Graduate students in the Department of Agronomy have been recognized for their research and have earned awards at the end of 2021.

Yunjiao ZhuThe Ruppert and Judith Hunziker Research Excellence Award was given to Yunjiao Zhu for research focusing on the soil nitrogen cycle.

“It feels really good winning this award,” Zhu said. “I feel like it is an award for the soil sciences and I feel very honored to have this. I feel very thankful to my professors and the people who helped me with my research.”

Agronomy graduate student Luis Bentancor, along with associate professor Dr. Bradley Miller, has been awarded $14,964 in grant money to study soil health indicators in areas impacted by the Dakota Access pipeline installation.

The North Central Region of Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) awarded the funds as part of their Graduate Student Sustainable Agriculture Grant Awards.

Bentancor said they spent about a month to get the proposal for the grant ready and it took about three months to hear they had been awarded the funds.

Crop producers know that yield depends on a lot that occurs underground. This is true across all plants, including soybeans. Plant roots interact with a complex microbiome in the soil, but in soybean one of the most important interactions of roots is with a bacterium that is in nodules growing on the roots. These bacteria convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia, which is vital to a soybean’s development.

Etori Soares Veronezi
Etori Soares Veronezi

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Agronomy is hosting undergraduate student interns for a 4-month program at Iowa State University. Etori Soares Veronezi and Luiz Felipe Cruz Silva Fortes are visiting from the Universidade de São Paulo (USP) in Brazil with studies in agronomic engineering under the guidance of Dr. Sotirios Archontoulis, Associate Professor.

We would like to announce the election results for the 2021 - 2022 R.F. Baker Plant Breeding Symposium Committee! 

Election results are as follows: 

Held every Thursday at 2:10 pm in 2050 Agronomy Hall* or virtually join us via Zoom. 

Date Time Speaker Topic Location

Sept. 2*

2:10pm  Mario Perez Bidegain, Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay "Soil conservation policy driven by science in Uruguay"


Sept. 9

Every year the MS Agronomy program presents the Campbell Award to a deserving lecturer in the program. This year Dan Dobill is the recipeint of the Campbell honor.

Dobill started as an instructional developer in the fall of 1997. He was eventually promoted to program coordinator before leaving the university to work for Pioneer Hi-Bred in 2005. Currently, Dobill is a Sales Effectiveness Manager at Corteva Agriscience covering the southern United States.

Growing up in southern Illinois on an acreage near St. Louis, Missouri Dobill was active in 4-H and FFA. He recieved both his undergradauate and graduate degrees from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale majoring in agronomy and soil management. He's had multiple roles within training and sales at Corteva Agriscience (previously DuPont Pioneer).

Dobill teaches Agronomy 502 and has taught over 400 students over the years. He served as major professor for one student as well.

Spencer Barriball, student in our MS Agronomy distance masters program recently won the Muenchrath award. Named after Deborah Muenchrath the award is giving to the student with the most outstanding creative component. It is available to a student who has distinguished themselves academically, creatively and professionally. 

Research Excellence Award – The award is to recognize graduate students for outstanding research accomplishments as documented in resulting theses and dissertations. The Research Excellence Program is administered by the Graduate College with additional support from the Graduate and Professional Student Senate.

     Mariana Gomez Botero

Brown Graduate Fellowship – The Brown Graduate Fellowship is used to strategically advance ISU research in the areas of study that are governed by the Valentine Hammes Family and Leopold Hammes Brown Family Trust

The C. R. Weber Award for Excellence in Plant Breeding was established in 1981 to recognize outstanding academic and research accomplishments by plant breeding graduate students in the Department of Agronomy.

C. R. Weber was a professor in the Department of Agronomy at Iowa State University who made outstanding contributions to plant breeding, particularly in soybeans. The award was established by his family and friends to reward graduate students with the same goal for excellence to which he aspired.

A cash award of $500 will be given to students in the Department of Agronomy with majors in plant breeding who meet the qualifications.


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