Crop Science Graduate Students

Esraa Alalwan

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Michael Pumphrey & Dr. Deven See


Md Nurul Amin

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Rebecca McGee

I am from Kurigram, a small town of Bangladesh. I love the greenery of the countryside so much that I completed my bachelors and masters in agricultural science from Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University in 2009. I have been working for Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute as a scientist since 2009 and started my Ph.D. program at Washington State University in the Spring of 2014. I am working with Dr. Rebecca McGee, focusing on developing phenotyping protocol for screening heat tolerant cultivars in lentil.

Educational background: M.S. in Plant Breeding   (Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University)

Ahsan Khan

Muhammad Ahsan Khan

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Kulvinder S. Gill

I was born and raised in Faisalabad, the textile hub of Pakistan. I completed my B.S. (Agriculture) and M.S. (Plant Breeding & Genetics) from University of Agriculture Faisalabad.I joined WSU in the Spring of 2015. My research focus will be exploring wheat genome to find new ways for yield improvement and genetic enhancement of quality related traits. My goal is to seek and share the knowledge of agriculture and effective utilization of available recourses to ensure global food security.

Educational background: M.S. (Hons) Plant Breeding and Genetic


Brook Brouwer

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Stephen Jones

Brook Brouwer grew up on Lopez Island, WA. In January 2012, he began working towards a Ph.D. in Crop Science, in Dr. Stephen Jones lab at Washington State University, Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center. Brook’s research is focused on testing barley quality for craft malt production, food and feed utilization; collecting and evaluating heirloom dry bean varieties; as well as breeding new barley varieties for organic production in Western Washington. In the past, he has worked on diverse livestock farms herding cows, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens and turkeys, as well as conducted nutrient cycling and botany research in mountain, river and island ecosystems.

Education Background: B.A. (Biology) – The Colorado College


Chun-Peng Chen

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Zhiwu Zhang

James is a Ph.D. student, majoring in Crop & Soil Science at Washington State University. He is interested in Bioinformatics, currently working on developing the software iPat that integrates several tools for genome wide association studies (GWAS) into a graphic user interface (GUI).

James received his B.S. in National Taiwan University (NTU) in 2014. One of his previous project focus on the prediction of customers’ behavior based on Bayes’ theorem, and another project is developing a pipeline which can automatically do batch processing of sequences analysis.

He has a wide range of leisure activities, such as photography, playing tennis and badminton, watching films and playing piano.

Educational background: B.S. in Agronomy – National Taiwan University, Taiwan

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Wilson Craine

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Scot Hulbert

It is my dream to be a plant breeder. I want to make positive contributions to the world by improving our world’s foods, feeds, and fuels through the development of new and existing crops. Specifically, I’m interested in oilseed crops utilized in the production of biodiesel. I want to further my biochemistry research understanding by analyzing enzyme or protein interactions, specific seed oils and the fuels they make, as well as other biochemical processes that could facilitate biofuel production.

Taking over Dr. Scot Hulbert’s Camelina breeding program in Summer 2016 has been the perfect fit for me. Camelina sativa is a flowering plant in the Brassicaceae family, traditionally cultivated as on oilseed crop to produce vegetable oil and animal feed. Camelina is unique due to the exceptionally high levels of omega-3 fatty acids its contains (up to 45%), which is uncommon in vegetable oils. My research project will examine the genetics of economically important traits in Camelina, including seed size, oil content and oil composition. Molecular markers will be used to localize QTL controlling the traits. The genomic sequences will be used to examine potential candidate genes and useful germplasm identified will be advanced in our breeding program.

Before coming to WSU, I worked for three years as a field technician with Dr. Shawn Kaeppler and Dr. Natalia de Leon’s field corn breeding research group at UW-Madison where I gained real-world plant breeding experience that perfectly prepared me for my current role heading up Dr. Hulbert’s Camelina Breeding Project.

Educational background: B.S. Macalester College

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Colin Curwen-McAdams

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Stephen Jones

Born and raised in the grasslands of the Willamette Valley just outside Corvallis, OR, I grew up gardening.  I have worked in seed production, orcharding and organic farming.  My love of baking, seed and agriculture brought me to Mt Vernon to work with Dr. Stephen Jones on a PhD in Plant Breeding focusing on perennial wheat and breeding for novel seed traits in wheat.

Education Background: Environmental Science – Univ. of Oregon


Yushan Duan

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Timothy Miller

My research is focused on evaluating caneburning of several red raspberry cultivars in Pacific Northwest.

Education Background: B.S. (Horticulture) – Northeast Agricultural Univ., Harbin, China; B.S. (Crop Science) – Michigan State University; M.S. (Crop Science) –  Washington State University

Bethany Econopouly

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Stephen Jones


Eva Erdayni

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Kulvinder Gill

I am interested in genetic modification of crop species to improve their performance under various environmental conditions. Currently my research focus is plant tolerance to abiotic stresses. I am working on wheat to study its genetics under mechanism of thermo-tolerance Understanding genetic pattern and allele mining from the crop species will be the goal of my study in this Ph.D. program.

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Bikash Ghimire

Degree sought: M.S. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Karen Sanguinet

My hometown is Chitwan, Nepal, near the capital city of Kathmandu. I completed my Bachelors’ degree in Agriculture from the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences at Tribhuvan University, Nepal in 2010. After working for about 3 years at the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) as an agronomist/plant breeder in my home country, I enrolled in the Crop Science MS Program at WSU where I started in fall 2015. I am mostly interested in crop variety improvement and abiotic stress tolerance to cope with changing climates while improving yield. I am currently working as a research assistant in the lab of Dr. Karen Sanguinet. My research is focused on studying specific root traits in wheat using in situ root imaging in both greenhouse and field conditions. We are focusing on the impact of dwarfing genes on root architecture in winter wheat and also on determining the root traits with increased drought tolerance in spring wheat cultivars.

Educational background: B.Sc. (Agriculture), IAAS (Tribhuvan University), Nepal


Cedric Habiyaremye

Degree sought: M.S. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Kevin Murphy

I was born, grew up in Rwanda and raised in Tanzania. I am interested in using new innovations in agricultural technologies to advance local community development needs – turning current agriculture problems into long-term development solutions to malnutrition in Rwanda. The most important lesson came from working closely with rural residents at the community level. Working for Building Bridges with Rwanda (BBR Ltd) the time I was doing my undergrad gave me practical opportunities to test new ideas and put them to work. It has greatly prepared me to the next step in my life. I enrolled at WSU in Fall 2013 after a fabulous agriculture internship during the 2012 summer with WSU students and staff working on different agriculture projects at the Covaga Innovation Center in Rwanda. My research focuses on breeding and groecology of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa).

Education Background: B.S. (Agriculture Engineering & Environmental Sciences) – Higher Institute of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry (ISAE-Busogo), Rwanda

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Leonardo Hinojosa

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Kevin Murphy

I was born in Ecuador and grew up in a small town near Quito. My passion with nature encouraged me to study Agronomy. I obtained my Agronomic Engineer degree in Ecuador. My research project was to study the behavior of several varieties of potatoes to drought in a greenhouse. I was hired by Research Institute to Agronomy in Ecuador to work with cereal crops. Afterwards, I achieved a Masters degree in Spain in Environmental Agrobiology by means of an international scholarship. When I came back to Ecuador, I started to work in the United Nations World Food Program for two years in humanitarian aid. I received a scholarship from the Ecuadorian Government to study a PhD program. In 2013, I met Dr. Kevin Murphy at the IV Global Congress on Quinoa in Ecuador. I loved the idea of joining WSU and being a part of Dr. Murphy’s team. I will study the effect of abiotic stress in Quinoa.

Educational Background: B.S. (Agricultural Engineering) Central University of Ecuador November 2009; M.S. (Environmental Agrobiology) University of Basque Country in September 2011

Maria Itria Ibba

Maria Itria Ibba

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Craig F. Morris

I was born and raised in Viterbo, a city near Rome, Italy. I completed my undergraduate studies in Biotechnology at the University of Tuscia, in Viterbo. I decided to continue my studies at the same university, where I graduated in Biotechnology for safety and quality of agricultural products. I am currently a Ph.D. student in Crop Science and my studies will focus on the Soft Durum wheat, under the guide of Dr. Craig F. Morris. My interests include rhythmic gymnastics, cooking, traveling, reading books and drawing.

Educational background: B.S. (Biotechnology) University of Tuscia; M.S. (Biotechnology for safety and quality of agricultural products) University of Tuscia


Lindsay Koby

Degree sought: M.S. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Ian Burke and Dr. Drew Lyon

Lindsay became interested in horticulture after growing a 50 lb pumpkin in her back yard in northern New Mexico as a high school student. Since then, she immersed herself in the inner workings of plants and plant science. She received a Bachelor’s of Science in Horticulture from NMSU in 2014. Desiring work experience, she took a brief break from school while working at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, AZ. However, her desire to continue her education never dampened; she still found herself still interested in weeds, herbicides, soils and plant pathology. As of May 2016, she will be working towards a M.S. in Crop Science under Dr. Burke and Dr. Lyon studying aspects of weed science and management in Washington.

Educational background: B.S. Horticulture – New Mexico State University

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Dylan Larkin

Degree sought: M.S. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Kim Garland-Campbell & Dr. Arron Carter

I grew up in Monroe, Oregon and worked on a grass seed farm while in high school. Upon graduation in 2011, I attended Oregon State University and earned a B.S. degree in Crop and Soil Science. While attending OSU, I gained experience in plant breeding while working with the barley and hazelnut breeding programs. I also did a summer internship with Limagrain Cereal Seeds in Waitsburg, WA in 2014. Starting in the Fall of 2015, I will be working towards my M.S. degree in Crop Science with a focus in Crop Genetics and Plant Breeding under Dr. Kim Garland-Campbell and Dr. Arron Carter. My project investigates Fusarium crown rot resistance in a spring wheat population segregating for resistance to other soil borne diseases, and root architecture traits to determine if root architecture differences are associated with soil borne disease resistance.

Educational background: B.S. in Crop and Soil Science with options in Plant Breeding & Genetics and Agronomy – Oregon State University 2015

Thiel Lehman

Thiel Lehman

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Karen Sanguinet

I received my bachelors’ degrees in Chemistry and Biology from Utah State University in 2009. Since then I’ve been attending Washington State University attempting to obtain my Ph.D. in Plant Physiology in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. My research focuses on root cell wall morphology and hormonal crosstalk in the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana and Brachypodium distachyon.

Kristofor Ludvigson - Photo

Kristofor Ludvigson

Degree sought: M.S. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Kevin Murphy

Kristofor is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Crop Science for Dr. Kevin Murphy’s Alternative Crops lab and conducting research in two different areas: quinoa transplantation and weed control utilizing weeder geese in quinoa crops; both focusing on organic production systems. His research began in the summer of 2015 and coursework during the 2015 Fall semester.Originally from Wisconsin, Kristofor was a secondary school History and Political Science teacher (2005-2009) as well as a United States Peace Corps volunteer in the Sub-Saharan African country of Malawi (2009-2012), where he worked mainly in agroforestry and agricultural extension.

Upon returning to the U.S., he completed a second Bachelor’s degree in Organic Agricultural Systems at WSU, and worked as an intern in Dr. Murphy’s Alternative Crops program where he conducted a 2014 Buckwheat variety trial and assisted with quinoa variety trials and quinoa population development in eastern and western Washington.

Kristofor’s interests lie in the areas of alternative crop breeding (both annuals & perennials) as well as extension work with small-scale farms/farmers, particularly in organic and alternative production systems (e.g. participatory plant breeding).

Educational background: B.A. in History, Political Science, Secondary School Teaching, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; B.S. in Organic Agricultural Systems, Washington State University

Xiaochi Ma

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Pete Jacoby

I was born and grew up in South Central China, and earned my bachelor and master degrees in Ecology in Nanjing, a city situated in the heartland of the lower Yangtze River region. In the Fall of 2015, I started to pursue my Ph.D. at WSU, supervised by Dr. Pete Jacoby. My current research mainly focuses on carbon partitioning and root dynamics of grapevines. I hope to be an ecologist someday to help improve wine grape quality and agriculture sustainability. I like music, outdoor activities and adventures, which could provide me opportunities to get closer to nature.

Education Background: B.S. (Ecology) – Nanjing Forestry University, China; M.S. (Ecology) – Nanjing Agricultural University, China.

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Brigid Meints

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Stephen Jones

I grew up in Corvallis, OR and developed a love for plants at a young age. In college, I pursued social science, but found my way back to plants after graduation when I began working for the barley breeding program at Oregon State University. I earned by MS fro OSU in plant breeding and genetics. Starting Fall 2014, I am working towards a Ph.D. under the direction of Dr. Stephen Jones in Mount Vernon. My project focuses on breeding and trialing barley, wheat, and dry beans for production in northwest Washington.

Educational background: BA in Anthropology and Gender & Women’s Studies, Scripps College; MS in Crop Science with a focus in Plant Breeding and Genetics, Oregon State University

Nathan Nielsen

Nathan Nielsen

Degree sought: M.S. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Arron H. Carter

I grew up on a family farm just outside of Parma, Idaho along the Snake River. My first experience with plant breeding was a position in Monsanto’s carrot breeding program during the summer of 2014. The following year I worked as an intern for Pioneer Hi-Bred in Woodland, CA in their maize drought program. I graduated from BYU-Idaho with a degree in Agronomy and am starting a Master’s Degree in Crop Science in the summer of 2017. Dr. Arron Carter is my advisor and I will be involved in a wheat breeding project that is looking to improve winter wheat stubble decomposition rates in accordance with the needs of farmers in the Palouse and throughout the state of Washington. I plan to be a plant breeder and help contribute to the success of the American farmers in the Northwest.

Educational background: B.S. in Agronomy from Brigham Young University – Idaho


Alejandra N. Roa

Degree sought: M.S. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Arron H. Carter

A North Californian, I came to WSU the fall of 2014 for my undergraduate because I wanted more opportunities then what I found in my home state. I graduated in December 2016 with a B.S. in Animal Science; I hope to become a veterinarian and work with exotic animals. When I arrived in Washington, I immediately started looking for research opportunities as a part of meeting prerequisites for vet school. Thanks to the Team Mentoring Program and the CAHNRS College here at WSU, I began volunteering for an Animal Behavior lab that looked at rat care in vivariums using ethograms. I was hooked on participating in research because of this experience and agreed to assist with rodent care in a food science lab. After a semester of volunteering in food science research, I accepted an internship in the same lab. Cooperating in multiple research projects over that summer that focused on cutting edge research on Palouse grains, I participated in a fall internship for the winter wheat breeding program to continue the work I had done while in food science on wheat and digestible fiber analysis. I was offered to continue doing this research as a Master’s Degree student in Crop Science.  I accepted the offer in order to complete the research I started as an undergraduate, as well as expand my knowledge base of wheat straw fiber composition and digestibility.  I feel this added knowledge will increase my ability to better understand the complex interactions between Crop and Animal Sciences.

Educational background: B.S. in Animal Science; Pre-Vet


Kanwardeep Singh

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Kulvinder Gill

I completed my Master’s degree in Plant Breeding & Genetics from PAU, Ludhiana, India. I worked on characterizing auxin efflux carrier gene as a potential alternate dwarfing system for wheat. I started my Ph.D. with Dr. Kulvinder Gill during the Spring of 2014. My main research interest is to understand the mechanism of homology search in wheat and manipulate it for alien introgression into wheat without linkage drag.

Educational background: M.S. in Plant Breeding & Genetics


Stephanie Sjoberg

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Arron Carter & Camille Steber

My pursuit of a doctorate in Crop Science is rooted in my passion for plant breeding. In particular, I am interested in studying the art of traditional plant breeding, while also incorporating modern molecular and innovative techniques for use in the identification and introduction of novel traits. Prior to my entrance into the Crop Science program in Summer 2016, I worked for 6 years in the vegetable seed industry, primarily as a Scientist in the Molecular Breeding group at Bayer Crop Science, but also previously at HM Clause and Monsanto. Now, working in the winter wheat program with Dr. Arron Carter and Dr. Camille Steber on preharvest sprouting tolerance, I hope to gain experience that will prepare me for a career in plant breeding.

Educational background: B.S. in Biology, Pacific Lutheran University


Caleb Squires

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Ian Burke

I am from Spokane, WA. I first enrolled at WSU in the Fall of 2011, and completed my M.S. degree in Crop Science in 2013. My M.S. research was on the genetics of kernel color in wheat. I began Ph.D. studies in the Fall of 2013. My current research is on herbicide resistance/susceptibility.

Educational background: B.S. (Biology) Brigham Young University; M.S. (Crop Science) Washington State University

Yvonne Manning Thompson

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Crop Science
Advisor: Dr. Kimberly Campbell