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Shadowing a seed industry researcher

SHADOWING A RESEARCHER IN INDUSTRY
March 2017 UC Davis student winner: Sabin Aslam
February 2017 UC Davis student winner: Macarena Farcuh
January 2017 UC Davis student winner: Yuki Okatsu
December 2016 UC Davis student winner: Mengyuan Xiao
November 2016 UC Davis student winner: Xin Li
October 2016 UC Davis student winner: Kimberly Gibson (Davis)
Hartnell College student winners: Elizabeth Mersino, Hisidro Gallardo, George Garcia, Rosa Gutierrez, David Butler, Tyler Armbrister (Salinas)
September 2016 UC Davis student winner: Cyril Gulassa
April 2016 UC Davis student winner Mohan Niroula
February 2016 UC Davis student winner Cyril Gulassa
January 2016 special roundtable event without drawing
December 2015 UC Davis student winner: Lanxuan Wang
November 2015 UC Davis student winner: Nestor Kippes
October 2015 UC Davis student winner: Miguel Macias (Davis)
UC Davis student winner: Julia Kingsolving (Salinas)
September 2015 UC Davis student winner Hallie Casey
May 2015 UC Davis student winner Mila Dec.Hull
April 2015 UC Davis student winner Chad Jorgensen
March 2015 UC Davis student winner Tim Butterfield
February 2015 UC Davis student winner Erin Wilkus
January 2015 UC Davis student winner Marta Bjornson
December 2014 event cancelled
November 2014 UC Davis student winner Gitanshu Munjal
October 2014 UC Davis student winner Gena Hoffman
September 2014 UC Davis student winner Nicolas Cobo
May 2014 UC Davis student winner Brian Chau
April 2014 UC Davis student winner Belle Smith
March 2014 UC Davis student winner Brian Chau shadowed with Arcadia Biosciences.
February 2014 UC Davis student winner Belle Smith
January 2014 UC Davis student winner Thomas Giang shadowed with Arcadia Biosciences.
December 2013 UC Davis student winner Mohan Niroula shadowed with Monsanto Vegetable Seeds.
November 2013 UC Davis student winner Jeanny Seatern shadowed with Arcadia Biosciences.
October 2013 UC Davis student winner Brian Chau shadowed with Marrone Bio Innovations.
September 2013 The winner is UC Davis student Rafael Munhoz Pedroso, PhD student in Horticulture and Agronomy. His main research interest is in Weed Science with an emphasis on management of herbicide-resistant weeds in rice cropping systems. He expects to graduate in the Spring of 2015.
May 2013 UC Davis student and April winner Randi Jimenez, Horticulture and Agronomy PhD student, Seed Biotechnology Center, UC Davis, shadowed plant breeder James Brusca at Syngenta Seeds in Woodland.

Randi's testimonial: I had the pleasure of shadowing James Brusca on July 18, 2013 at Syngenta’s research and field station in Woodland, CA. I am definitely going to remember spending the day with James and his team looking at their watermelon breeding trials. The tour of their station was cool in that it was laid out from how they start with material and how it makes its way to a variety over time. This is my first field season, and James and his team showed me how they evaluate their crop in the field, which will be really helpful for my own project. Xingping Zhang was out in the field, too, and he showed me how you could see how Syngenta strives to innovate just by what they have in the field. After spending the day with everyone and learning how to pick a perfectly ripe watermelon, I think I am going to be a bit of a watermelon snob from now on. I am so glad that I was able to visit Syngenta, and the trunk full of watermelons I took home was really great. Thanks Seed Central for making this possible.

April 2013 The winner is UC Davis student Nicolas Cobo.
March 2013 The winner is UC Davis student Jorge Berny, PhD student in Paul Gepts’ lab working with drought resistance in wild and domesticated beans. Jorge shadowed Ken Owens, CEO, Magnum Seeds, in Dixon, CA.

Jorge wrote: First we went through the new hybrids of cucumbers. Which it´s a relatively unknown crop for me, since I´ve worked with peppers and beans before. It was very interesting and enlightening to learn about the traits that are important for the farmers and on the seed production side. And see how progress have been made as compared to historic and current leading varieties. We then went through the hot pepper hybrid trial. I´ve been a pepper enthusiast since my undergrad years and have study or bred peppers for 10 years. However, certain types grown in more temperate areas, like the Ancho type, have been quite elusive for me since they are not grown that much in my native area in Yucatan, Mexico. But it was great to see the varieties of those peppers that I´ve seen in visits to farmers fields in Central and Northern Mexico, growing quite nicely in the Central Valley. The improvement of the newer Jalapeños and Anchos is really impressive, so is with the relatively minor types like Serranos and "Gueros". The advance in disease resistance and fruit size and shape is remarkable, but being overall yield as important as always.

It is important to emphasize that Ken was extremely friendly, and open about my interests and questions. So was the staff at Magnum Seeds. And most importantly I got to speak the language of Capsicum for a whole day, with one of the best hot pepper breeders around. Thanks a lot to Seed Central, Ken Owens, and Magnum seeds for this opportunity!
I spent my shadowing day following James Brusca, a watermelon breeder from. This was an especially valuable experience as a plant lab biologist to experience research in the field and in industry. James gave me a tour of the facility, including the fields, the greenhouses and storehouses. I then assisted in phenotyping watermelon reproductive traits in the greenhouse and helped fertilize watermelons to check the phenotypes of certain crosses. I learned what traits were ideal for Syngenta watermelons and the process that watermelon breeders undertook to make their perfect fruit. I also assisted James in scoring pathogen resistance in young watermelon plants. It was amazing to see the difference between susceptible varieties and the improved, resistance varieties. Overall it was invaluable to experience plant breeding in industry, and I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity.
February 2013 The winner is UC Davis student Mohan Niroula, PhD Candidate, Horticulture and Agronomy Group

May 30th, 2013 was a memorable day for me. Thank you Seed Central. I had a wonderful visit with two Syngenta plant breeders. I arrived at the Syngenta research station in Woodland at 8:00 AM. Dr. Rakesh Kumar welcomed me in his office. He had already carved out the agenda for the day. I had the privilege of learning about the melon breeding program, database management and seed vault management. I also had a chance to visit greenhouses and field plots. Dr. Zhang Xingping invited me for lunch in the afternoon. Together with his research team, I had wonderful Chinese cuisine. I spent the rest of the afternoon with Dr. Modan Das. He took me to the real plant-breeding field of wheat. He showed me his selection methods and techniques. It was a great experience. I got to meet two breeders in a day and gained insightful knowledge about their breeding programs. My day was very productive. Thank you Dr. Rakesh Kumar, Dr. Modan Das and Dr. Zhang Xingping for hosting me and providing me your shadow for a day. I look forward to meeting you in future and may be working with you under your guidance.
January 2013 The winner is UC Davis student Gena Hofman, Plant Biology Graduate Student, Pamela Ronald Lab 
December 2012 The winner is UC Davis student Hui Ean Teh, PhD Candidate, Food Science Graduate Group. Hui Ean had a shadowing experience at H.J. Heinz Company's tomato processing plant, Escalon Premium Brand.

I had the opportunity to visit Escalon Premium Brand, a tomato processing plant affiliated with H.J. Heinz Company on August 23rd 2013. The shadowing experience was started off with Mr. Scott Adrian, the plant manager, inviting me to join the daily management briefing and tomato tasting session. Next, I was showed around the plant, where I got an up-close look to see how freshly-harvest tomatoes were made into canned pastes, sauces, and purees. Since the visit was during tomato harvesting season, I was fortunate to see the processing factory in its peak operation where all production lines were fully engaged. Then, I shadowed Mr. Mark Shannon, the production manager, where he showed me the tasks that he did on a daily basis. He also explained some long-term experimental projects that he performed to increase energy efficiency of the factory. Before the experience, I thought a food scientist’s role in a processing plant could be quite routine. But, after shadowing Mark for a day, I realized the job were very challenging and involved a lot of problem solving with new challenges to be solved every season, if not every day. It was definitely an eye-opening experience for me. Thank you Escalon Premium Brand for spending a day with me on one of the busiest days in the year and Seed Central for arranging the wonderful experience!

November 2012 The winner is UC Davis student Natasha Worden, Ph.D. Student in Plant Biology, had a shadowing experience at Syngenta Seeds Inc. in Woodland, CA.

Natasha wrote: I spent my shadowing day following James Brusca, watermelon breeder at Syngenta Seeds. This was an especially valuable experience as a plant lab biologist to experience research in the field and in industry. James gave me a tour of the facility, including the fields, the greenhouses and storehouses. I then assisted in phenotyping watermelon reproductive traits in the greenhouse and helped fertilize watermelons to check the phenotypes of certain crosses. I learned what traits were ideal for Syngenta watermelons and the process that watermelon breeders undertook to make their perfect fruit. I also assisted James in scoring pathogen resistance in young watermelon plants. It was amazing to see the difference between susceptible varieties and the improved, resistance varieties. Overall it was invaluable to experience plant breeding in industry, and I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity.
October 2012 UC Davis student and October winner Randi Jimenez, Horticulture and Agronomy PhD student, Seed Biotechnology Center, UC Davis, shadowed a researcher at Monsanto Vegetable Seeds in Woodland.

Randi's testimonial: I shadowed Terry Berke on November 16, 2012 at Seminis in Woodland, CA, which was set up through Seed Central. It was a great experience to spend a day with such a well respected pepper-breeder and his team. Since I just began working in pepper recently, I learned a lot about methods that work for performing pathology screens and de-seeding that were super helpful. Also, I had a few questions about my own project that Terry was able to advise me on and give me the industry view of some of the aspects of my project. He also just gave me a good general overview of pepper breeding and production in the western hemisphere that is a good foundation for the rest of my work. He and his team were definitely a wealth of information, and the emersion for a day was a terrific learning experience. I am so glad that I was able to meet him, and he welcomed me to contact him in the future if I have any pepper questions or ideas. Thanks Seed Central for setting this up!
September 2012 UC Davis student and September winner Cuong Tran shadowed a researcher at Harris Moran Seed Company's research station in Davis

Cuong's testimonial: The shadowing was a pretty good experience. I've visited Harris Moran once before, but it was good to be able to talk to the breeders there and get a look at the stuff they were working on in their cell biology lab. I would say it helped give me an idea of what I want to do after graduation and later in my career.

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