In this Edition

  • A Message from the Dean
  • Recent Publications
  • New Grants
  • Awards and Recognitions
  • Funding Opportunities
  • Update from the LRES Online Master's Program
  • Announcements
  • Upcoming Events
  • MANRRS Conference Recap
  • COA/MAES in the News

A Message from the Dean

Dear Colleagues,

It is good to welcome spring (finally), which means planting time for many of our agricultural researchers. It also means our livestock researchers and producers are done with calving. The semester will conclude in a few short weeks, with the graduation ceremony on May 12. I hope to see many of you there! 

Summer is a busy time for the College of Agriculture, with field research across the state and beyond, field days and many opportunities to engage with the wonderful people we serve in Montana. We have eight field days scheduled throughout June and July. Please visit to see the schedule and plan to visit at least one of the field days to learn more about the research we do in the college. 

I always enjoy personally meeting with the people of the state who support our college in so many ways, including state appropriations that fund MAES and MSU. So far, it has been a great year of legislative support for MAES, and we have our wonderful community members to thank for their continued advocacy of and appreciation for agriculture. 

MSU is the fourth land grant university I have the fortune to associate with. I feel proud every day to be part of an institution and lead a college that puts students first and stays true to the land grant mission. Our campus is by far the most welcoming and one of the safest campuses I know of. It is because of all of you dedicated people helping and supporting our students; being kind and welcoming to people around you; and keeping our mission at the center of everything you do. As you sprint toward the end of the semester, a big thank you for everything you do for our students and constituents.

Sreekala Bajwa

three minute thesisthree minute thesis

The College of Agriculture hosted its first Three-Minute Thesis Competition on March 30! Eight graduate students presented their work for an audience and panel of judges. DAEE's Laura Sikoski took first place, while PSPP's Jessica Williams received the People's Choice Award, voted on by the audience. Laura and Jessica will go on to compete at the MSU-wide Three-Minute Thesis Competition later this semester! Thank you to Paul Nugent for organizing this event and to Colter Peterson for taking photos!

Recent Publications

Find a full list of recent publications here, through MSU's VPR and Library.

New Grants

  • Eleven new grants were awarded to COA/MAES faculty and staff in February, totaling nearly $978,000​​​​​​​.
  • FY24 Grants from the Montana Fertilizer Advisory Committee have been announced! PIs on those awards are:
    • Chengci Chen
    • Stephanie Ewing
    • Mike Giroux
    • Hayes Goosey
    • Clain Jones
    • Peggy Lamb
    • Perry Miller
    • Manbir Rakkar
    • Jamie Sherman
    • Adam Sigler
    • Jessica Torrion

Awards and Recognitions

  • Lance McNew and Jason Hanlon were featured in a great story from the Billings Gazette for their work on sharp-tailed grouse research that utilizes drone technology. 
  • Tommy Bass was awarded the Extension Risk Management and Education Program Western Region Outstanding Project Award for Western Meat School: A hybrid learning experience for farmers & ranchers to reduce marketing, financial and legal risk and strengthen local meat supply chains.

  • Three current and former DAEE students were recently accepted to PhD programs to begin this fall. Congratulations to these outstanding future doctoral candidates!
    • Sadiq Salimi Rad will be starting the PhD program next fall at Carnegie Melon's Heinz College of Public Policy.

    • Jadon Buzzard will be starting the PhD program next fall at Cornell's Brooks School of Public Policy.

    • Nicholas Sweeney will be starting the PhD program next fall in the Department of Economics at Michigan State University.

  • The Crow Water Quality Project, led by John Doyle (Little Big Horn College), Mari Eggers (MSU) and colleagues, was selected by the Urban Institute as one of 15 U.S. case studies for their national review of participatory methodology, conducted for the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families. 
  • Sarah Warnke, a senior in the Environmental Health Program, will present her research, “Cumulative Health Risk Assessment of Drinking Water Contaminants in Cascade and Lewis and Clark Counties, MT,” at the National Water Quality Monitoring Conference this week in Virginia.
  • Emory Hoelscher-Hull, also of the Environmental Health Program, earned second place at the Association of Environmental Health Academic Program's Student Research Competition. Emory's research was an assessment of health risks from home well water quality in Gallatin and Madison counties.

Funding Opportunities​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Click here for MSU's database of funding opportunities.

Update from the LRES Online Master's Program

LRES held an Instructor Hybrid Retreat on April 17 for our Professional MS Program to review our past decade and plan for the next as we address the growing national need to train agricultural and environmental science professionals. Since receiving seed monies 2012, we have created a series of two dozen online courses across the environmental sciences and several face-to-face, intensive field courses. Annual student enrollment has grown to 110 professionals (60% female; average age of 32; 30% from Montana), many of whom are place-bound, working in government/non-profit agencies, industry, and extension in the U.S. and abroad.

Over the past decade, 119 students have earned their MS degrees. Course content has been continually adapted using peer and student feedback and positive student evaluations indicate that the program is well-designed and provides a valued, rigorous learning experience. Outcomes from the past decade put us in the top-ten Best Online MS Programs and suggest our approach provides an excellent model to improve access to graduate education. Contact Tracy Sterling at for more information on the LRES online master's program.


  • The Department of Research Centers would like to announce the hiring of Dr. Tiziana Oppedisano for the Agricultural Entomology position at Western Triangle Agricultural Research Center. Dr. Oppedisano earned her BS and MS at the University of Milan, Italy, and her PhD from the Edmund Mach Foundation and the University of Molise, Italy. Recently, Dr. Oppedisano completed a postdoctoral appointment with Oregon State University, where she was stationed at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center. During this appointment, she focused on the Integrated Pest Management of Field Crop Pests. Dr. Oppedisano also participated in several extension and outreach programs through active participation in field days, working with the Potato Pest Alert Newsletter in Umatilla and Morrow Counties. Dr. Oppedisano will begin in early summer at WTARC, Please help the Department welcome her! She can be reached at
  • A recent video outlines novel research by Jennifer Lachowiec on crop yield and how wheat cultivars respond to their environment. You can watch the video here!
  • The Montana Wheat and Barley Committee has set up a 24/7 webcam at our Northern Ag Research Center, where the public can watch growing season progress of winter wheat, spring wheat and barley. You can find the live feed here.
  • Check out this new video on a project to restore high-elevation sagebrush meadows using small dams. The project was a collaboration between private livestock producers in the Centennial Valley, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, US Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Montana – Western and MSU.

Upcoming Events

  • The documentary "Lake at the Bottom of the World" will screen at the Emerson Theater in Bozeman on April 30, featuring work by our own John Priscu.
  • ​​​​​​​NIFA will host a Grant Support Technical Assistance Workshop May 8-12. You can find more information here.
  • Spring commencement is coming up quickly on May 12!

Thank you to everyone who participated in or attended the 2023 LRES Research Colloquium on April 13! See above for photos from the event. Undergraduate and graduate students presented on subjects from invasive plants to wheat stem sawfly, and the night was capped with a wonderful keynote by Cathy Whitlock. Award winners included:

  • Outstanding Graduating Senior Award: Paige Schlegel
  • Exceptional Service Award: Lexi Emeny
  • Land Grant Excellence Award: Sasha Loewen
  • Best poster presentations: Henry Stowell, Meghan Robinson and Rich Schonenberg
  • Best spoken presentation: Jackson Strand, Paige Schlegel and Erin Teichroew

MANRRS Conference Recap

MSU's chapter of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences traveled to the national MANRRS conference in Atlanta earlier this month. Here's what our attendees had to say: 

Emmanuel Annan (PSPP):

The Diversity Summit was a valuable workshop to attend. I learned a lot about how some involuntary actions and speeches could be offensive to others, as well as how the world is populated with people from different backgrounds, cultures and behaviors. The talk was also illuminating regarding the importance of showing love to each other and appreciation for the work of others.

Melissa Wysocki (LRES):

Attending the 37th MANRRS National Conference has confirmed my commitment to creating a more diverse and accepting culture in the College of Agriculture at Montana State University. I had the brief but incredibly impactful opportunity to experience what many of our colleagues and students may feel on a regular basis; being the only one in the room. I now have a better understanding of the backgrounds that shape the history of systemic and structural racism in the field of agriculture. My time in Atlanta served as a great reminder that while I have made personal strides in being a better friend and colleague to underrepresented communities, there is an overwhelming amount of work to still be done personally and systemically. 

Brian Kibirige (DATE):

At MANRRS, I got the opportunity to interact with diverse students, faculty & staff, and industry professionals discussing issues related to internships/volunteer opportunities for international researchers and Ph.D. funding opportunities at their colleges. Additionally, the conference had several workshops and side events where students presented their research, and I found this a good avenue that students can utilize to disseminate their research findings and grow their communication skills. In regard to the Diversity Summit, it was huge learning opportunity for me. It offered insight on grey areas around DEI, leaving me with several takeaways. Oftentimes, students suffer academic burnout and having events like this conference may help rejuvenate their souls and re-energize their bodies for the next academic year.

COA/MAES in the News


College of Agriculture
P.O. Box 172860
Bozeman, MT 59717-2860

Tel: (406) 994-3681
Fax: (406) 994-6579
Location: 202 Linfield Hall

Vice President, Dean, and Director

Dr. Sreekala Bajwa