2023 – 2024 Officers

Executive Board Members: From left to right: Sarah Lipps, Devin Koester, Sheila Scheffel, Lucas Berger Munaro, Raysa Gevartosky, Luke Bergschneider, Anup Dhakal, Sagnika Das, Jeremy Logrono, Kayla Vittore, Holly Anderson (not pictured).

President: Lucas Berger Munaro

Lucas Berger Munaro is a PhD Candidate working with Dr. Jessica Rutkoski in the Small Grains Improvement group. Lucas’s research aims to accelerate the improvement of “total net merit” in wheat, enhancing the sustainability and profitability of agriculture in the Midwest. As part of this project, Lucas is developing novel methods for estimating and improving net merit in the wheat-soybean double-crop system in Illinois. After completing his PhD, Lucas intends to pursue a position in the field of plant breeding within the industry. Beyond his academic pursuits, Lucas finds joy spending quality time with his family and friends, outdoor activities like camping, fishing, hiking, bird watching, and grilling Brazilian barbecue while tasting a good beer.

Vice President: Raysa Gevartosky

Raysa Gevartosky is a third-year Ph.D. student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is currently working in the Small Grains Improvement Lab under the supervision of Dr. Jessica Rutkoski, focusing on developing more efficient yield testing and selection methods that leverage high-throughput phenotyping and genomic selection. In her free time, Raysa loves spending quality time with friends and loved ones, trying new activities, and enjoying a good coffee.

Treasurer: Sarah Lipps

Sarah Lipps is a PhD candidate with Tiffany Jamann in the Field Crop Pathology Group. She is working to better understand the genetic architecture underlying resistance to Gibberella Ear Rot in maize. Her project involves working with large inbred populations to identify and confirm regions of resistance, as well as developing and evaluating hybrids in multiple environments to better understand breeding and improving prediction models. After completion of her PhD, Sarah hopes to continue to explore using quantitative genetics and plant pathology to improve resistance to diseases in crops. Sarah spends nearly all her free time outdoors either trail running, hiking, camping, or playing with her dogs.

Secretary & Media Chair: Anup Dhakal

Anup Dhakal is a Secretary and Media Chair of CSGO. He is a graduate student in the Small Grains Lab under the supervision of Dr. Juan Arbelaez at the Department of Crop Sciences. His research focuses on improving oats' nutritional value and milling quality through phenomics and genomics. He believes that CSGO provides an excellent opportunity to network with fellow graduate students.

Networking Chair: Luke Bergschneider

Luke is a second-year masters student in the UIUC Soils Lab advised by Dr. Andrew Margenot. His research investigates the variability and magnitude of on-farm nutrient balances and nutrient use efficiencies due to management practices and soil characteristics. After graduating he eventually plans to return to the family farm in Central IL (corn, soybeans, beef cattle) and integrate more grazing. When he isn’t working on research or farming Luke enjoys hunting and fishing, Cardinals baseball, and reading.

Social Chair: Sheila Scheffel

Sheila Scheffel is a second-year Ph.D. student in the UIUC Small Grains Improvement group under Dr. Juan Arbelaez. Her research focuses on understanding the genetic architecture of heat stress in small grains and developing breeding strategies to improve heat tolerance and help ameliorate the effects of global warming. Sheila loves being outside, brewing and appreciating good beer, going out, reading, occasionally writing some poetry, and most of all, enjoying family and friends.

Social Chair: Holly Anderson

Holly Anderson is a second-year master’s student studying plant genetics in the Juvik Lab. Her research focuses on understanding the genetic mechanisms influencing the production of health-promoting compounds in pigmented maize for use as nutraceuticals and natural food dyes. Holly enjoys playing volleyball and listening to live music.

Webmaster: Jeremy Logrono

Jeremy Logrono is a third-year Ph.D. student focusing on plant breeding at the University of Illinois, working under the direction of Dr. Jessica Rutkoski. His research focuses on developing locally adapted, value-added wheat varieties using novel speed breeding and genomic selection strategies. Jeremy aspires to become a plant breeder and work in the private sector. In his free time, Jeremy enjoys mountain biking, hiking, Muay Thai, camping, and exploring different ethnic cuisines.

Teaching Committee Representative & Student Ambassador: Kayla Vittore

Kayla is a graduate student in the DK Lee Lab. Her research focus is fiber crops and sustainability agronomy. Kayla is currently the TA Liaison for CSGO, and the Graduate Representative on the Crop Sciences Graduate Program Committee. You are welcome to contact her via university email! Outside of graduate school, Kayla is a member of the Sola Gratia Farm (Non-Profit) Board of Directors and a hobbyist embroiderer. She believes that organizations like CSGO are defined by their community, and is ready to assist her peers wherever she can.

Student Ambassador: Devin Koester

Devin Koester is a second-year master’s student in the Riechers lab. Devin’s research is focused on overcoming metabolic herbicide resistance, using synergistic combinations of commercial herbicides. Devin is also testing weed competition as it relates to yield, in both high and low productivity systems. In his free time Devin enjoys golfing with friends, working around his cattle farm, and watching Chicago sports… unfortunately he likes teams that are not very good.

Student Ambassador: Sagnika Das

Sagnika Das, currently pursuing her Ph.D. at INHS, UIUC with Dr. Joseph Spencer, delves into research aimed at creating a practical framework for monitoring-based control decisions in the management of western corn rootworms on commercial farms. She is exploring the feasibility and economics of using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to remotely photograph WCR adults captured on Pherocon® AM sticky traps far out in soybean fields. Beyond her academic pursuits, Sagnika finds joy in exploring new places, hiking, and capturing the beauty of nature through videography and photography.