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 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) - molecular breeding support scientist for Pioneer Hi-Bred at Champaign, IL


Inducted 2010


Teagen Gray (undergrad assistant) - now working on MS in Marine Biology (shark population genetics!) at Nova Southeast University, Florida.


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) - finishing up NCSU and farming in the summer


Will Upchurch (undergrad assistant) - finishing up NCSU


Xueyang (Sara) Wang (undergrad assistant)— now a Baldwin Scholar at Duke University. All-time smartest shoot bagger on Team Corn. 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) - working as a commercial breeder for Terrel Seeds, MS.


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) - multiple choice. Stella (A) directs a top secret government corn breeding program from an undisclosed bunker, (B) was taken back to the Mothership, or (C) works as drumstick tech for Susie Ibarra.


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 now is studying full time at East Carolina U.


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). He is going to grad school in Engineering at NCSU.


MC Parker (undergrad assistant) - MC started college after summer, 2006, at the University of North Carolina—Wilmington.  Don’t forget to go to class, MC!


David Rhyne (USDA Biological Science Technician) - After 16+ years working in the USDA maize DNA marker lab in the Dept. of Crop Science at NCSU, David has moved to the USDA maize pathology genetics lab at NCSU headed by Dr. Peter Balint-Kurti.  Thus, still in the family.


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) – works for Pioneer Hi-Bred, Inc. as a corn breeder, stationed in Willmar, MN.  Probably ice fishing when not working!


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.  Now works for Pioneer Hi-Bred in Johnston, IA and is a Ph.D. candidate at ISU.


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.