CSS Graduate Student
Ann Bybee-Finley took a giant leap for academia as the first graduate student for new faculty member, the Professor of Sustainable Agriculture, Matt Ryan in August 2012. A native West Virginian, Ann completed a Bachelor’s of Arts in International Studies with an Emphasis in Development and a Bachelor’s of Science in Biochemistry at West Virginia University. She then went on to spend a year interning in the Maize Pathology Lab at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). The year, where much time was spent in the incubation room or under the ventilation hood, convinced Ann to pursue a Master’s degree in Agronomy to prepare her for a career with less time in the lab and more time in the field. Her current research combines her interest in low-input management solutions to climate change and farmer risk mitigation strategies. This summer she will begin her field season studying interspecific and intraspecific competition in mixtures of summer annual forage crops. The objective of her research is to explore niche differentiation and facilitation, and identify combinations of species that maximize productivity and forage quality of summer annual forage crops grown in mid-summer in the northeastern US.
In addition to taking classes and performing research, Ann is the elected Chair of the Graduate and Professional School Programming Board, coordinating social events across departments, programs, and colleges to foster a stronger graduate community. She is also a voting member of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly and MOST importantly the coordinator of Bradfield’s monthly caption contest. This past winter she was an active member of a Student Multidisciplinary Applied Research Team (SMART) program organized by Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development (CIIFAD) where she served as a source of agricultural development knowledge to Grameen Intel Social Business, a start-up that created fertilizer recommendation software as a tool to address rural poverty in Bangladesh.