From Issue  Winter 2022

Bulldogs at Work

By: Karen Brasher

Bulldogs at Work


Graduate student education—essential to MAFES research—offers higher learning potential and career advancement. Students deliver unique perspectives and unparalleled energy to solve pressing issues. Success in a rigorous research environment requires momentum garnered from experience students bring to the program, the work they're currently engaged in, and the path they're determined to pursue. Meet MSU graduate students engaged in MAFES research and see how they are working to achieve their dreams.

Beverly Catchot

Beverly Catchot

Entomology master's graduate


Feature: Under Pressure

Hometown: Wiggins, Mississippi

I came to MSU because of numerous family members being MSU alumni. Growing up, and still today, my family farms (cattle, hay, and vegetables), and my grandfather had a nursery. My husband finished his degree here in the early 2000s.

I am excited because MAFES and the MSU Extension Service play such a huge part in our state and being able to support that through entomological research is quite rewarding.

My research program taught me about EPA rules and regulations, proper use, and safety protocols for restricted use pesticides. Knowing the importance of that has helped prepare me for my current role as an extension associate II.

Grace Friday

Grace Friday

Agronomy master's student


Feature: Outwitting Weeds

Hometown: Savannah, Georgia

I came to MSU because of Mississippi State's outreach to surrounding communities.

I am excited to see that companies value the research we do.

My research program has taught me the importance of a communicative work environment. In talking with my fellow graduate researchers, we have helped each other to come up with solutions and better ways of carrying out our research.

Zeb Green

Zeb Green

Agricultural engineering technology and business undergraduate student


Feature: Precision Ag Update

Hometown: Hartselle, Alabama

I came to MSU because after just one visit to Mississippi State, I knew this was where I wanted to be. Everyone made me feel like I was welcome, and the atmosphere felt like home.

I am excited because of the mapping that I will get to do in order to implement new management zones on farms.

My research program will help me to further understand the complete process of agricultural research while also giving me the experience necessary to transition into my future career.

Sena Isbilir

Sena Isbilir

Biochemistry doctoral student


Feature: Under Pressure

Hometown: Adana, Turkey

I came to MSU because of the subject that I wanted to study.

I am excited because there is a diverse topic to study in my research.

My research program taught me how to think and to approach a problem in insecticide resistance mechanisms. All the hands-on experiences obtained from my project have shaped me to become a better scientist.

Camden Oglesby

Camden Oglesby

Agronomy master's graduate


Feature: The Maze of Maize

Hometown: Petal, Mississippi

I came to MSU because I wanted to gain an education in an outstanding agricultural program.

I am excited because our research endeavors may benefit farmers economically and environmentally by propagating refined nutrient management practices.

My research program elevated my understanding in a range of agricultural topics that will be beneficial for my future career.

Will Rutland

Will Rutland

Agronomy master's student


Feature: Outwitting Weeds

Hometown: Leland, Mississippi

I came to MSU because I grew up close to the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville and I have always been interested in agricultural research.

I am excited because I will be able to help the growers of Mississippi make decisions about planting populations and row configurations on their farms to increase profitability.

My research program has broadened my knowledge in all aspects of cotton production as well as allowed me to interact with growers and industry professionals around the state.

Ramandeep Sharma

Ramandeep Sharma

Agronomy doctoral student


Feature: The Maze of Maize

Hometown: Chandigarh, India

I came to MSU because of the excellent crop nutrient management research program.

I am excited because of the way that researchers approach and analyze realistic agricultural challenges.

My research program has strengthened my capabilities to think independently about real-world problems in agricultural production systems.

Haley Williams

Haley Williams

Horticulture doctoral student


Feature: Sweet as Pie

Hometown: Russellville, Arkansas

I came to MSU because of a combination of my interest in local southern wine back home and reading about the wine grape and other small fruit research Dr. Stafne was part of inspired me to reach out to him.

I am excited because of the impact that my research could have on the small fruit and wine industry of the Deep South.

My research program has allowed me not only to grow in my critical thinking and interpersonal skills, but gain hands-on experience maintaining perennial small fruit crops, performing and overseeing viticulture practices, and analyzing fruit and wine in a lab setting.