Mark Lundy is from Arizona and began working in farming as summer employment when he was in high school. Prior to attending graduate school at UC Davis, he had worked on farms as nearby as the Capay Valley and as faraway as Michigan and Ireland. At UC Davis Mark earned his master’s in International Agricultural Development in 2010 and his doctorate in Agronomy in 2013. His dissertation research focused on nutrient and weed management strategies in California rice systems. In 2013 he began working  for UC Cooperative Extension as a farm advisor based out of Colusa and serving the southern Sacramento Valley for a wide range of annual crops. Since October 1, 2015 he has been the Assistant CE Specialist in Grain Cropping Systems at UC Davis, with statewide responsibilities for applied research and extension related to small grains and corn.

Mark Lundy

Taylor Nelsen is from North Carolina where she graduated from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill with a BS in Environmental Science and a BA in Geography in 2016. She has been a part of various research teams, modeling the spread of disease in dairy herds, mapping food deserts and investigating the microbiological control of mites in Pichincha, Ecuador. Working with the NC Botanical Gardens and the NC Department of Agriculture Taylor has experience managing a variety of native species as well as crops. Taylor started as a graduate student in the Grain Cropping Systems Lab in September 2016. Her research focuses on nitrogen management in malting barley and aims to collect data with traditional agronomic methods in conjunction with many new technologies such as proximal sensing devices, high resolution imagery and GIS.


Taylor Becker is from Vermont and completed her B.S. degree in biochemistry at Miami University in Ohio.  She developed an interest in agriculture and cropping systems through a summer internship in agronomy.  She worked with growers to identify nitrogen deficiencies in fields as well as weed and pest problems.  She started as a graduate student in the Horticulture and Agronomy group at UC Davis in September 2017.  Her research in the Grain Cropping Systems Lab focuses on grain and silage yield responses to nitrogen and irrigation gradients in California corn.  Another focus of her research involves using proximal sensing devices and drone generated images as indicators of yield potential at different growth stages mid-season.

Kalyn Diederich is originally from Fort Collins, Colorado, where she earned her B.S. in Soil and Crop Sciences with a minor in Organic Agriculture. After her education at CSU and her experiences serving as a student farm manager, interning on a diversified organic farm, and assisting with research at the USDA-ARS, Kalyn knew she wanted to pursue a graduate education in soil and agricultural science. In this pursuit, she moved to the Midwest where she received her Master’s degree in Agroecology and Soil Science in 2017 at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Kalyn’s research experience at UW-Madison exposed her to perennial grain crop development, which lent the opportunity to conduct research on two topics she is passionate about simultaneously — soil health and innovative agriculture. As of January 2018, Kalyn started her Ph.D. with the Lundy and Scow labs where she will be investigating whether the newly developed multipurpose perennial grain crop known as Kernza is a viable agronomic crop for the state of California. This investigation aims to analyze and compare Kernza’s N balances, grain yield, above and belowground biomass, microbial biomass and composition, and soil carbon sequestration potential to that of annual wheat across a series of nitrogen and water gradients over the next four years.

Ethan McCullough is from Los Angeles and found his passion in sustainability while in community college. His first exposure to agriculture was when he began working as an undergraduate intern for the Grain Cropping Systems Laboratory. After graduating, he took on the role as Jr. Specialist for the lab where his primary contribution is helping to run the statewide variety trials. These trials help to provide stakeholders with information regarding yields, protein, and nitrogen management. Ethan hopes to pursue sustainable energy in the future to reduce humanity’s current carbon footprint.


Nicholas George is from Western Australia, where he completed an honors degree in Horticultural Science in 2001, and a doctorate in Crop and Pasture Sciences in 2005, at The University of Western Australia.  He has over a decade of research experience in crop sciences, multi-environment crop variety evaluation, the management of field trials, experimental design and analysis, and crop simulation modeling. His research work has included field and laboratory studies of a diversity of crops including canola, camelina, sweetpotato, switchgrass, Miscanthus and Acacia. He has also provided technical support to research projects involving castor, sugarbeets, potato, saltbush (Atriplex sp.) and Oil Mallee (Eucalyptus sp.).

Nic 4

Michael Rodriguez is originally from Covina CA and graduated from UC Davis with a B.S. in Chemistry emphasis in Environmental Chemistry in 2016. During his undergraduate career Michael conducted undergraduate research in the Dr. Sanjai Parikh’s Environmental Soil Chemistry Lab working on projects to determine the impact of biochar application on nitrate and carbon leaching as well as bioremediation and phytoremediation of oil contaminated soils. Michael began working as a Junior Specialist in June 2016 where his role in the Grain Cropping Systems Lab included traveling statewide for soil and plant sampling events, performing plant analyses in the field using remote technology to determine crop growth and N fertility, processing soils samples for nitrate testing in the lab, and assisting with crop harvest data collection and organization. Michael has recently begun graduate work at UC Riverside and his research seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from California dairy regions.


Leah Puro graduated from Skidmore College in upstate New York in 2012. Her work in agriculture began after college in South Carolina, where she spent several years working on and managing organic vegetable and livestock farms. Leah earned her MS in International Agricultural Development at UC Davis. Her thesis research focuses on erosion control and soil fertility management in cassava production systems in Northern Vietnam. Leah became a part of the Grain Cropping Systems Lab in January 2017 with an interest in livestock integration for dual purpose wheat systems. She conducted research on the feasibility of various harvest timing strategies for wheat crops grown under variable rainfall environments in California.