USDA-ARS Maize Breeding and Genetics at NCSU

The Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame -


Former students and employees and their last known whereabouts


Inducted 2016


Yang Bian (Ph.D. student) - now research scientist at Monsanto Co., St. Louis, MO

Erin Burch (research assistant)  - now making pottery in Carrboro, NC

Wendy Buchanan (research assistant)  - now working for Eurofin in RTP, NC

Sarah Davidson-Dyer (research assistant)  - now working in Department of Horticulture, NCSU

Paula Gordon (research assistant)  - now working in public relations in Charlotte, NC

Natalie Bohorquez (research assistant)  - trying to graduate from NCSU!

Becky Zhong (research assistant) - now grad student in plant breeding at University of Minnesota

Inducted 2015


Sara Bonefas (research assistant) - now working at Bayer Crop Science in RTP, NC


Bode Olukolu (post-doc) - now Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticultural Sciences, NC State University


Tiffany Jamann (post-doc) - now an Assistant Professor in the Department of  Crop Sciences, University of Illinois


David Horne (M.S. student) - now a Ph.D. student in sorghum breeding at Texas A&M University


Estefania Castro-Vazquez (undergrad assistant) - disgusted with harvesting corn from weedy fields, she is doing something less interesting now.


Zhou Fang (post-doc) - research scientist at Bayer Crop Science, Morrissville, NC.


Inducted 2014


Danielle Allery (research assistant) - Biology teacher at Green Hope High School, Morrisville, NC.


Funda Ogut (post-doc) - Assistant Professor, Artvin Coruh University, Turkey


Brittany Scott (research assistant) - 4-H Ag instructor in Hertford County, NC.


Charlie Zila (M.S. and Ph.D.) - now a soybean breeder for Pioneer in Princeton, IN


Amy Goodling (undergrad assistant) - last seen harvesting sweet potatoes!


Alejandro Ledesma Miramontes (visiting scientist) - back to working as assistant corn breeder with INIFAP in Tepatitlan de Morelos, Jalisco, Mexico.


Jee Yoon Park (visiting undergrad) - back to Chungnam National University in Korea, where she is studying Crop Science


Inducted 2013


Shilpa Sood (post-doc) - joined Monsanto, St. Louis, as an Emerging Leader in Science


Dr. Philip Nguling'wa Balele  (research assistant, Ph.D. in economics) - going back to Tanzania to work as an economist in the Central Bank of Tanzania. No, really, I am not making this up.


Inducted 2012


Jason Cook (post-doc) — after setting the world record for shortest post-doc (4 months!) joined Monsanto as a wheat breeder in Montana


Colt Jackson—civilly engineering bridges and stuff somewhere in NC


John Stevens (undergrad assistant) - graduated NCSU and planning to start physical therapy grad program in 2013


Luis Fernando Samayoa (visiting scholar) - back to Mision Biologica de Galicia in Spain to finish his Ph.D.


Inducted 2011


Kristen Kump (M.S. student) - working on managing human clinical trials at PRA International in Raleigh


Steve Pigozzo (research assistant) - back to Canada working on solar energy manufacturing!


Sun-Hee Wu (visiting scientist) - back to Korea as Professor of Crop Science in Chungbuk National University


Carlos Vega (undergrad assistant) - now working on something more closely related to economic development on campus


Hsiaoyi Hung (Ph.D. student) - research scientist in phenotype modeling group at Pioneer hybrid in Johnston, IA.


Inducted 2010


Teagen Gray (undergrad assistant) - finished her MS in Marine Biology (shark population genetics!) at Nova Southeast University, Florida. Heading to San Diego, CA.


Dalila Petro (visiting scientist) - back to her job as a yam breeder/geneticist for INRA in Guadeloupe, France


Yoon-Sup So (post-doc) - Assistant Professor at Chungbuk National University, South Korea


Bradsher Wilkins (undergrad assistant) - farming


Will Upchurch (undergrad assistant) - finishing up NCSU


Xueyang (Sara) Wang (undergrad assistant)— went on to be a Baldwin Scholar at Duke University, graduating in 2014. All-time smartest shoot bagger on Team Corn (tied with Myles). Now a student at Johns Hopkins Med School! We could not be more proud!


Monica Hodge (undergrad assistant)- finishing up NCSU, looking for grad school in microbiology (not corn breeding).


Inducted 2009


Magen Eller (Ph.D. student) —now a commercial maize breeder, Monsanto Co., Lebanon, IN


Randy Wisser (post-doc) - now Assistant Professor, University of Delaware Dept. of Plant and Soil Science.


Nate Coles (Ph.D. student) - now maize geneticist/breeder—Pioneer Hi-Bred, Intl., Woodland, CA.


Inducted 2008


Mohammed Guedira (post-doc) - Now working on wheat genetics at NCSU, so still available to feed me excellent Moroccan dishes!


Marco Oropeza-Rosas (post-doc) - now a corn breeder with Pioneer in Chiapas, Mexico.


Jesus Garcia-Zavala (Ph.D. student) - Now working at the Colegio de Postgraduados in Texcoco, Mexico.


Candace Gatlin (undergrad assistant) - after her too-brief appearance on Team Corn, Candace works for a biotech company in RTP.


Heather Hunt (undergrad assistant) - Heather is in grad school in environmental sciences at Pennsylvania State University.


Inducted 2007


Stella Salvo (technician) - Ph.D. student in plant breeding at University of Wisconsin.


George Van Esbroeck (temporary assistant) - George now works with the NCSU small grains breeding program, making wheat doubled haploids.


Scott Reed (undergrad assistant) - Scott decided that, if he is to ever graduate from college, he needs to stop working 50 hours per week with Team Corn. Boo hoo for us. He completed an engineering degree at East Carolina U. and now works in Norfolk, VA.


Yan Zhang (undergrad assistant) - Yan, what happened to you? We want you back! Did you go back to Shanghai or are you studying fashion design or some such thing in New York?


Inducted 2006


Luciana Carlini-Garcia (post-doc) - Dr. Luciana returned to Brazil, where she is now a soybean breeder with Instituto Agronomico de Campinas.


Myles Bohon (undergrad assistant) - Myles returned to his books after summer, 2006.  He is the smartest guy we know (Parks Scholar). Finished his MS in Engineering at NCSU and now on his PhD program in Clean Combustion technology at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Dubai!


MC Parker (undergrad assistant) - went to UNC Wilmington, got a degree in accounting, I believe. Ran into her at Goodberry’s in Cameron Village, she said she is working at ECU as an accountant. Or something like that.


David Rhyne (USDA Biological Science Technician) - Retired after 20 years with USDA, now enjoying fishing and beer.


Leilani Robertson-Hoyt (grad student) - graduated, March, 2006 with Ph.D. in Crop Science and Plant Pathology.  Leilani moved to Madison, WI and works for Monsanto in soybean breeding.


Barry Ingle (lab and field assistant) - Barry moved to Austin, TX to pursue his music career.  You can catch his music online.  We can say we knew him before he was famous!


Andrew Hunt (undergrad assistant) - graduated May, 2006 with B.S. in Crop Science and Botany.  Andrew got his M.S. in cotton physiology at NCSU and is now going to Penn State U. for  a Ph.D.


Inducted 2005


Tricia Bair (undergrad assistant) —graduated August, 2005, with BS in Life Sciences.  Now Trish works for Syngenta, in the Research Triangle Park, NC, enjoying that fancy espresso machine of theirs!


Jennifer Tarter (grad student) — graduated, April, 2005 with Ph.D. in Crop Science.  Currently, Maize Inbred Discovery Breeder, Pioneer Hi-Bred, Champaign, IL


Inducted 2004


Brooke Peterson (technician) —retired from USDA, September, 2004. Now full-time mom to young Grant and Sarah.


Terry Flint (undergrad assistant) —returned to St. Cloud State University, August 2004 after two successful consecutive seasons on the NC corn pollinating circuit. Now some kind of engineer.


Steve Szalma (postdoc) – worked for Pioneer Hi-Bred, Inc. as a corn breeder, stationed in Willmar, MN.  Steve passed away in 2014 and is missed terribly. We remember his kindness, intelligence, and humor fondly.


Inducted 2003


Arturo Garcia (data management specialist) - boo-hoo, Arturo left and we are somewhat helpless, computer-wise, without him.  He created our field data collection software, corntracker, which is awesome.  Now he is the IT specialist at USDA-ARS in Columbia, MO.


Kim Soules (undergrad assistant) -graduated from NCSU in May, 2003, pollinated and harvested until September, 2003. Current whereabouts: unknown.  A big shout out to Lil Kim!


Jill Weibel (undergrad assistant) -graduated from NCSU in May, 2003, pollinated until August, 2003.  Worked as public school teacher in Mecklenberg County, NC.


Inducted 2002


Brian Hostert (grad student) —graduated from NCSU in May, 2002 with MS in Crop Science.  Now works for Monsanto in Woodland, CA.


Inducted 2000


Sara Helland (grad student) —graduated from Iowa State U. in May, 2000 with MS in Genetics.  Obtained her Ph.D. from Iowa State and works as a corn breeder for Pioneer Hi-Bred in Johnston, IA.


Cuauhtemoc Cervantes-Martinez (grad student) —graduated from Iowa State U. in February, 2000 with Ph.D. in Plant Breeding.  Teaching at the Universidad de Chapingo in Mexico.


Inducted 1999


Vladimir Portyanko (postdoc)—moved to Univ. of Minnesota to work as Research Associate in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, then to the Dep. of Botany.


Chuck Kremer (grad student) —graduated from Iowa State U. in June, 1999 with M.S. in Genetics. Now works in the DNA lab at the Mayo Clinic, Rocherster, MN.


Inducted 1998


Hoi Sio-Wai (grad student) —graduated from Iowa State U. with MS in Plant Breeding in June 1998.  Now works for Monsanto Co, St. Louis, MO.