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


Anneliese Abbott

Credentials: Research Track with Julie Dawson x '22

Anneliese studied plant and soil science at The Ohio State University, then spent four years running an organic CSA in Michigan and doing independent research on the history of Malabar Farm. Her research is focused on discovering and exploring the history of organic farming in the United States from a plant and soil science perspective and communicating that history to the public.

Brooke Bembeneck

Credentials: Research Track with Randy Jackson x '20

After recently graduating from UW-Stevens Point with a Soil and Land Management B.S., Brooke is focusing her graduate work on agricultural ecosystems. Specifically, she will work with the Jackson lab to assess the effects of different livestock grazing practices on soil and water quality.

Corey Blant

Credentials: Research Track with Michael Bell x '20

After many years working in urban agriculture and youth development, Corey is interested in the intersection between land / resource stewardship and community ownership of agroecological projects. His work at UW-Madison is focused on developing methodologies to engage communities and diverse groups of stakeholders in dialogues about land stewardship and water quality.

Stefania Cartoni

Credentials: Research Track with Valentin Picasso x '20

Stefania has dedicated her time to working with communities, farmers and consultant agencies in her home country of Chile, contributing to the improvement of people’s lives and our relationship to our environment. At UW-Madison, she will be studying the perennial dual-purpose crop kernza.

Ambar Carvallo Lopez

Credentials: Research Track with Julie Dawson x ‘21

Ambar is interested in incorporating agroecological principles into the development of more climate resilient crops. Her work focuses on breeding for organic production through participatory research involving farmers and chefs of Wisconsin, but with the hope of taking this knowledge back to her home in Chile.

Margaux Crider

Credentials: Research Track with Michael Bell x '21

Margaux is primarily interested in the intersection of agriculture, religion, and the environment. She  gets excited about ecofeminism, community gardening, and oral food histories. And, she thinks that mushrooms just might save the world.

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.

Nicholas Gallagher

Credentials: Research Track with Paul Mitchell x '19

Nicholas is interested in on-farm software use and its potential to improve food system sustainability. His studies are focused on using analytical methods of optimization to reduce negative environmental externalities while maintaining farmer profitability. With his advisor, Prof. Paul Mitchell, he researches using econometric methods to develop economic and environmental rationale for farm management decisions.

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.

Dana Johnson

Credentials: Research Track with Thea Whitman x '21

Dana is interested in the impact of natural weather events and land management on soil microbial function. She currently researches the effect of forest fires on soil microbes and plans to expand this work to include Wisconsin soils and winter weather events.

Kelsey Kruger

Credentials: Research Track with Matt Ruark and Anita Thompson x '21

Kelsey is interested in how farm management decisions impact soil quality. Her research focuses on the on-farm factors influencing edge-of-field nutrient runoff in the Great Lakes region.

Marnie Macgregor

Credentials: Research Track with Michael Bell x '21

Marnie approaches agroecology as someone who grew up on a fruit farm in Minnesota and has spent seven seasons on vegetable, fruit, and livestock farms in New York state. She is interested in the role agriculture plays in rural communities, the relationship between sustainable and conventional agricultural practices, and the role socio-cultural identity plays in farmers’ decision making. Marnie’s graduate research will focus on why farmers decide to transition their farming practices. Marnie is also extremely passionate about apples, and her favorite variety is Keepsake.

Korede Olugbenle

Credentials: Research Track with Valentin Picasso x '21

Recently graduating from Iowa State University with an Agronomy B.S., Korede is focusing his graduate work on the perennial dual-purpose crop, Kernza. His main goal is to find the the optimal planting dates of the crop in Wisconsin.

Monica Schauer

Credentials: Research Track with Matt Ruark x '22

Monica is a recent graduate of UW-Stevens Point with a B.S. in biology and emphasis in plant biology and conservation. She is interested in using cover crops and other nutrient management strategies to improve soil health and optimize crop yields.

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.

Caitlin Vitale-Sullivan

Credentials: Research Track with Michael Bell x'22

Growing up in the sagebrush steppe in Idaho, Cait has always been drawn to the interactions of humans in their environments. She is interested in the collection of farmer perspectives of language surrounding the landscapes they work in, and in examining the historical significance of changes in language to the farming culture. In an urban agriculture and educational setting, she is interested in how nature and landscape language can be used to better communicate and convey complex ideas about human-nature interactions.

Kase Wheatley

Credentials: Research Track with Michael Bell x '21

Kase is passionate about agrarian and economic democracy. He is interested in commoning the commonwealth and is curious about the role of feminism, anti-colonial politics, and the sacred within agroecology. Under the guidance of Dr. Michael Bell, Kase is working to co-create popular agroecological education in support of thriving rural communities.