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


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.

Elena Bird

Credentials: Research Track with Nan Enstad

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.

Mauricio De La Parra Gurr

Credentials: Research Track with Erika Marin-Spiotta

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.

Elena Hill

Credentials: Research Track with Bill Tracy

Celeste Huff

Credentials: Research Track with Shawn Steffan

Confidence John

Credentials: Research Track with Michael Bell

Jessica King

Credentials: Research Track with Erin Silva

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.

Eliza Pessereau

Credentials: Research Track with Claudio Gratton

Victoria Salerno

Credentials: Research Track

Ben Sellers

Credentials: Research Track with Eric Booth/Chris Kucharik

Emma Terris

Credentials: Research Track with Russ Groves/Sean Schoville

Kaila Topping

Credentials: Research Track with Robert Anex