NDSU plant pathology doctoral student Abbeah Navasca has been selected to participate in the 2023-2026 FFAR Fellow program. This highly competitive fellowship focuses on providing exceptional professional development and career guidance to cultivate the next generation of food and agricultural scientists. Its aim is to equip participants with the necessary skills for successful careers in STEM with a specific emphasis on nontraditional career paths in government and industry outside of academia.
As part of this prestigious fellowship, Navasca's program will include a comprehensive focus on professional development through the foundation located at North Carolina State University, in collaboration with industry partners.
Navasca's research project strongly aligns with FFAR's challenge areas on soil health and next generation crops, addressing key issues in modern agriculture.
“My research focuses on the ability of Fusarium species to acquire and adapt genomic regions for pathogenicity in response to crop rotation,” Navasca said. “Crop rotation is a critical strategy for managing pests and pathogens, but crop residues can harbor soil-borne pathogens such as Fusarium species which are known for their genomic flexibility and evolution for virulence and host specificity. We intend to improve crop rotation strategies through a deeper understanding of these biological mechanisms.”
“Participating in FFAR Fellows Program will give me a shared and interactive learning experience with colleagues and industry mentors, providing balance and a different perspective from academe which will be beneficial in my career after graduation, running a research program and coordinating with industry partners.” Navasca said.
Navasca said she is delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with esteemed industry mentors, Mike Metzger and Emma Burt, from Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative. Their wealth of experience and expertise in the agricultural industry will provide invaluable guidance and support to Navasca throughout her journey, she said. Additionally, she will receive joint mentorship from Thomas Baldwin and Gary Secor, distinguished faculty members from the plant pathology department. Their mentorship will further enhance her research capabilities and professional growth. With such a strong support system, Navasca is well-positioned to excel in her endeavors and make significant contributions to her field.
As one of the 25 national fellows selected, Navasca holds the distinction of being the first student from NDSU to receive this prestigious award. This remarkable achievement not only showcases Navasca's exceptional abilities and unwavering dedication but also serves as a testament to NDSU's commitment to fostering and empowering talented individuals in their pursuit of transformative research and professional growth.
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