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2017 Food System Lab Meeting

Postdoctoral Fellows


Allie Bauman
Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
Ph.D., Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University, anticipated graduation 2017
M.S., Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University, 2011

Community Development, Water Resources, Local Foods


Libby Christensen
Post-doctoral fellow
Advisor: Dr. Becca Jablonski
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
Ph.D. Economic Geography University of California, Davis

My research focuses on the economic, environmental, and social linkages between rural and urban communities through regionalized entrepreneurial food and agricultural activities. I am interested in working with interdisciplinary teams to collect and analyze quantitative and qualitative data in new and innovative ways. My dissertation research investigated the historical development of the produce supply chain in California.


Rebecca Cleary

Rebecca Cleary
Post-doctoral fellow
Advisor: Dr. Becca Jablonski
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
Ph.D., Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Wisconsin- Madison

I study local and regional food systems, with a focus on food policy relating to issues of food access and healthy diets.


Cynthia Kallenbach
USDA-NIFA Postdoctoral Fellow with Meagan Schipanksi
Soil and Crop Sciences Department
PhD Earth System Science, University of New Hampshire

My research emphasis is in agroecosystem soil ecology and biogeochemistry. I explore the role of microbial communities in decomposition dynamics and rhizosphere processes, their influences on soil organic matter formation and stabilization, and their responses to agricultural management and global change. This is particularly important when we consider the expansion of crop production to meet rising global food and energy demands and subsequent impacts of agricultural management strategies on soil microbial communities and soil carbon and nutrient dynamics.


Anders Van Sandt
Ph.D. Candidate, Research Assistant
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University
Advisor: Dr. Dawn Thilmany

I am interested in regional dimensions of local food systems with particular focus on agritourism opportunities in the US. Location plays an important role in many topics in economics but especially in markets like local foods where producers are either interacting with consumers or trying to deliver their products to market. Identifying these spatial dimensions in local foods systems is the first step to informing producers of possible opportunities or barriers they may face in developing their business. In my spare time, I enjoy working on a CSA farm, visiting craft breweries, and hiking.






Graduate Students


Tabitha Covey
M.S. Student
Graduate Research Assistant
Food Safety Education Program Manager, Colorado State University Extension
Advisor: Dr. Mark Uchanski
Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
B.S. in Soil and Crop Sciences

Tabitha is passionate about resilient food systems and ecosystems and is working on an irrigated cropping systems resource that links the two. Her project includes the creation of an inventory of the most recent crops and crop rotations grown throughout the different regions of Colorado, a quantification of the water footprint of the most water intensive crops, and then the integration of the inventory and crop water footprints with existing databased towards the development of a predictive modeling tool to visualize water consumption changes with changes in crop choices in the different regions. Tabitha has worked in food systems in various respects over the years, from berry picker, goat herder, compost manager, and farmer’s market vendor, to catalog manager at a food distribution company, and now creator of Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule education and outreach materials. Her extracurricular interests include spending time with her family, cooking, gardening, traveling, and community building. She plans to find her place amongst the web of possibilities within food system or natural resource management when she graduates.

Nicole Didero
Graduate Research Assistant
Advisor: Dr. Becca Jablonski
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
B.S. Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism, Colorado State University
B.A. Languages, Literatures and Cultures (Spanish Language), Colorado State University

Nicole is a Master’s student in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics with a passion for finding connections between people, agriculture and earth’s limited natural resources. She comes from five generations of ranching in Southern Colorado, however she grew up moving around the Western U.S. Nicole returned to Colorado to pursue her undergraduate studies in Natural Resources and Spanish at Colorado State University. Upon completing her degrees, she worked for two years as a full time apprentice in Community Supported Agriculture in New Jersey and Colorado. In that time, she discovered a passion for educating people about the importance of local food and sustainable agriculture. Her thesis research will take place in Northern Colorado where she will be working with her advisors, Becca Jablonski and Marco Constanigro, along with the Northern Colorado Food Cluster to find solutions for strengthening direct to consumer markets in the region. Outside of school, Nicole’s interests include beekeeping, anything fun outdoors and enjoying good times with family and friends (usually with delicious, local food).


Lauren Kaplan
Sustainability Program Assistant for the City of Fort Collins’ Environmental Services Dept
Advisors: Sandra Davis and Susan Opp
Political Science
Currently finishing MA in Political Science, CSU

Lauren is a Sustainability Program Assistant with experience in public relations, logistics, and facilitation. She has worked for the City of Fort Collins since 2015, working on public outreach, promoting sustainable food production and consumption, and writing educational documents. Lauren believes that there are many causes to fight for, but that the environment is the umbrella issue that is directly or indirectly involved with all other causes. She argues that it is equally important to have people inside and outside of the government to work toward real change. Lauren is currently finishing her MA at Colorado State University in Political Science, with her studies focused on environmental policy and public policy/administration. In her free time, she enjoys eating local food, hunting for the best craft beer, hiking, dancing, and baking.


Abby Long
M.S. Student, Research Assistant
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
B.S. Environmental Management and Policy, University of North Carolina Asheville

Over the past seven years I have worked across food systems. My experience ranges from working on farms and delivering wholesale produce in North Carolina to running a school lunch program in Alaska. Most recently I managed a business that helped farmers in Western Pennsylvania sell to Pittsburgh area grocery stores. During my time on the supply side of the equation I have become increasingly fascinated by the intersection of supply chains, farm viability and human experience.


Shelby McClelland
Ph.D. Student
Graduate Degree Program in Ecology
Department of Soil and Crop Sciences
Advisor: Meagan Schipanski
B.S. International Agriculture & Rural Development, Cornell University

Prior to arriving at CSU, I worked as a research associate with the University of California Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center in northern California studying the invasive annual grass Taeniatherum caput-medusae in Californian rangelands. For the last two years I researched enteric methane and agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at the Environmental Defense Fund. I am currently researching soil carbon and GHG emissions in organic agriculture production systems. We are particularly focused on three key organic-oriented practices: cover crops, manure and organic amendments, and plant-soil impacts of management intensive grazing. Results of this work will be integrated into the COMET-Farm and Cool Farm Tool to improve GHG decision-support for farmers.


Ellie Naasz
M.S. Student
Advisor: Dr. Becca Jablonski
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

I earned my undergraduate degree at the University of South Dakota in Economics. I then continued my education here at Colorado State University, where I am pursing my Masters of Science in Agricultural and Resource Economics. My Masters’ thesis research focuses on Colorado consumer’s food choices. I am investigating where Colorado consumers choose to buy food, what motivates their buying decisions, and what information they choose to inform their decisions. My graduate assistant research is focused on market channel profitability for individual producers. My educational interests include economic development, food systems, marketing research, and consumer behavior. My personal interests include traveling, cooking, spending time with my family and friends, and hiking.


Nora Jean Nealon
DVM/PhD dual degree candidate
Advisor: Dr. Elizabeth Ryan
Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
B.S., Triple major in Veterinary Science; Biology; Nutrition; Double minor in Endocrinology and Companion Animal Studies

Nora Jean is pursuing dual degrees in veterinary medicine and cell and molecular biology. Here, she integrates her interests in animal science and nutrition, where she studies study health-promoting probiotic bacteria and the prebiotic nutrients they consume. Specifically, Nora Jean is investigating how prebiotics from rice bran, the covering of the brown rice grain, can enhance the disease-fighting ability of gut-native probiotics in humans and animals. Nora Jean has determined that rice bran makes probiotics produce a broad array of small, bioactive compounds that have antimicrobial, antidiarrheal, immune-boosting, and intestinal health-protective properties against Salmonella, E. coli, and Human Rotavirus. In her free time, Nora Jean enjoys listening to music, baking, and spending time with the many animals in her life, including her west highland white terrier, Sir Winston.


Agustin Nunez
Ph.D. Student
Department of Soil and Crop Sciences
Advisor: Meagan Schipanski
M.S. Soil Science, Universidad de la República, Uruguay

My current research focus on soil quality changes during the transition from irrigated to dryland cropping systems in the Ogallala Aquifer Region. Due to declining levels of available water, conversion from irrigated to dryland cropping systems is increasing in some areas of the Ogallala Aquifer Region, one of the most important aquifers in the world. In general, irrigated cropping systems yield more and have more soil organic carbon than dryland cropping systems. However, little is known about the evolution of soil quality after conversion from irrigation to dryland and the effect of soil quality on crop production during this transition. Results will help to understand the interaction between water management, soil health and crop production and help to identify the best cropping system management practices to improve water use efficiency.


Renee Oppel
Research Associate
Advisor: Elizabeth Ryan, Ph.D
Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
B.S Food Science Human Nutrition and Health Exercise Science, Colorado State University

Renee Oppel graduated from Colorado State University with a BS in Food Science, Human Nutrition and Health Exercise Science. After graduation she began teaching hot yoga and traveling abroad. She became interested and involved in local sustainable food systems around the world which further developed her love for helping people live a healthier life through nutrition and exercise. She continued her education at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition becoming a certified holistic health coach. In 2015, she moved back to Fort Collins and began working as a Research Associate in the Ryan Lab. Her passion and appreciation for environmental and health sciences continues to expand as she studies metabolomics and the nutritional benefits of whole grains and legumes. She hopes to contribute her time and energy to create a healthier planet and happier life for people in her local community and abroad.


Claire Sheridan
Graduate Research Assistant
Advisor: Dr. Becca Jablonski
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
BA — International Relations/Spanish, University of British Columbia

Claire is a native of Colorado, and after spending time working for nonprofit organizations in Central America, has brought her unique perspective on rural and micro-economic development back home. She is currently working on a water conservation project on the Western Slope of Colorado, researching emerging market opportunities for agricultural sector-led development. After graduation, Claire hopes to continue the work of reducing the rural-urban wealth disparity and promoting equitable and sustainable economic growth throughout the state.


Shuiqin Yu
PhD student
Advisor: Marco Costanigro
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
M.S. Applied Economics and Statistics, University of Delaware

I have been working on consumer demand and behavior since 2011. My previous research focused on consumers’ perceptions and willingness to pay on organic and conventional fruits under experimental auction setting in various food retail outlets. My current research interests includes consumer demand, implicit price dispersion, food safety, food consumption and nutrition.