Postdoctoral Fellows

James Hales

James Hale
Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences
Former postdoc at the Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago
Ph.D. Sociology, Colorado State University
M.S.S. Society and the Environment, University of Colorado at Denver
B.A. Psychology, University of Colorado

Hello, I am a sociologist who specializes in studying the socio-cultural, community, and
governance dimensions of food, agriculture, and environment improvement efforts. I have
spent time in both practitioner and research settings including working as a Peace Corps
agroforestry agent in Malawi, helping spearhead alternative food projects in Colorado, and
leading related research projects at Colorado State University and the Colorado School of
Public Health. More recently, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Sustainability at
the University of Otago in New Zealand. To learn more about my background and
experience please visit


Graduate Students

Stefanie Berganini
Stefanie Berganini
PhD Student, Graduate Research Assistant
Department of Anthropology
MA Anthropology, Colorado State University
BA Anthropology, Portland State University
BS Psychology, Colorado State University
BFA Graphic Design, Colorado State University

Broadly speaking, I’m a political economist and mixed-methods social scientist with a particular interest in data visualization, GIS, and agent-based modeling. My Master’s thesis focuses on homelessness in Fort Collins, examining the intersection of stigma, public policy, and homeless services. Though I’ve yet to finalize my dissertation topic, my PhD research will focus on the political economy of local food systems, likely as it relates to sustainability and/or barriers to food access.

Tabitha Covey
M.S. Student
Graduate Research Assistant
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.

Chelsea Didinger

Chelsea Didinger
PhD Student
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition

Chelsea has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from UC San Diego and a Master’s degree in Biology from Seoul National University. She is adopting a translational, interdisciplinary approach for her PhD research on the processing and health benefits of beans, using laboratory work to answer key questions that will inform the development of Extension outreach materials. She thinks it is critical to integrate dissemination into research plans and is preparing for a career with Extension. Chelsea also helps coordinate the Food Systems webinars, volunteers at the Larimer County Farmers’ Market, and enjoys nature and food – hiking, gardening, cooking, baking, and fermenting.

Hailey Edmondson
M.S. Student, Graduate Research Assistant
Department of Agricultural and Research Economics
Advisors: Becca Jablonski and Dawn Thilmany-McFadden
B.S. Plant Breeding & Genetics, Purdue University

Food and agriculture systems—and their endless complexities!—have been my primary point of interest in each step of my professional path. After completing my degree in plant genetics at Purdue University, I explored a different side of food and agriculture while working at a food access nonprofit in the D.C. metro area, supporting community kitchen and farmers market programming. I am excited to continue my exploration at CSU, and contribute to a growing body of knowledge that supports and strengthens food systems. In my spare time I enjoy music (listening, watching, playing, all of the above!), cooking, spending time in the company of friends and family, and enjoying all there is to do in Colorado.

Mackenzie Gill
PhD Candidate
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
MS in Agricultural Economics (major) and Statistics (minor), University of Tennessee
BS in Animal Science (major) and Food and Agricultural Business (minor), University of Tennessee

My primary research focuses are in Agricultural Marketing and Consumer Choice. At the University of Tennessee, my MS thesis investigated consumer preferences for eco-friendly attributes in single-use disposables. Going forward, I am interested in exploring the intersection of consumer choice and regional food system growth. My long-term career objective is to investigate economic opportunities from which struggling communities and firms in developing industries can benefit. I am so grateful to be a part of the CSU food systems team!

Regan Gilmore

Regan Gilmore
M.S. Student, Graduate Research Assistant
Department of Agricultural and Research Economics
Advisors: Becca Jablonski and Dawn Thilmany-McFadden
B.S. Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska—Lincoln

My research interests lie in the broad scope of sustainable agriculture and food systems. Within this area, I enjoy studying local and organic markets, consumer behavior, food security, and sustainable consumption and production. As an undergraduate, I researched the U.S. market implications of a CO2-equivalent tax on meat consumption and statistically analyzed producer adoption of conservation practices in conventional Nebraska and Iowa agriculture. I also served as president of UNL’s Student Organic Farm and have worked with Nebraska Extension and local farms. I’m thrilled to be a part of this team working to improve our food systems for all.

Azmal Hossan

Azmal Hossan
PhD Student in Sociology at Colorado State University
National Research Trainee at Interdisciplinary Teaching, Education and Research in Food-
Energy-Water Systems (InTERFEWS), Colorado State University
Advisor: Dr. Stephanie Malin
MA in Sociology (Major) and Public Administrator (Minor), Texas Tech University
MSS in Sociology, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
BSS in Sociology, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

My research interests are food-energy-water (FEW) nexus and its climate change implication
with special focus on Bangladesh. My interest in food system comes from my MA thesis where I
examined how the underlying connection between climate change and household characteristics
influence women’s nutritional status in Bangladesh. Whenever we talk about human nutrition,
we need to talk about food. This is because we eat food, not nutrition. This interest grew up in
the last summer when I worked with Dr. Joshua Sbicca in his “Food Justice Frontiers and the
Greening of Prisons with Horticultural Initiatives” project. The project is funded by the School
of Global Environmental Sustainability Residential Fellowship at Colorado State University.
Along with my PhD study in sociology, I am also enrolled in National Research Training
program at Interdisciplinary Teaching, Education and Research in Food-Energy-Water Systems
(InTERFEWS), Colorado State University. It is NSF funded four years long interdisciplinary
training program for graduate students from different discipline where I will have rigorous
training on Food-Energy-Water nexus. For my PhD, I am looking forward to doing research on
climate change implications (availability of water and energy) of food production in Bangladesh.

Pratyoosh Kashyap
PhD student in Agricultural Economics
Agricultural and Resource Economics
Advisor: Dr. Christopher Goemans
Master’s in Development Economics from the South Asian University in New Delhi, India
Bachelor’s in Economics from Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi, India

Over the last two years, I have worked on the development of community based livestock farming (goatery and piggery) and marketing with small, marginal and landless women farmers in different states in India. As part of these projects, we studied individual production practices, availability of inputs and services, government policy and institutional support, market demand and supply, consumer preferences and the potential to develop community based farming for the farmers involved. I am further interested in in research involving the success with which community based farming is able to integrate with the markets they are targeting in terms of being able to anticipate and supply according to the specific demands and to what extent does it benefit the individual farmers involved. I am looking to substantiate my learning from a developing country context with a developed country context in development of community farming.
In my free time I am also a photographer and I feel that visuals can strongly complement research findings.

India Luxton

India Luxton
Ph.D Student
Department of Sociology
Advisor: Joshua Sbicca

India Luxton is currently a graduate student in the Department of Sociology at Colorado State University. India graduated from Western New England University in 2015 with her bachelor’s degree in Sociology. She received her Master’s degree from Colorado State University in 2017. Broadly, India is interested in community based research with an emphasis on social change, the environment, and industrialized animal agriculture. Her Master’s thesis focused on community perceptions of justice in the context of public health outcomes of a nuclear production facility. Her dissertation topic, while currently under development, will examine industrialized animal agriculture.

India’s published works include “Collaborative Concession in Food Movement Networks: The Uneven Relations of Resource Mobilization”, an article that examines how organizations navigate differences in power and influence through resource exchange.

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.

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.


Peter Olayemi
Ph.D. Student
Department of Soil and Crop Sciences

Peter Olayemi is a PhD student in the Soil and Crop Sciences Department whose goal is to elucidate specific characteristics of the soil microbiome that support farmer-centric outcomes associated with soil health. Coming from Nigeria, he sees a big opportunity in utilizing research to help feed the world’s rapidly increasing population through sustainable agriculture. His current projects include exploring the soil health benefits of a novel soil amendment from cheese production and evaluating the long term impacts of no-tillage and residue retention on soil health indicators through agronomic trials on wheat and corn.

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.

Nathan Palardy Photo

Nathan Palardy
PhD Student
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Nathan Palardy is a PhD Student in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. His research interests include food policy, producer decision making and applied industrial organization. Specific research topics include assessing the policy effects of expanding alcohol retail distribution on beer producers and spatial competition among firms within the alcohol retail sector.

Since moving to Colorado, Nathan has been engaged with the state’s robust brewing industry. He helped facilitate the Liquid Arts Research Forum, which brought together academics and industry personnel to promote collaborative research. Recently, he conducted a survey of Colorado breweries on how a recent law permitting the sale of full-strength beer in grocery and convenience stores was affecting their businesses.

Hailey Simpson

Hailey Simpson
M.S. Student Department of Animal Sciences, Animal Behavior and Welfare
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Advisor: Dr. Lily Edwards-Callaway
B.S. Animal Science, Minors in Animal Ecology and International Agriculture, Iowa State University

Currently, I am researching worker perspective in livestock operations. Not coming from a farming background, my agriculture building blocks came from Iowa State. During my time at ISU, I engaged in community agriculture outreach as an An-Cy guide helping introduce incoming students to the ISU animal Science program and working 4-H events in the area. I have also held two internships helping with kids of all ages learn about working with animals properly and how those animals are used in farm production. I am very excited to reach out to communities to help them grow fresh produce and livestock in order to attain a nutritious and balanced diet. When I’m not busy studying, I love spending time outdoors, riding horses, and trying new ice cream shops in the area.

Hailey Summers
Ph.D. Student, Graduate Research Assistant
Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Jason C. Quinn

Hailey is a PhD student in Mechanical Engineering researching sustainability of agriculture, bioprocessing and food-related systems through life cycle and techno-economic analyses. She is interested in determining environmental trade-offs of centralized versus decentralized food systems as well as the economic implications to all parties involved. Additionally, she is interested in food-related policy and the associated downstream effects, both environmentally and economically. When she is not working, she enjoys hiking, biking, climbing, skiing and especially, spoiling her dog.

Eddie Welsch

Eddie Welsch
CSU-Political Science
Advisor: Joshua Sbicca

As a Masters of Political Science candidate, my thesis tracks the coevolution of agri-food (large and small scale), with the diets, health, and overall lifestyles of not just consumers, but individuals in the production of food also. By focusing on the historic, political economy of food industries, insight into its relationship with our broader society can be drawn. I received a bachelor’s degree in history and in political science from Colorado State University in 2017 and am a Colorado native.

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.


Allie Bauman
Research Scientist
Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, Colorado State University

Libby Christensen
Current position: Family Consumer Science Agent, CSU Extension, Routt County

Rebecca Cleary

Rebecca Cleary
Current Position: Assistant Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State University

Nicole Didero
Current Position: Contracted Economist at USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service
M.S. Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University

Armen Ghazaryan
Current Position: PhD, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University

Kevin Jablonski
Current Position: Range Ecologist and Extension Research Coordinator at Colorado State University, PhD Forest and Rangeland Stewardship, Colorado State University

Cynthia Kallenbach
Current Position: Assistant Professor of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill University

Lauren Kaplan
M.A., Political Science, Colorado State University

Abby Long
Current Position: PhD student in Agricultural Policy, University of Arkansas

Erin Love

Erin Love
Current Position: Research Association, Regional Economic Development Institute, Colorado State University.
MS, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University

Ellie Naasz
Current Position: Project Manager at LoCo Think Tank, Fort Collins CO
M.S. Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Caroline Norris
Current Position: Research Analyst for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

Claire Sheridan
Current Position: Economic Analyst at the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, Denver CO
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
BA — International Relations/Spanish, University of British Columbia

Anders Van Sandt
Current position: Assistant Professor, University of Idaho
Ph.D. , Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University