Student Stories

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Agronomy Student Stories

Chance Clark

Chance Clark

Ph.D. Student

Chance had wanted to go to Purdue since he was involved with 4-H and FFA as a kid. In high school he participated in soils judging through FFA and also really enjoyed biology, so plant breeding and genetics through the agronomy department was a natural fit.

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Adebukola Dada

Adebukola Dada

Ph.D. Student

Adebukola Dada is a graduate student in Purdue University’s Department of Agronomy specializing in Soil and Land Use. Adebukola says Purdue has gave her the opportunity to research the challenges of soil infertility and has a community life that develops you mentally, emotionally, and socially.

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Shelby Gruss

Shelby Gruss

Postdoctoral Researcher

Shelby Gruss is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Purdue University's Department of Agronomy working closely with dhurrin- free forage sorghums, looking at the effects of inhibiting dhurrin production within sorghum. Shelby has participated in multiple research projects, working on developing hypotheses, designing and executing experiments, data analysis, and collaborating with multiple disciplines to complete a larger project. Shelby says that she is excited to be part of the edge of innovation Purdue has encouraged with high-throughput phenotyping.

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Ana Morales

Ana Morales

Ph.D. Student

Ana Morales is a graduate student in Purdue University’s Department of Agronomy specializing in Soil and Land Use. Ana says choosing Purdue gave her the opportunity to work in Extension activities and conduct applied research focused on improving farmer’s agricultural practices.

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Shams Rahmani

Shams Rahmani

Soils Teaching & Lab Coordinator

Shams Rahmani is originally from Afghanistan. He completed his undergrad at Kabul University, in Afghanistan and earned both MS in 2014 and PhD in 2020 from Purdue University's Agronomy Department. Rahmani's research in the field of soil pedology is focused on creating digital soil maps for Afghanistan and for the Purdue Agronomy Center for Research and Education commonly known as ACRE. He is currently a Soils Teaching and Soils Lab Coordinator and teaches the AGRY/NRES 255 (Soils Science) and AGRY 270 (Forest Soils) courses.

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Diana Sanchez

Diana Escamilla Sanchez

Ph.D. Student

In her hometown of Barbosa, Santander — a small rural town four hours northeast of Bogotá, Colombia — Diana Escamilla Sanchez’s grandfather raised a wide variety of crops, mainly for the family’s use. The farm included coffee, oranges, plantains, bananas and corn as well as some cows. Her experience made Escamilla aware of the difficulties small farmers in Colombia faced in marketing their goods.

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Riley Seavers

Riley Seavers

Grad Student

The beauty of the sun dropping behind a wheat field in Kansas confirmed Riley Seavers’ long-held interest in agriculture — one that started with his driving an antique tractor in his mom’s horse pasture around age 8 and nurtured on his grandfather’s small farm.

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Maliheh Shaltouki Rizi

Maliheh Shaltouki Rizi

PhD Student

When Maliheh “Mali” Shaltouki Rizi describes the ancient Iranian city of Esfahan, she notes its beauty and historical monuments. Growing up there, she was also aware of the importance of agriculture surrounding the metropolitan area because her grandfather farms rice, a popular crop in the region. “My interest in agronomy may arise there,” she says. “I see the farmers that sometimes struggle with different challenges on their farms. If I could help them, they would definitely have better lives.”

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Seth Tolley

Seth Tolley

Ph.D. Student

Seth chose to come to the Agronomy department at Purdue because of the great community of graduate students, faculty, and staff. In his time at Purdue, he has been able to make some great friendships that for which he is grateful.

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