roadsides to reduce road runoff pollution, while harvesting the biomass as a feedstock for chemical and fuel production. Hisham hopes to see a monetized feedstock (ecosystem services) grown on marginal land (roadsides) to provide cost-effective biomass production for the emerging biofuel industry.

Savolia Spottswood | West Virginia University

At West Virginia University’s Davis College of Natural Resources, professors and mentors are committed to educating their students on how to utilize earth’s resources to provide basic needs to our daily lives. Being the first college at WVU, The Davis College has always been committed to the education of simplistic living as well as sustainable practice. Savolia Spottswood chose Wood Science and Technology with a minor in Sustainable Design because she is also committed to the practice of sustainable development, using certified wood products from an environmentally-friendly forest management and conscious energy use in every type of building from residential to commercial. It is Savolia Spottswood’s aspiration to help develop a society committed to minimal waste, significant water pollution depletion, and improved energy utilization by changing societal habits and incorporating all resources into a bio-based economy. But she understands this cannot be done alone, and looks to neighbors, friends, and advisors to come together and help change the future.