People

 

Julie Dawson

Julie Dawson

Associate Professor
Department of Horticulture
393 Moore Hall
1575 Linden Drive
email: dawson [at] hort.wisc.edu

PhD Crop Science, 2008. Washington State University
Bachelor of Science, Plant Science, 2003. Cornell University

Rue Genger

Scientist II
Department of Horticulture
321 Moore Hall
1575 Linden Drive
email: rkgenger [at] wisc.edu

PhD Plant Sciences, Australian National University
Bachelor of Science Plant Breeding, University of Queensland

Rue’s research interests include collaborative plant breeding for organic
systems, seed systems for potatoes and other vegetatively propagated crops,
and reduced tillage methods for climate resilient organic vegetable production.

Thomas Hickey

Research Specialist
Department of Horticulture
321 Moore Hall
1575 Linden Drive
email: tphickey [at] wisc.edu

MS Horticulture, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Thomas is a long-time vegetable variety trial researcher now turned data
manager. He can be spotted in community gardens and research stations
recording observations or formatting data.

Jenn Cava

Research Specialist
MSc Biology, University of New England
BSc Biology, UW-Stevens Point
email: jacava [at] wisc.edu

Jenn is currently working on tomato and pepper breeding for organic systems.

Keith Williams

Outreach Specialist
PhD Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University
BSc Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Michigan-Flint
email: krwilliams25 [at] wisc.edu

Keith works on developing new flavor-driven grain cultivars and agricultural
products with a focus on exploration of complex phenotypes such as flavor
or visual appeal.

Steffen Mirsky

Outreach Specialist
BS Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Washington
email: swmirsky [at] wisc.edu

Steffen is working to help establish 10 emerging crops in Wisconsin
through education, outreach, research and supply chain development
with the goal of diversifying the agricultural landscape, improving
environmental outcomes and greater economic prosperity.

Scott Brainard

Postdoctoral Researcher
PhD Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
email: shbrainard [at] wisc.edu

Scott is developing tools that leverage next-generation sequence data to
improve the efficiency of selection in hazelnut.

Graduate Students

Laura Livingston

PhD Student
Environment and Resources
Co-Advised with Randy Stoecker
MS Agroecology 2018
email: jessee [at] wisc.edu

Laura is studying community-engaged research in food systems during
COVID-19. She also participates in Gompers Grows, a horticulture education
program started by Dawson Lab alumnus Brian Emerson, which includes
participatory evaluation, field trips and community engagement.

Ambar Carvallo

Ambar Carvallo Lopez

PhD Student
Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics
email: carvallolope [at] wisc.edu

Ambar is interested in supporting organic farming systems by developing
varieties that are especially adapted for those conditions. She is currently
working on tomato breeding for organic systems.

Pablo Sandro

PhD Student
Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics
co-advised with Lucia Gutierrez
email: sandrogarcia [at] wisc.edu

Pablo works on developing high-quality value-added hard red winter wheat
varieties adapted to the Midwestern United States with a high level of
involvement by wheat chain actors. He also uses historical oat databases
combined with genomic tools to predict and characterize environments,
resilience, stability and performance in oat lines in Wisconsin and across
the Midwest.

Sarah DeGraff

Masters Student
Horticulture
email: sarah.degraff [at] wisc.edu

Sarah’s research involves growing and evaluating several crops in on-farm
organic vegetables variety plots in Northern Wisconsin as compared to those
grown on university research stations.

Meg Baker

Masters Student
Agroecology
co-advised with Claudia Irene Calderon
email: mdbaker3 [at] wisc.edu

Meg is studying medicinal plants, Indigenous ways of knowing and food
sovereignty in the Ch’orti’ community in eastern Guatemala to help preserve
and expand traditional plant knowledge in the area. Investigating the
intersection of native and climate resilient plants of the area using
participatory action research, the goal is to develop a medicinal plant
guide with community members of Jocotán, Guatemala.

 

 

Kayla Sherman

Masters Student
Agroecology
email: kmsherman [at] wisc.edu

Kayla recently entered the farming world and is interested in applying
agroecological concepts to a family farm. She will be creating educational
resources for the Organic Vegetable Farm Manager Apprenticeship Program.

Affiliated Graduate Students

Micaela Colley

PhD Student
Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics
Wageningen University
Co-Advised with Edith Lammerts van Bueren and James Myers
email: micaela [at] seedalliance.org

Michaela is doing her thesis on participatory methods for organic plant breeding.

Vincent Brazelton

PhD Student
Plant and Microbial Biosciences
Washington University in St. Louis
Co-Advised with Allison Miller
email: brazelton.antonio [at] gmail.com

Vincent’s current research interests are at the nexus of plant breeding,
urban agriculture and food equity. His goal is to explore targeted breeding
strategies that prioritize food sovereignty, environmental sustainability
and improved genetic diversity for urban farmers and the communities
they serve.

Crew

  • Brent Johnson
  • Brianna Stumpner
  • Cassie Radl
  • Justine Zeman
  • Madeline Zwergel
  • Malachi Persche
  • Marissa Nix
  • Maya Giordano
  • Miles Giehtbrock
  • Rachel Yard

Graduate Student Alumni

Anneliese Abbott

Masters Student
Nelson Institute
email: amabbott [at] wisc.edu

Dylan Bruce

Dylan Bruce

Masters Student
Agroecology
email: dbruce [at] wisc.edu

Jenyne Schaefer Loarca

PhD Student
Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics
Co-Advised with Phil Simon
email: jenyne.schaefer.loarca [at] wisc.edu

Ambar Carvallo

Ambar Carvallo Lopez

Masters Student
Agroecology
email: carvallolope [at] wisc.edu

Keo Corak

Keo Corak

PhD Student
Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics
MS Agroecology 2018
email: corak [at] wisc.edu

Juan Astroza

Masters Student
Horticulture
email: astroza [at] wisc.edu

Patrick Merscher

MS Agroecology 2020

Kevin Coe

PhD Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics 2020
Co-Advised with Phil Simon
Currently a postdoctoral researcher at NCSU with Dr. Massimo Iorizzo

Karen Hill

MS Agroecology 2020

Rachel Schindler

MS Agroecology 2020

Thomas Hickey

Thomas Hickey

MS Horticulture 2019
Currently Research Specialist,
UW-Madison

Terry Hodge

Terry Hodge

MS Horticulture 2018
Currently Conservatory and Orchid Horticulturist,
Olbrich Botanic Gardens

Laura Livingston

Laura Livingston

MS Agroecology 2018
Currently PhD Student, Environment and Resources,
Nelson Institute, UW Madison

Alex Steussy-Williams

MS Agroecology 2018
Currently Giving Garden Facilitator,
Bayview Foundation, Madison, WI

Kitt Healy

Kitt Healy

MS Horticulture and Agroecology 2016
Currently Midwest Research and Education Associate
Organic Seed Alliance
Outreach Specialist,
Seed to Kitchen Collaborative,
UW Madison

Terri Theisen

Terri Theisen

MS Horticulture 2016
Currently Horticulture Extension Educator
Purdue University Extension

Natalie Cotter

Natalie Cotter

Masters, May 2016
Urban and Regional Planning
(Advisor Ken Genskow)
Currently Agriculture Enterprise Area Program Manager
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection

Staff Alumni

Brian Emerson

Brian Emerson

Research Specialist
Currently at Rooted

Claire Luby

Claire Luby

Faculty Associate
PhD Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics 2016
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Crew Alumni

Year indicates when the individual left the lab.

2022: Brenna Haakinson, Calliana Wickus, Shea Tillotson, Tressa Peskar

2021:Gabby Whisler, Kase Wheatley, Marcela Gonzalez Barrios, Sofia Weinstein, Taylr Johnson

2020: Daniella Echeverria, Chris Keeve, Karen Hill, Raeann Rich, Sam Cline, Sam Kruse, Zak Buell

2019: Halle Kunzke-Anderson, Hannah Kruse, Hannah Ryba, Ilhulpachakatl Neubauer, Mariah Rogers, Maryatt Karstensen, Michael O’Connell, Nyah Banik, Samantha Vosters, Thi Le, Ty Lee

2018: Erin Schneider, Matt Kronschnabel, Mengsha Gong, Naio Koehler, Nathaniel Slack, Shelbi Jentz

2017: Niki Lacktorin, Noah Bevers, Olivia Steinmetz, Peter Jakus, Tim Allen

2016: Gregory Snyder, Jamie Lovely, Lucas Holiday, Mariana Debernardini, Molly Kreykes, Sara Vega, Sarah Lee

2015: Bradley Mellinger, Laura Jacobson

2014: Maya Reese