From Issue  Summer 2022

Bulldogs At Work

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 the MSU graduate students engaged in MAFES research and see how they are working to achieve their dreams.

Emily Bedwell

Emily Bedwell

Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture master's graduate


Feature: Conservation Cash

Hometown: Laurel, MS

I came to MSU because of its outstanding master's program in wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture. Also, since my first campus visit, MSU felt like home.

I am excited that the research is applicable to growers and their management decisions. While I love wildlife and thoroughly enjoyed studying it, my true passion is precision agriculture. This software is truly ground-breaking for growers and agricultural landscapes globally.

My research program prepared me immensely for my current endeavors. I would have never even considered a Ph.D. an option until I discovered how dear research is to my heart. My research at MSU opened countless doors for me and I wouldn't be where I am today without it and Dr. McConnell. I am currently a second year Ph.D. student in crop and soil sciences at the University of Georgia.

Brent Breland

Brent Breland

Plant and Soil Sciences master's student


Feature: Blooming and Blossoming

Hometown: Brookhaven, MS

I came to MSU as a research associate at the MAFES Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station and I saw firsthand the top-notch education that the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences offers.

I am excited about the opportunity to evaluate and study new plant material that I will one day see on shelves in Mississippi nurseries and on display in Mississippi gardens.

My research program added to the skills that I use to meet the needs of homeowners and producers that I serve as an extension agent.

Bailey Bullard

Bailey Bullard

Chemistry doctoral student


Feature: Liquid Gold

Hometown: Sharpsburg, GA

I came to MSU as a visiting undergraduate research scholar last summer and I absolutely loved the project I got to work on and the professors I got to work with. I'm now an incoming doctoral student in chemistry at MSU.

I am excited about the application of the project. I love being able to see where the project can help solve a problem and hopefully leave something better than we found it.

My research program will help me in the future because it is encouraging me and preparing me to think critically. The answers to these kinds of questions don't have the solutions worked out in the back of a textbook, so it is important to learn how to use all the knowledge you have gained so far and be able to apply that knowledge to solve problems.

Lorena Chavarro Chaux

Lorena Chavarro Chaux

Civil and Environmental Engineering master's student


Feature: Liquid Gold

Hometown: Oporapa-Huila, Colombia

I came to MSU because of my passion for water resources, and the wide knowledge and work that Dr. Ramirez-Avila, my advisor, has advanced on conservation, preservation, and restoration of natural resources.

I am excited about being a part of this project's implementation and collection of datasets. I really like the idea that its results will be a great contribution for conservationists and farmers.

My research program has provided me with comprehensive knowledge about water resources conservation and restoration, strengthened my team working abilities, and improved my critical thinking skills.

Casey Johnson

Casey Johnson

Landscape Architecture master's graduate


Feature: Liquid Gold

Hometown: Starkville, MS

I came to MSU because of the warm welcome and hospitality I was shown when I visited as an undergraduate transfer student.

I am excited about the opportunity for our work to make a positive impact on the quality of the surface waters in our local area and beyond.

My research program gave me a much better understanding of the relationships between animal agriculture, native plant communities, and watershed health management.

Cece Marascalco

Cece Marascalco

Landscape Architecture master's student


Feature: Liquid Gold

Hometown: Madison, MS

I came to MSU as an undergraduate for the university's fashion merchandising program.

I am excited that this project is very hands on. It's rewarding to put in the physical effort and, as a result, anticipate a tangible outcome like restoring wildlife and improving water quality.

My research program and the hands-on experience from it will make me more competitive and a stronger candidate when it comes to applying for jobs in landscape architecture.

Alyssa Rodolfich

Alyssa Rodolfich

Geosciences doctoral student


Feature: Sea of Debris

Hometown: Biloxi, MS

I came to MSU because the lab that I work in studies a broad range of conservation topics while making an impact on the local community and environment.

I am excited about studying how humans interact with the environment around them and vice versa. Additionally, I have always felt a commitment to helping my local fishing community, so this research was the perfect merge of all my interests.

My research program has helped me better lead the Derelict Trap Reward Program as an extension associate, and it has also helped me understand what I'm looking for throughout my career in conservation.

Spencer Weizel

Spencer Weitzel

Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture master's graduate


Feature: Sea of Debris

Hometown: Roseville, CA

I came to MSU because the diversity of research being performed here as well as the exceptional wildlife science program.

I am excited to study birds that most people will never have the opportunity to see as well as the effect that humans are having on them. Getting to go out on the boat everyday was pretty fun too.

My research program and other projects during my master's taught me to observe, think, and ask questions like a scientist. That helps me now as a fish and wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.