Congratulations to Jenna Hershberger and Ellie Taagen, graduate students in the Field of Plant Breeding selected by the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) as 2020 Borlaug Graduate Scholars. Biographies are courtesy of the tri-societies press release.
Jenna is a Ph.D. candidate and USDA NIFA AFRI EWD predoctoral fellow at Cornell University, where she studies plant breeding and genetics with Dr. Michael Gore. Jenna received a B.S. in Horticulture with a minor in African Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on near-infrared spectroscopy-based phenotyping, cassava quality trait improvement, data management, digital analysis tool development, and the application of RNA-seq and statistical genetics and genomics to uncover the genetic architecture of nutritional quality traits in fresh sweet corn kernels. In addition to her research, Jenna has taught three international workshops on the use of PhenoApps, smartphone applications for plant phenotyping, and has served as the vice president and historian of Synapsis, the Cornell Plant Breeding graduate student organization.
Ellie is a PhD candidate studying with Dr. Mark Sorrells’ Small Grains Breeding and Genetics lab at Cornell University. As a geneticist, she loves exploring the relationships between multi-omics data and phenotypic variation, and she is driven by their potential to enhance plant health and productivity. Ella is committed to connecting the central themes of molecular biology and genetics to the needs of plant breeders via open source and interdisciplinary initiatives. Her dissertation research focuses on fine-mapping and characterization of a grain morphology gene in wheat and exploring the biological constraints of meiotic recombination in a plant breeding context. Ella also contributes to the scientific community by advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM with student leadership roles. She has served as chair of online communications for Cornell Graduate Women in Science and is currently the president of Synapsis, the Cornell Plant Breeding graduate student association.
NAPB Borlaug Graduate Scholars
The Borlaug Graduate Scholars program is established by the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) and funded through the Agronomic Science Foundation (ASF) to develop the plant breeding science professions by strengthening the next generation of leaders.
Graduate students attending U.S. universities in a plant breeding related program looking to enter the workforce in less than two years are encouraged to apply.
Borlaug Graduate Scholars will be paired with volunteer mentors who are professional and scientific NAPB members committed to the professional development of the recipients. Borlaug Scholars receive financial support for travel, lodging, registration, and other costs related to attending the NAPB Annual Meeting.