Garima Kohli is one of the Co-Chairs for the 2023 UIUC Corteva Agriscience Symposium and had previously served as Co-Chair for the 2022 Corteva Symposium. She is currently a second-year Ph.D. student in Athey’s Lab within the Department of Crop Sciences, where she is focused on developing sustainable pest management systems for specialty crops in protected agriculture. Garima's research interests include understanding predator-prey interactions to investigate effective insect control strategies and arthropod food webs. After her Ph.D., she plans to pursue a postdoc to further her research interests in Entomology. Outside of the lab, she enjoys traveling, dancing, reading books, and spending time with loved ones.
Akash Datta is one of the co-chairs for UIUC’s 2023 Corteva Agriscience Plant Sciences Symposium (PSS 2023). Akash is also the treasurer for Crop Sciences Graduate Student Organization (CSGO) for 2022-23. Akash is also the acting Planning Committee head for NAPB-Graduate student group, USA. Akash is a second year Ph.D. student in the Sacks Lab at the Department of Crop Sciences. The research interest of Akash is focusing on gene discovery and varietal development in direct seeded rice for better germination and emergence through functional genomics and molecular plant breeding. Akash further intends to work more on plant functional genomics and synthetic biology for crop yield improvement. Apart from research, Akash is involved in jiu-jitsu, hiking, kickboxing, swimming and exploring diverse food cuisines.
Lucas Berger Munaro
Lucas Berger Munaro is the webmaster for the UIUC’s 2023 Corteva Agriscience Plant Sciences Symposium. Lucas is a third year Ph.D. student at the Department of Crop Sciences under Dr. Jessica Rutkoski. Lucas’s research aims to accelerate the improvement of ‘total net merit’ in wheat to enhance the sustainability and profitability of agriculture in the Midwest. As part of this project, Lucas is developing novel methods for estimating and improving net merit in the wheat-soybean double-crop system in Illinois. Lucas is also the Networking chair and webmaster for the Crop Sciences Graduate Student Organization (CSGO). After graduating, Lucas intends to pursue a career in the industry as an applied scientist to contribute to a sustainable agriculture and food supply. Beyond research, Lucas enjoys operating farm machinery, camping, fishing, hiking, and grilling a typical Brazilian barbecue.
Raysa Gevartosky is one of the external funding coordinators for the 2023 UIUC Corteva Plant Sciences Symposium. She has also served as the media chair and one of the social co-chairs for the Crop Science Graduate Student Organization (CSGO) during 2022-2023. She is a second-year Ph.D. student focusing on Plant Breeding in the Small Grains group under Dr. Jessica Rutkoski. Her research focuses on developing more efficient yield testing and selection methods that leverage high-throughput phenotyping and genomic prediction. In her free time, Raysa loves watching and playing sports, engaging in outdoor activities, spending quality time with family and friends, and enjoying a good coffee (AM)/a good beer (PM).
Sheila Scheffel is one of the external funding coordinators for the 2023 UIUC’s Corteva Plant Agriscience Plant Sciences Symposium. She is a first-year Ph.D. student in the UIUC Small Grains Improvement group under Dr. Juan Arbelaez. Her research focuses on understanding the genetic architecture of heat stress in small grains and developing breeding strategies to improve heat tolerance and help ameliorate the effects of global warming. Sheila loves being outside, brewing and appreciating good beer, going out, reading, occasionally writing some poetry, and most of all, enjoying family and friends.
Karuna kafle is a social media chair for UIUC’s 2023 Corteva Plant Sciences Symposium. She is a master's student in the Department of Crop Sciences and is working on developing sustainable pest management system for plum curculio in peaches. She fascinated by insect behavior, plant insect interactions, and integrated pest management. After master’s degree she plans to pursue PhD in Entomology to broaden her research interest. She is a fun-loving person who enjoys dancing, cycling, playing badminton, meeting new people, and never misses a chance to spend quality time with her family.
Alexander Mullens is a planning committee member for UIUC’s 2023 Corteva Agriscience Plant Sciences Symposium. Alexander is one of three people in charge of external outreach. Alexander is a third year Ph.D. candidate in the Jamann lab in the Department of Crop Sciences. Alexander has a passion for plant breeding, plant pathology and plant microbe interactions. Alexander’s research involves studying the genetic and physiological mechanisms of tissue specific disease resistance to bacterial pathogens in maize. After UIUC, Alexander intends to pursue a postdoc to further build on his interests studying the genetics of plant microbe interactions. In his free time, Alexander enjoys swimming, hiking, and breeding tomatoes.
Rashmi Pokhrel is a planning committee member for UIUC's 2023 Corteva Agriscience Plant Sciences Symposium. She is one of three members who are responsible for external outreach. As a membership director of the Nepali Student Association at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (NeStA-UIUC), Rashmi plays an active role in fostering a sense of community among Nepali students on campus. Rashmi is currently a second-year master's student in the Mideros lab of plant pathology, where she is conducting research on fungal pathogens and their infection processes using microscopy techniques. Her interest lies in studying pathogen biology and host-plant interactions, and she aspires to continue her academic journey by pursuing a Ph.D. in the same field. Apart from her research pursuits, Rashmi has a passion for dancing, singing, and playing volleyball, and badminton.
Pavle Pavlovic is one of the External Outreach persons for UIUC’s 2023 Corteva Plant Sciences Symposium. He is a master's student in the Department of Crop Sciences and is working on weed management challenges in snap (green) bean production systems. After obtaining his master’s degree, he plans on pursing a PhD degree with the focus again being on weed science. Prior to starting his master’s studies in the U.S., for a few years he worked in field trial testing of various crops in an agricultural institute back in Serbia. He finds the field of weed science fascinating, especially the interactions between crops, weed species and management strategies. In his free time he enjoys martial arts, cycling, swimming, the gym and traveling.
Alexander Lopez is the graphics design coordinator for UIUC’s 2023 Corteva Agriscience Plant Sciences Symposium. Alexander is a first-year Ph.D. student studying weed genomics and molecular biology in the Tranel Lab in the Department of Crop Sciences. Alexander’s research broadly aims to improve crop protection by investigating how weedy Amaranths evolve in response to current management practices, as well as by investigating the reproductive biology of dioecious members of the genus. After UIUC, Alexander intends to pursue a career in industry focusing on genomic data science. Outside of science, Alexander enjoys watching sports, playing guitar, fishing, and riding his motorcycle.
Devin Koester is the 2023 UIUC Corteva Plant Science Symposium secretary. He is a first year master’s student in the Riechers Lab, and a member of the University of Illinois weed science team. Devin’s research is focused on herbicide synergy and overcoming metabolic resistance in C4 dicot weeds. He utilizes greenhouse, field, and lab protocols to combat the problem of metabolic resistance. After earning his degree, he intends to work for a company developing and testing new chemical mixes and products to achieve weed control without sacrificing yield. In his free time, he owns and operates a small Charolais cattle operation with his sister in his hometown of Elizabeth, Ill. He also enjoys Chicago Bears football, Chicago Cubs baseball, and fitting in a round of golf with friends when he can.
Montasir Ahmed is the member of the Catering Committee for UIUC’s 2023 Corteva Agriscience Plant Sciences Symposium. He also serves as the Social Chair for the Bangladeshi Students Association at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (BAS-UIUC). Montasir is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Mideros Lab at the Department of Crop Sciences. His main research focus is the genomics of pathogenic Fusarium involved with seedling blight disease of rice. Following his PhD, Montasir plans to work in industry, focusing on disease resistance for crop improvement. In his free time, Montasir enjoys cooking, swimming, cycling, hiking, and spending time with his family.