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Student Chosen for Future Leaders in Science Program

North Dakota State University Department of Plant Sciences graduate student Jesse Puka-Beals was chosen to participate in the 2020 Future Leaders in Science program of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America.

January 7, 2020

North Dakota State University Department of Plant Sciences graduate student Jesse Puka-Beals was chosen to participate in the 2020 Future Leaders in Science program of the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA).

The award is open to graduate student members of the ASA, CSSA and/or SSSA, who live and work in the United States. The program provides an opportunity for recipients to “engage with policy-makers in order to raise awareness and support for science, technology and research funding,” according to the ASA website (www.agronomy.org).

Puka-Beals will travel to Washington, D.C. March 2-3, 2020 to participate in the annual ASA-CSSA-SSSA Congressional Visits Day, where Future Leaders in Science award recipients will have the opportunity to meet with their state’s Congressional delegation and advocate for food, agricultural and natural resources research. The students will receive training in policy, communications and advocacy prior to the event.

The Congressional Visits Day will be an opportunity for Puka-Beals to gain a better understanding of the interaction between agriculture and politics. “I want to learn more about how our representatives think about agricultural research and how they think it fits into our state and national goals,” he says. “My research project is supported by a USDA specialty crop block grant and the only reason such a program exists is because people who came before me were able to communicate the importance of investing in agricultural research.”

Puka-Beals is from Lexington, Massachusetts. His thesis research is on biodegradable mulches that can be used to control annual weed species in North Dakota, a study that is most relevant to high value crops such as vegetables. He is advised by Greta Gramig, associate professor and weed biology and ecology project leader.

Author: Kamie Beeson, 701-231-7123,
Editor: Karen Hertsgaard, 701-231-5384,

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