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AGEAP USA Alumni of the Month

AGEAP USA NEWSLETTER

Joshua Miranda, BSc.

MSc student in Weed Science – Graduate Research Assistant

Department of Agronomy and Horticulture

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Joshua Miranda, originally from Guatemala, received a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Sciences and Production from Zamorano in 2017. After his graduation, he worked for Syngenta Crop Protection, a global provider of crop and seed protection products. He conducted a wide array of research on crop protection products, including seed treatments, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, bio-stimulants, and corn variety performance.

Working closely with growers and visiting several farms to provide technical recommendations, he saw firsthand how a lack of effective weed management approaches causes severe economic and production problems. Since farmers in Central America generally do not have access to weed management information and considering that they rely on few cultural practices or herbicides programs year after year, Joshua chose Weed Science for his MSc at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to generate research-based weed management recommendations to help address this problem.

At UNL, while working under the advice of Dr. Nevin Lawrence, his research and extension focused on the development of weed management programs that take advantage of crop rotation to complement the limited weed control options available in dry edible beans. The projects he has been working on relate to Palmer amaranth management in dry edible bean, a weed species that has evolved resistance to multiple herbicides across the U.S. and other countries.

During his MSc, he had the opportunity to participate in various scientific conferences and competitions, obtaining the following honors and awards: Milton E. Mohr Fellowship 2020-2021 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, first place in the 2021 MSc Poster Contest in the Weeds of Agronomic Crops section from the Weed Science Society of America, first place in the 2021 Poster Contest in the Weeds of Agronomic Crops section from the Western Society of Weed Science, and the Elena Sanchez Memorial Outstanding Student Scholarship  2021 from the Western Society of Weed Science.

His passion for agricultural research as well as his ambition to continue learning new techniques and skills, grow professionally and personally, and learn more about weed management, encouraged him to pursue a PhD degree in Horticulture with research projects focusing on weed management in orchard production at Oregon State University.

Krystina A. Lema Almeida, MSc.

Formulation Specialist

Tuffy’s Pet Foods

Krystina Lema is a Zamorano Alumni class of 2015 originally from Ecuador. Krystina completed her bachelor’s degree in Food Science and has a master’s degree in Grain Science & Industry focused on Pet Food Processing from Kansas State University. She worked for 2.5 years as a formulator of shrimp and fish diets for Skretting Ecuador. Today, she is a Pet Food Formulation Specialist at Tuffy’s Pet Foods.

Krystina studied Grain Science for her Master’s because her goal is to continuously research pet food processing and nutritional challenges faced by companion animals. This led her to explore alternatives to ingredients currently found in pet foods that make the final product more sustainable and appealing for the pet owners, and provide a healthy and long-lasting life to dogs and cats. Krystina’s research project for her Master’s focused on evaluating gluten-free sorghum flour-based dog treats with soluble animal proteins. The main objective was to determine the effects of replacing wheat gluten on physical, nutritional, and preference attributes. As a Formulation Specialist, she optimizes and develops formulas for wet pet foods, as well as conducting benchtop tests.

Krystina is passionate of her career and looks forward to keep contributing with her knowledge and new ideas to this growing industry.

AGEAP USA subchapters spotlight

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Subchapter

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Subchapter represents Zamorano Alumni currently studying or working at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Their main goal is to strengthen the personal and professional relationships among members. Like other subchapters in the USA, the program started with Zamorano alumni admitted in graduate programs at UNL and is expected to expand with internship for Zamorano senior students. As for 2021, the UNL subchapter constitutes 13 members in the departments: Biological Systems Engineering, Agronomy and Horticulture, Food Science and Technology, and Entomology. Members are originally from Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Colombia.

Kansas State University Subchapter

The Kansas State University Subchapter represents Zamorano Alumni currently studying or working at Kansas State University (KSU). Our main goal is to strengthen the personal and professional relationships among members and create opportunities for future members to develop their academic career at K-State. The program started with opportunities for Zamorano students to conduct their senior year internships, and those opportunities were later expanded to Zamorano alumni to become graduate students at KSU and some of them later became faculty or staff. Kansas State University subchapter possess nine members in seven different departments across campus: Agricultural Economics with three members and Agronomy, Horticulture, Animal Science, Food Science, Veterinary, and Entomology with one member each. The subchapter represents six Latin American countries: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Paraguay.

AGEAP USA VIII Symposium – Poster Competition Winners

The VIII Symposium of Zamorano Alumni in the United States took place during the first days of November, 2021. Zamorano Alumni attended virtually to the event, with participation from industry, faculty, and students. This event, organized by the AGEAP USA executive board and subchapters’ representatives, was sponsored by Hanor, Illumina Alliance, and Innovak Global. The symposium hosted a poster competition, in which monetary awards were given to the first, second, and third place, and graduate students and Zamorano interns (senior undergraduates) from subchapters from different universities in the U.S. were able to participate.

First Place: $300 Award

Andrea Nicole Nuñez Andrade won the first place in the poster competition of the symposium. Her research was titled “Effect of breed composition and age group at a multibreed population on skin histology traits”. Andrea graduated from Zamorano in 2015 and is a current M.Sc. student at the University of Florida.

Second Place: $200 Award

The second place of the poster competition was awarded to Mariela Fernández, with the research “Wheat Spike Blast Image Classification Using Deep Convolutional Neural Networks”. Mariela is Zamorano Alumni class of 2016 and she is pursuing her doctoral degree at Purdue University.Third Place: $100 Award

Ruth Eunice Centeno, Zamorano class of 2018, won the third place with the research “Identifying Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) through the Nasal Microbiome”.  She is a doctoral student at Purdue University.

There is no doubt that Zamoranos are greatly impacting the U.S. and several other countries worldwide. The AGEAP USA is so happy for the success of the Zamorano Community and appreciate the help and support during the VIII Symposium.

AGEAP USA – WOMEN

The AGEAP USA is happy to launch the AGEAP USA – Women. This initiative was brought by women Zamorano Alumni as an opportunity to provide resources and an open space for other women studying and working in the agricultural sector. Women Zamorano alumni with different backgrounds and professional experiences will share their stories through the webinar series held in 2022.

The co-founders of the AGEAP USA –Women are:

Mildred García, M.Sc,  class 1998 – Fondo Fiduciario de las Naciones Unidas

Belén Salazar, M.Sc, class 2017 – Handy Seafood

Janny Mendoza, M.Sc, class 2014 – Ph.D. Student at Louisiana State University

Silvia Murillo, M.Sc, class 2014 – Ph.D. Student at Louisiana State University

Katheryn Párraga, class 2013 – Virginia Seafood AREC

Paulina Pilla, class 2013 – M.Sc. Student at Louisiana State University

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