Welcome! My name is Jenna and I just defended my Ph.D. dissertation in Plant Breeding and Genetics with Mike Gore’s lab at Cornell University (June 2021). I study the genetics, genomics, and transcriptomics of sweet corn nutritional quality traits and develop near-infrared spectroscopy-based approaches and analysis tools for the phenotyping of quality traits in cassava. Find out more about my current and past research projects on my research page.
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.S. in Horticulture and a minor in African Studies in 2016. Throughout my time at UW-Madison, I worked with Dr. Phil Simon in the USDA-ARS Carrot Genetics group as an undergraduate research assistant. Parallel to my work in horticulture, I studied Swahili and spent a semester abroad in Kenya with MSID, a program focused on international development. I’ve enjoyed having these interests intersect in my graduate work and plan to continue pursuing both as I move forward.
I am passionate about food security and envision a world in which appropriate, nutrient-dense cultivars are in the hands of smallholder farmers. I want to use my career to empower plant breeders both in the United States and abroad to efficiently create improved plant varieties through the development of user-friendly tools and effective breeding strategies. By focusing at the intersection of operations research, nutritional genomics, and informatics, I believe that I can make a substantial contribution towards these goals, but it is only through strong collaborations with experts in these fields and with breeding program partners in CGIAR and national agricultural research systems (NARS) that true progress will be made.
When I’m not coding or thinking about science, I do a lot of quilting and baking.