by Lana Koepke Johnson | Agronomy and Horticulture
Marcos DeSouza and Laura Thompson, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture graduate students, were selected for the Bayer Mentoring Program.
Bayer Crop Sciences University Mentoring Program is a global competitive one-year mentoring program for students and post-doctoral researchers early in their career in fields related to plant breeding, plant biology, gene editing, crop physiology, environmental science, engineering, computer science, and data science and engineering. This program offers mentees soft skill development, an understanding of the industry working environment and expectations of an influential scientist. Each mentee is paired with an industry scientist as a mentor to generate professional development goals for career development, and they work together towards the completion of goals.
DeSouza is master’s student in plant breeding and genetics. He is advised by Katherine Frels, assistant professor for agronomy and horticulture.
His research focuses on evaluating the resistance mechanism in triticale against wheat streak mosaic virus and triticum mosaic virus which pose significant challenges to wheat production in the Great Plains region. His goal is to identifying triticale donor lines that are well-adapted to the growing conditions in the Great Plains region to increase the crop's productivity and sustainability. The study also holds the potential to enhance understanding of virus resistance mechanisms, offering promising avenues for more effective management strategies in agriculture.
Thompson is doctoral student in soil and water science specializing in digital technologies for site-specific nitrogen management. She is also a cropping systems and ag technologies Nebraska Extension educator and co-coordinator of the Nebraska On-Farm Research Network which includes Project SENSE. She is advised by Laila Puntel, former agronomy and horticulture assistant professor.
Her research focuses on investigating dynamic strategies to improve corn nitrogen management using digital tools. She utilizes drone-based remote sensing to develop a decision support system for determining nitrogen requirement and leveraging the Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator crop model to better understand spatial and temporal crop nitrogen requirements. This work contributes to the goal of more efficient, profitable, and sustainable crop production.
As NOFRN co-coordinator Thompson works with farmers, crop consultants, University of Nebraska–Lincoln researchers and Nebraska Extension specialists and educators. She recruits farmers and consultants to participate in on-farm research, works with extension specialists and industry representatives to develop a set of practices for each research topic, works with educators and growers throughout the season, collects research data and helps analyze the results. She also works with the team of Project SENSE researchers who are using on-farm research to study the use of crop canopy sensors to direct in-season nitrogen rates.
See more information in Nebraska Today story Husker grad students applaud ‘transformative’ Bayer mentoring program.