More than one hundred fifty people attended the 2nd Annual Plant Breeding Symposium held February 18, in the MSC Bethancourt Ballroom on the Texas A&M University campus. An additional eighty-five participated via the webinar.

According to Ammani Kyanam, one of the graduate students coordinating this year’s event, the webinar participants tuned in from four different countries. There were students from several other colleges/ universities, and a large number from the industry.

This year’s symposium, title “Healthier Food for a Healthier World”, featured speakers from DuPont, CIMMYT, and several universities from across the U.S.  In addition, three Soil and Crop Sciences grad students, Alfred Delgado, Sarah Ajayi, and Nicholas Pugh, were selected to present their research during the symposium.

A visiting, potential Masters student, Samuel Vigue, was impressed by the way the symposium was run. He has been at other symposia, and he really appreciated that the presenters here focused on the benefits of the research rather than just the technical aspects.

“I am glad he picked up on that,” stated Dustin Wilkerson, another of the six graduate students on the organizing committee. “We wanted to focus on the human benefits and to highlight the desired end result of the research. I am glad it was evident.”

“As to the success of the webinar, I think it really speaks to the credit of our speakers and to Texas A&M University’s reputation to have people from all over the world join our webinar,” Wilkerson stated. The entire organizing committee considers web access to be a crucial part of the symposium, and will definitely include a webinar again next year.

PBS Poster 2nd_Geraldo De Carvalho
PBS Poster 1st_Silvano Ocheya

In conjunction with the symposium, graduate students participated in a research poster contest.   First place went to Silvano Ocheya, who is working on his PhD in Plant Breeding; second place was Geraldo De Carvalho, who is also a PHD student in Plant Breeding; and third place went to Tessa Ries, a Masters student in Plant Pathology.

The annual event is put on by the Plant Breeding Symposium Organizing Committee, including graduate students Laura Masor, Brian Pfeiffer, Francisco Gomez, Ammani Kyanam, Dustin Wilkerson and Smit Dhakal. This symposium is part of the DuPont Plant Sciences Symposia Series presented by DuPont Pioneer. The series connects similar events at universities around the world. The event was also sponsored by Cotton, Inc., Texas A&M’s Office of Graduate and Professional Studies, Texas A&M’s Departments of Soil and Crop Sciences, Horticulture, and Biology, Texas A&M’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M’s C.O.A.L.S. Council, Ronin Cooking, Seed Saver’s Exchange, and Johnny’s Select Seeds.