AGEAP USA Alumnus of the Month
Dr. Miguel S. Castillo
Crop and Soil Sciences, North Carolina State University
Miguel S. Castillo is a Zamorano alumnus class of 2006 and currently an Associate Professor and Forage Extension Specialist in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at North Carolina State University (NC State). He was born in Loja, Ecuador, and grew up surrounded by the countryside and diverse agricultural activities at the farms of his grandparents and relatives, where he developed his passion for agriculture and the nobility of farming.
After graduating from Zamorano, and encouraged by several faculty while at Zamorano, especially his former advisor Dr. Miguel Vélez (†) and Dr. Raúl Espinal, he was awarded a scholarship and then a fellowship to pursue graduate training under the mentorship of Dr. Lynn E. Sollenberger at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Agronomy with a focus in Grassland Ecology from the University of Florida, and went on to complete an MBA at the Poole College of Management at NC State University.
Miguel is actively involved in research and training projects that extend to several countries in tropical, sub-tropical, and temperate regions of the world. The overarching goal of his program at NC State is to generate information and technologies to encourage efficient management of resources and resiliency of grassland agriculture and agroforestry systems. Most recent efforts of his program are focused on using near infrared spectroscopy devices for on-site assessment and to assist interventions to improve plant, soil, and animal responses. More information about his program can be found here. (https://forages.wordpress.ncsu.edu/research/)
Miguel’s program at NC State has received competitive grant funds exceeding 1 million USD. He has published 30+ peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals. He has been invited to deliver trainings and lectures nationally and internationally and has mentored students from several countries. Miguel continues to host and help to host Zamoranos seeking internships or graduate studies. He serves as Associate Editor of the Journal of Crop Science and the Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia. Most recently, he was nominated as the 2020 Outstanding Global Engagement Early-Career Faculty from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NC State University. He served as faculty advisor for the ZamoPack (Zamorano Alumni Graduate Student Association at NC State University), which hosted the 7th Symposium of Zamoranos in the USA in 2019.
An avid runner, Miguel and his first-year colleagues Daniel Rivas (biking) and Cristhian Castro (swimming) won 1st first place in the 2003 Triathlon at Zamorano. He remembers running around “la luna” in Zamorano and trying to catch up with the mileage and pace set by Dr. Gauggel and his running mates. Miguel is married to Catalina, and they have two children (Alegría and Juan Miguel). He still runs the greenways in Raleigh/Cary, NC.
AGEAP USA subchapter spotlight: North Carolina State University
The Association of Zamorano Alumni at North Carolina (NC) State University, known as “ZamoPack,” represents Zamorano Alumni currently studying or doing an internship at NC State University, as well as faculty. At the moment, this subchapter is composed of 13 members from five different Latin American countries. The mission of the “ZamoPack” is to strengthen the relationship and support the professional development of current Zamorano alumni and students that are at NC State University through the coordination of academic, social and research activities. Last year, this subchapter hosted the 7th Symposium of Zamoranos in the USA.
AGEAP USA Webinar Series
Webinar coordinated by AGEAP USA and Zamorano for juniors, seniors and alumni: “Internship Opportunities: the door to postgraduates and professional development”
In coordination with Zamorano, the Zamorano Alumni Association in the United States of America (AGEAP USA) organized a webinar entitled “Internship Opportunities: the door to postgraduates and professional development” addressed to Zamorano students in their junior, senior years and alumni. The objective of the September 10 webinar was to offer orientation to Zamorano students (third and fourth year) and alumni on the importance of the professional internship for opportunities in postgraduate studies and professional development. The speakers were five members of the AGEAP USA who are currently pursuing their graduate degrees in different universities. Approximately 150 students and alumni participated in the webinar. This was AGEAP USA’s second webinar addressed to Zamorano students and alumni interested in pursuing internships or graduate opportunities. Thank you to the speakers and Maria Baires (Zamorano Alumni Coordinator) for their hard work. AGEAP USA is working to improve relations and open new opportunities for the Zamorano community. Work conquers everything.