2024 Officers

President: Audrey Morrison

Audrey is a third year Ph.D. student in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics. Studying Bacterial Leaf Spot resistance in table beets and Swiss chard, her work entails association and linkage studies. Last year, Audrey served as the Horticulture Representative on PSGSC, and looks forward to another year serving on the council. In her free time, she plays on volleyball leagues, runs, and enjoys spending time at the Memorial Union Terrace in the warmer months.

Vice President: John Searl

John, is a third year Ph.D. student studying Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics with Drs. Shawn Kaeppler and Natalia de Leon. His research focuses on inbred production traits influencing the producibility and efficiency of hybrid maize seed production. John is originally from northwestern Illinois where his family’s farm has been in the family since 1847.

Treasurer: Anson Siu

Social Chair: Jill Abendroth

Jill is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Plant Breeding & Plant Genetics program. Her research interests primarily focus on the genetics of undomesticated and nontraditional crops. Currently, she is conducting her doctoral work in the Ellison lab, where she is characterizing seed morphology, dormancy, and vigor in Cannabis. She has previously worked with gas exchange and root system architecture phenotypes in soybean introductions, studied kernel nutrient accumulation in wild barley, and investigated germination traits in domesticated barley. When not in the lab or in front of a computer, Jill loves enjoying the outdoor activities around Madison with her dog, Weyland. She also has a passions for building things and tries her best to keep her personal plants alive.

Agroecology Representative: Colin Cooksey

Colin is a first year Agroecology masters student working in the Silva laboratory studying organic dairy mastitis control. Colin hopes to combine his background in education with the knowledge and skills of the Agroecology department to bring research and resources to communities in Wisconsin and beyond. His personal time is spent finding anything to do in the snow, or biking the amazing trails across southern Wisconsin.

Agronomy Representative: Arthur Franco Teodoro Duarte

Greetings! I received my B.S. in Agronomy from The Federal University of Uberlândia, Brazil in 2019. I am the fourth generation of cattle farmers in my family and have always had enthusiasm for animals and plants as well as the interdependent nature between them. I had the opportunity to work in the industry for two years and currently am pursuing my master’s research on rotational grazing and its impact on weed populations. When I am not working, I like to play soccer and talk with friends about animals and plants (I know, more work!).

Botany Representative: Joseph Walston

Joseph is a first year Botany Ph.D. student in the Cameron Lab studying the evolution and morphology of the South American carnivorous pitcher plants in the genus Heliamphora. Joseph also has research experience with soil science and the North American pitcher plants, Sarracenia. When not in front of the microscope or in the lab, you can find Joseph tending to his own plant collection of succulents, high-humidity hydrophytes, bryophytes, and carnivorous plants.

Entomology Representative: Fletcher Robbins

Horticulture Representative: Erica Kirchhof

Erica is a second year Horticulture PhD student working in the Kovaleski Lab studying dormancy and cold hardiness in woody perennials. In the winter, you can most likely find Erica outside checking out the trees, or getting ready to board a plane at the Dane County Regional Airport to go look at trees in other places. In the summer, Erica enjoys soaking up the sun and partaking in the many outdoor recreational activities Madison has to offer.

Plant Pathology Representative: Sarah Caroline De Souza

Sarah is a second-year MSc. student in the Plant Pathology department working in the Smith Lab. She studies soil-borne Oomycete (Pythium, Phytopythium, and Phytophthora) population frequency and distribution throughout the soybean fields in Wisconsin. Additionally, Sarah also works on looking for candidate-resistant varieties of soybean against Phytophthora sojae and Slerotinia sclerotiorum. In her free time, she likes to read, bake cookies, and do watercolor painting.

Plant Breeding & Plant Genetics Representative: Tony Schuh

I am currently in my first year as a PhD student in the Plant Breeding and Genetics Program, where my research centers on studying and improving the genetics of stand establishment in carrot. Originally from northern Wisconsin, I completed my BS in Molecular Biology at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 2015. After graduation I spent 5 years working with Next Generation Sequencing and Genomics in industry. In summer of 2023 I graduated with a MS in Plant Breeding and Genetics from Colorado State University, focusing on the genetics of chilling tolerance in sorghum. Outside of work, I like to spend my my free time reading, walking, gardening, camping, skiing and just generally enjoying nature.

Soil Science Representative: Mengmeng Luo

Mengmeng is pursuing her Ph.D. in the Department of Soil Science. She has been working with the Whitman Lab since 2021, where completed her M.S. in Agroecology and Soil Science. She has been studying the impacts of fire on soil properties. During her free time, she likes drawing, board gaming, and watching shows and movies.