Dr. Kate Tully joined the faculty in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture in the Fall of 2014. She earned a bachelor's degree in English, Spanish, and Biology from Kenyon College and a master's and doctorate in Ecology from the University of Virginia. She conducted postdoctoral research at Columbia University's Earth Institute, where she studied the environmental impacts of the African Green Revolution. Her research assesses the sustainability of food production systems by examining how they affect the interactions between plants, soils, carbon, nutrient, and water cycles.
Resham is a PhD student in the Agroecology Lab at the University of Maryland, College Park. He grew up in a rural farm in Nepal helping his parents. With his fascination towards agriculture, he joined Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, India, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in agriculture in 2013. During his bachelor’s degree, he received the prestigious Dr. Karnam Lokanadhan Award (Gold Medal) and ACCOSA Award for Academic Excellence (Silver Medal). Resham earned his master’s degree in Soil Science in 2016 from North Dakota State University. During his master’s degree, he was involved in multiple projects focused on soil fertility and salinity issues in North Dakota. He has received the most prestigious International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) scholar award, Environmental Quality Outstanding Graduate Student Award, and Roy A. Erickson scholarship in 2015. As a doctoral student, he will study the impacts of various cover crops on soil water and nitrogen dynamics on a research farm at USDA’s Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC). Resham will be co-advised by Dr. Kate Tully at UMD and Dr. Steven Mirsky at BARC-USDA.
Dani Weissman is a PhD student in Dr. Kate Tully's Agroecology Lab and a Graduate Research Assistant at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) in Annapolis, MD. Her research addresses the relationship between legacy nutrient release and salt water intrusion in coastal salt marshes. She combines a data synthesis approach with field and laboratory studies in order to develop a better picture of water quality trends in this human-altered system and to tease apart the biogeochemical mechanisms of nutrient release. The overall goal of her research is to provide relevant information to policy-makers for the revision of best management practices.
Josh Gaimaro is a Masters Student in the Agroecology Lab at the University of Maryland. He has a B.S. in Environmental Science and Technology and a minor in Geographic Information Systems also from UMD. After graduation, he worked in Dr. Stephanie Yarwood’s Soil Microbial Ecology Laboratory. In Dr. Yarwood’s lab he participated in many projects related to soil biogeochemistry. Shortly after, he adopted his own research project focusing on the metagenomics of soils in Crete, Greece through Lynn Schriml and the Genomic Standards Consortium (GSC). His current research focuses on the movement of nitrate-N through the soil profile and into cover crops. The goal of his research is to inform farmers and the state of best management practices to reduce the amount of nitrate-N leaving our agricultural systems and entering our watersheds.
Elizabeth de la Reguera is a masters student in the Agroecology Lab and a Graduate Research Assistant at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) in Annapolis, MD. She is co-advised by both Dr. Kate Tully and Dr. Margaret Palmer. She graduated from Dickinson College where she studied Environmental Science and then went on to work as a Research Assistant to Dr. Jim Tang at the Ecosystems Center at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. Elizabeth’s work will focus on saltwater intrusion on the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland. Specifically, the germination, survival and productivity of various crop species as well as how saltwater chemically changes the storage of carbon on agricultural fields.
Anna Kottkamp is a Masters student in Dr. Kate Tully’s Agroecology Lab and a Graduate Research Assistant with the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC). Anna is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame where she studied Environmental Science with a minor in International Development Studies. Her previous research experience with the Tank Lab at Notre Dame addressed the impacts of cover crops and floodplain restoration on water quality in Indiana. Anna is in the Marine, Estuarine, and Environmental Science (MEES) program at the University of Maryland and is co-advised by Dr. Margaret Palmer. Her graduate research will focus on the carbon dynamics in soils of geographically isolated wetlands on the Delmarva Peninsula.
Cara Peterson is a Masters student in the Agroecology Lab at the University of Maryland, and conducts her research with the Sustainable Agricultural Systems Lab (SASL) at the USDA's Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. She is co-advised by Dr. Kate Tully at UMD and Dr. Steven Mirsky at the USDA. Her interest in agriculture stemmed from studying agricultural development and community environmental management projects in sub-Saharan Africa while an undergraduate at UNC-Chapel Hill and working on diversified vegetable farms in the U.S. In her graduate work, she is interested in the scaling of pieces of small-scale sustainable farming methods to large-scale, mechanized cropping systems in the U.S. Her work at UMD will explore the potential of interseeding cover crops into short-season soybeans preceding a corn rotation.
Victoria Ackroyd is a post-doctoral mentee of Dr. Kate Tully in the Agroecology Lab. She is also a Visiting Scientist and Post-doctoral Researcher in Dr. Steven Mirsky’s lab at USDA-ARS Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. Victoria majored in Environmental Horticulture and minored in Business Administration at the University of Florida, where she earned her B.S. in 2008. She shifted focus from ornamental horticulture to the use of cover crops in fruit and vegetable production and earned an M.S. in Horticulture from Michigan State University in 2010. Victoria recently completed her PhD at Michigan State University, where she evaluated cover crop use in agronomic systems. Victoria has maintained an interest in sustainable agriculture throughout her collegiate career, and is currently working to promote cover crop adoption in the Northeast.
Field and Lab Manager
Cullen McAskill graduated in the spring of 2017 with a bachelor’s in Environmental Health and achieved Departmental Honors in Entomology at University of Maryland. He is the AgroEcoLab field and lab manager and works on a variety of projects looking at the effect of agriculture on nutrient cycling.
Alumni (graduate students)
Briana Otte is a masters student in the Agroecology Lab in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture. She is a graduate of University of Maryland, College Park where she studied environmental science and policy and minored in Spanish. Her work as an upcoming ecology graduate student will be looking at allelochemicals from rye and nitrogen in agricultural soils. Her research will be held at the United States’ Department of Agriculture’s Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC), where she has been working for 3 years before pursuing a master’s degree. Briana is co-advised by Dr. Steven Mirsky at USDA-BARC.
Spring 2018 Undergraduate Interns
Alexis Boytim is an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland pursing a degree in Environmental Science & Technology with a minor in International Development & Conflict Management. She is from Pittsburgh, PA and has spent countless summer weekends with her family at Deep Creek Lake, MD where her passion for environmental stewardship first took root. Alexis loves being outdoors and especially enjoys backpacking, snow skiing, and rock climbing - she even works as an adventure trip leader for UMD's Adventure Program where she has the opportunity to provide enjoyable outdoor experiences for other students. Additionally, Alexis has been involved with wetland restoration service-learning projects in New Orleans, LA with UMD's Alternative Breaks program and spent part of this past summer in Costa Rica learning about the effects of climate change on tropical rainforest and agricultural ecosystems. During the semester Alexis will be working with Dani Weissman to study the impacts of salt water intrusion on nutrient release throughout coastal farms on Maryland's Eastern Shore. In the future, she aspires to obtain graduate degrees, work in the sustainable development sector, and eventually become a professor.
Zihao (Howie) Chen is an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland majoring in Environmental Horticulture. He is a transfer student from China Agricultural University and love cooking, gaming as well as listening to music in his spare time. Howie worked in Dr. Jianhua Zhu’s lab previously on the genetic study of Arabidopsis. He became interested in agroecology during Dr. Kate Tully’s class, which makes him firmly believe that it is the right way for agricultural production. Howie is interested in sustainable production in horticultural crops and plans for further study in graduate school. He is now working with Josh Gaimaro regarding the function and efficacy of cover crops.
Anna Collishaw is an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Environmental Science and Policy with a concentration in Environment and Agriculture at the University of Maryland. She is from Montgomery County and enjoys hiking, wrestling, gardening, and caring for her backyard hens. With experience working on many different farms--including a non-profit dairy focused on community development and empowerment--she holds a special place in her heart for Jersey cows and goats. Anna is working with Cullen McAskill to study the effects of saltwater intrusion on plant species diversity over time by analyzing raster data in a small plot study. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career related to food justice and environmentally and socially sustainable food systems.
John Dietrich is an undergraduate student at University of Maryland. This summer, he is joining the Agroecology Lab to work with Dani Weissman on the the effect of saltwater intrusion on nutrient release from farmland. John is Environmental Science and Technology major with a focus in Biology and Natural Resource Management. He grew up loving the outdoors and has a passion for hunting and fishing. In the winter, he’s in the tree stand or snowboarding. In the summer, he's exploring the Chesapeake in his kayak, or as of the last two years, tagging sharks off the coast of Maryland for NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). John loves animals, especially reptiles, and never passes up an opportunity to be around them. He spent the majority of his childhood near the Susquehanna River and on the Eastern Shore, where he came to realize that he wanted to dedicate his education to learning about, and protecting nature for future generations. After graduation, he aspires to go onto post graduate work at UMD’s Horn Point Laboratory, or become involved with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
Jonathan Moy is an undergraduate student originally from Owings Mills, MD. He is pursuing a degree in Environmental Science and Technology with a concentration in ecological technology design at the University of Maryland. He is a member of the Horticulture Club and Green Roots – UMD Hydroponics Club. Because of Jonathan’s passion for plants, soil, and ecology, he hopes to work on ecosystem restoration in the future. Outside of academics, he enjoys exploring parks, gardening, and doing parkour—anything to get him outside. In the summer of 2017, he worked as an environmental educator at the Howard County Conservancy to impart his enthusiasm about the environment to children. Jonathan is now working with Elizabeth de la Reguera to study the impacts of saltwater intrusion on plant germination, productivity of crops, and soil carbon on farms.
Karla Rosales Lobos is an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland pursuing a degree in Environmental Science and Technology with a concentration in Ecological Technology Design as well as a minor in Sustainability. Karla is working with Dani Weissman to study the potential impact saltwater intrusion has on phosphorus and nitrogen loading on the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland. Karla first got her passion for sustainability and nature with the work she did with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation of raising funds through 5Ks. As well as volunteer work she has done to restore environments and help control invasive species around the metropolitan area of Maryland.
Emma Weiss is an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland studying Plant Biology and Agronomy. Emma is joining Resham Thapa in the Agroecology lab to study the efficacy of cover crops in nutrient sequestration. She loves the outdoors and spends her summers backpacking, traveling, growing vegetables, and getting her hands dirty! Emma has volunteered with the Baltimore Zoo, National Aquarium, Living Classrooms, and the Student Conservation Association, working on projects ranging from animal husbandry, public outreach, and working on a whale research boat to trail maintenance and organic farming. She has also been involved in service work abroad in Costa Rica and Ireland. Emma is so excited to be a part of the Agroecology lab this semester and hopes to pursue agroforestry in the future.
Jonathan Wiechecki is an undergraduate student majoring in Environmental Science and Policy with a concentration in Soil, Water, and Land Resources. He is from Wilmington, DE and is active on campus as a member of the Maryland Shakespeare Players. He is on UMD’s Soil Judging team, which is heading to the national competition in Tennessee this Spring. He is currently working with Dani Weissman to study the effects of saltwater intrusion on nutrient release.
Katrina Vaitkus is a sophomore studying Environmental Science and Policy (ENSP) with a concentration in the Environment and Agriculture. She is from Edgewater, Maryland and loves being outdoors! She is extremely interested in the sustainable farming and how scientists can further contribute to sustainable practices and encourage farmers to utilize them. Aside from assisting with research, She is the president of a club on campus that raises money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and she takes part in many sustainability extra-curricular activities. She is also a member of ENSPire, a new group that brings the concentrations of the ENSP major together through activities and volunteer opportunities, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and Primmanum.
Nicholas James Matthew Clark is an undergraduate student at University of Maryland and is currently seeking a degree in Environmental Horticulture with a minor in Sustainability Studies. He is from the small town of Templeton, California, which is located in San Luis Obispo County. During the fall semester of 2017, Nicholas will be working alongside Dani Weissman on the effects of saltwater intrusion in farmlands that have been heavily fertilized along the Eastern Shore. When he is not engaged in lab activities, Nicholas enjoys all things nature from hiking to gardening and bee-keeping. Other interests include cooking (sometimes with meat, don’t tell Kate), art, music, and poetry. Nicholas looks forward to learning more about sustainable agriculture and the benefits of healthy soil.
Benjamin Crane is an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Horticulture and Crop production with a minor in Sustainability Studies at the University of Maryland. He is from Worcester County Maryland and is interested in understanding the environmental issues that affect this coastal area. Ben is working with Dani Weissman on the effects of saltwater intrusion and nutrient release from coastal agricultural land. Apart from academics, he enjoys traveling, soccer, cooking, and eating delicious food.
Tony Pham is pursuing a dual BA/MA degree in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at Boston University. Tony is working with Dani Weissman and John Dietrich to study the effect saltwater intrusion has on legacy nutrient release within coastal farmland. He hopes to use this field experience to supplement his background in biotechnology and develop a novel approach to sustainability. He gained this passion for nature and sustainability through his work with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) building and repairing trails in National Parks, including nearby Greenbelt National Park. Through this work with SCA he saw the benefits nature can have on communities and is dedicated to conserving the environment for future generations.
Gabe Moses is an undergraduate student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Technology at University of Maryland. This summer, he is working with Dani Weissman to study the effect of saltwater intrusion on phosphorous and nitrogen levels in costal agricultural waterways in Eastern Maryland. His work with Environmental Quality Resources construction company introduced him to storm water runoff mitigation. He recently returned from a trip to Costa Rica where he worked on a sustainable family farm. He aspires to use this experience, along with the new knowledge gained from working in the AgroEcoLab, to work as a consultant to help companies in the Chesapeake Bay watershed become more sustainable.
Jesse Wyner is an undergraduate student at University of Maryland studying Environmental Science and Technology with a concentration in Soil and Watershed Science. He earned his A.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from Montgomery College in 2015. Since 2013, Jesse has co-owned a small farm in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, where he has been experimenting with sustainable agricultural techniques such as polycultures, no-till farming, and cover cropping. Before attending University of Maryland, Jesse completed certificates in both Permaculture Design and Urban Sustainable Agriculture. He is also currently working on completing the Natural History Field Studies certificate program through the National Audubon Society.
Natalie Agee is a senior Environmental Science and Technology major concentrating in Soil Science and Watershed Management at UMD. With this background, Natalie is assisting in research regarding phosphorus release from soils impacted by sea-level rise. She is interested in studying and working towards a solution regarding food insecurity in urban settings. In addition to working on research, Natalie is earning a minor in Sustainability Studies, volunteers as a student representative for college of Agriculture and Natural Resources, teaches Group Fitness classes at Eppley Recreation Center,and is a member of the UMD Soil Judging Team. After graduation, Natalie aspires to join the Peace Corps and continue her education in the Masters International Program studying urban sustainable agriculture and agroforestry.
Edem Yevoo is an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland studying Environmental Science and Technology with a concentration in Ecological Technology Design and a minor in Geographic Information Sciences (GIS). Edem is working with Dani Weissman on the effects of saltwater intrusion and legacy nutrient release on coastal farmland. He is a member of University of Maryland chapter of the American Ecological Engineering Society (AEES) that helps promote sustainable ecological projects in and around the campus community. Edem aspires to pursue a graduate studies program in hydrology and sustainability and dedicate his career to solving environmental problems such as pollution.
Kelly Taylor is an undergraduate student studying Environmental Science and Technology with a concentration in Ecological Technology Design at the University of Maryland. She is working with Dani Weissman to study nutrient release from farmland along the lower eastern shore that has been caused by saltwater intrusion. Kelly hopes to channel her passion for nature into a career that will help improve the environment through sustainable actions.
Kevin is a Computer Engineering undergraduate at the University of Maryland College Park. His interests pertaining to his major include cybersecurity and creative algorithm design/analysis. Even though Kevin's background is mostly in Computer Science and Engineering, he feels that it is important to gain diverse knowledge and try various unique opportunities. Apart from his major, Kevin has interests in Business and Environmental Science. The project he is working on consists of modeling moisture and solute transport in different types of soil. This will be done by exploring the HYDRUS-1D modeling environment and using statistical programming languages such as R.
Katie Mullen is an undergraduate at the University of Maryland studying Ecology and Evolution with a minor in Sustainability. Her previous research has examined the impact of rising sea levels on coastal wetland plants. She is currently working with Dani Weissman on the effects of saltwater intrusion on nutrient release from farmland on the lower eastern shore. Katie enjoys taking part in sustainable initiatives on campus and encouraging her peers to be more environmentally conscious. She hopes to continue her work in conservation through grad school and beyond.
Lindsey Connolly is an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland studying Environmental Science and Technology. She is working with Kayla Griffith to examine the effect of cover crop mixtures on nitrogen movement in the soil profile. Lindsey is currently part of College Park scholars in the Environment, Technology and Economy program, and for her practicum she educated elementary school student on the environment and how to practice sustainable living.
Vincent Liebermann is an undergraduate at the University of Maryland College Park. His major is Environmental Horticulture: Greenhouse and Crop Production. During the fall of 2016, he matriculated to UMD from Anne Arundel Community College with an Associates in Science: Mathematics. He aspires to work in the newly emerging medical and recreational Cannabis industry, with a long-term goal of becoming a Master Grower. He currently assists with research on campus and at the United States’ Department of Agriculture’s Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (USDA-BARC).
James Lin is an undergraduate student at University of Maryland studying Environmental Science and Technology with a concentration in Ecological Technology Design. James is working with Kayla Griffith to examine the effect of cover crop mixtures on nitrogen movement in the soil profile. James earned his College Park scholars citation from Environment, Technology, and Economy Scholars program. In the summer of 2016, James went to Hawaii for a three-month internship to learn about permaculture, tropical horticulture, sustainable organic agriculture, farm to table food practices, ecological design techniques, cover cropping, and environmental conservation. Back home at the University of Maryland, James and a few friends started a hydroponics club on campus to bring awareness to food scarcity and provide food to the community.
Ben Swartz is an undergraduate at the University of Maryland studying Ecology and Evolution. He has worked on research investigating the impacts of climate change on insect community composition in Florida, and is currently assembling a review to assess the status of the green salamander. Ben joins Kate’s team to examine the link between saltwater intrusion and phosphate release in the Chesapeake Bay as part of an internship with the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC). He hopes to continue working in fields that conserve the world’s biodiversity and inform sustainable development.
Amanda Mainello recently earned her undergraduate degree in both Biology and Public Policy from St. Mary's College of Maryland in May of 2016. Her fascination with agriculture inspired her senior research project on herbicide uptake in switchgrass, broadleaf cattails, and rice cutgrass. She is an intern in the Agroecology Lab, and working with Kayla Griffith on a project evaluating the benefits of cover crop mixtures in the Mid-Atlantic. Amanda hopes to go to graduate school in order to cultivate a strong background in agricultural science, which she can apply towards influencing policy decisions in the future.
Moli Karsalia is an undergraduate student at University of Maryland majoring in Neurobiology and Physiology and minoring in Global Poverty. As a part of the Honors College's Gemstone Program, Moli is a member of Team VESSEL, which aims to electrospin a small diameter vascular graft from silk fibroin in order to address issues related to cardiovascular disease. In her free time, she is a Gemstone CONNECT Mentor and volunteers at the campus Health Center and Food Recovery Network.