Agroecology students come from a variety of backgrounds and engage in a range of different projects on campus.


Ari Abbrescia

Credentials: Research Track with Erin Silva, Amanda Gevens, and Russell Groves x'23

Ari is a recent graduate of Villanova University with a B.S. in Biology. She is interested in helping facilitate the creation and maintenance of healthy agroecosystems. Her research will focus on organic pest management best-practice, and will contribute to the creation of web-based pest management resources for local organic growers.

Claire Benning

Credentials: Research Track with Matt Ruark x '23

After working on small New England farms that employ ecological principles to promote environmental and human health, Claire is interested in learning about ways to mitigate the impacts of climate change on agricultural practices. Since graduating from Brown University in 2019 with a degree in Environmental Studies, Claire has been a high school science teacher and took advantage of her summer off to live in a yurt on a sheep farm in Maine. She will be working with Dr. Matt Ruark on cover crop mixtures on organic grain farms.

Colin Cooksey

Credentials: Research Track with Erin Silva x'25

Colin is a longtime Badger, having gotten both a B.S. in environmental science, as well as an M.S. in secondary education at Wisconsin Madison. Colin is returning yet again to pursue his interest in sustainably farming and food security, hoping to use his educational background to get involved in UW-Extension programs and help further the Wisconsin idea by getting resources and research into the hands of Wisconsin’s communities.

Angad Dhariwal

Credentials: Research Track with Valentin Picasso x '25

Angad graduated with a B. S. in Biology before returning to southern India to volunteer with the Isha Foundation for three years. Here, he was given the opportunity to work with the center’s agroforestry department, the Save Soil initiative – a global movement to raise awareness about soil degradation, and later with Isha Sacred Walks, where he supported various sojourns in northern India and Nepal. Now, as a Graduate Student in Agroecology, Angad is looking to further his passion for nutritional security and sustainable development. He is particularly interested in the interconnectedness between agriculture and soil.

Clarissa Dietz

Credentials: Research Track with Randy Jackson x'22

A recent graduate of the University of Iowa, Clarissa is interested in agricultural systems’ potential to exacerbate or mitigate ecological and social problems. She will work with the Jackson Lab to investigate the effect on soil carbon sequestration of different management practices in cornfields.

Delaney Gobster

Credentials: Research Track with Holly Gibbs & Tyler Lark x '22

Delaney is a recent graduate of UW- Madison, having studied Environmental Science and Agronomy. Her research within the Agroecology program will focus on upcycled food and wasted food mitigation at the on-farm level. She is also interested in the relationship that wasted food resources have with food security and sovereignty.

Mridula Menon

Credentials: Public Practice Track with David Bart x '24

After graduating with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and working for two years as a pharmaceutical chemist, Mridula is now pursuing her passion for sustainability as a graduate student in Agroecology. She is interested in the role of agriculture in combating the effects of climate change and is also interested in public policy and its role in shifting from our current agricultural system to a system that will preserve soil health and biodiversity while ensuring food security.

Jaya Muehlman

Credentials: Research Track with Margaret Kalcic x'25

After earning a double B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studies from the University of Utah, Jaya worked for a startup, FarmRaise, for two years. In this role, she helped farmers apply for funding to implement conservation practices. Her childhood in Iowa and experience at FarmRaise have made her passionate about helping working lands coexist with healthy watersheds. She is joining Dr. Kalcic’s lab to study how cold weather processes affect farm runoff and assess the impact of management practices on water quality.

Stacy Nuryadi

Credentials: Research Track with Erika Marin-Spiotta x'24

Stacy studied Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems at UC Davis, where she was challenged to think of land management strategies that build ecosystem resilience for adaptation to large-scale climatic disturbances. Her graduate work will focus on exploring the links between ecosystem management, soil biogeochemistry, and global environmental change. She is particularly interested in studying how natural and anthropogenic disturbances affect soil carbon storage and how much our soils can contribute to a carbon-negative society.

Erica Shoenberger

Credentials: Research Track with Valentin Picasso x'22

Erica studied Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science at Eastern University. Before starting graduate work, she served with AmeriCorps in Connecticut working with school and community gardens and then worked on a permaculture farm in Florida. She is interested in food sovereignty, local food systems, and in training and empowering people with resources to grow their own food. She is working on nutrient management for the perennial grain, Kernza, with Dr. Picasso.