News Release: Landaverde receives international fellowship

Rafael Quijada Landaverde, graduate associate and doctoral student in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL) at The Ohio State University was named one of seven recipients of the Kirchner Food Fellowship.

The Kirchner Food Fellowship is a pioneer in the lean investment movement, harnessing the power of highly-committed millennial talent to find, fund and assist promising socially-responsible, for-profit agricultural businesses. Through the use of a “real-world, real-time, real-money” model the program has proven that it is possible for newly formed investment teams to become effective venture capital allocators in a matter of months. The combination of compressed learning time frames and low operating costs makes it possible to more cost efficiently deploy smart and impactful capital in parts of the world where angel capital is needed most.

As the model spreads beyond North America, the Fellowship partners with local groups to establish resident teams in less developed economies. The program strengthens in-region capital allocation capacity, the apex element of any healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem that is well-networked into the global financial markets.

“We are excited for Rafael to be selected as recipient of this highly regarded fellowship,” said Dr. Shannon Washburn, professor and chair of ACEL. “His knowledge, talents, and experience will be an asset to his cohort and participating partners.”

The importance of the program has been greatly highlighted by COVID-19 and the worldwide focus on food security, from organizations, countries and regions. The program combines access to decades of institutional impact investment experience and the innovative problem-based learning approach honed over the last seven years. Landaverde will be part of the 2020-2021 cohort based in Mexico. The other is based out of the United States.

“Our selection process gets more and more difficult each year as the program’s profile grows, expanding our remarkable applicant pool,” commented Blair Kirchner, Director. “The fellowship will commence in early September, concurrent with the next Kirchner Investment Academy, a unique program designed to demystify investment for entrepreneurs and young professionals.”

Landaverde is a graduate of Texas Tech University, where he earned a master of science in agricultural education, and a graduate of Zamorano University in Honduras with a bachelor of science in environment and development.

Students in the ACEL graduate program at Ohio State may specialize in agricultural communication, agricultural education, community and extension education, international development or leadership. The agricultural communication, education, and leadership graduate program offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science, Master of Education and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees. The Doctor of Philosophy degree prepares students for careers as administrators, specialists, university faculty and researchers.

ACEL faculty, grad student collects data in Uganda for water systems project

Dr. Rodriguez and Rafael in Masindi, Uganda during their data collection trip in early March.

In early March, Rafael Landaverde, a PhD student in agricultural communication, education, and leadership, and Dr. Mary Rodriguez, assistant professor in community leadership, traveled to Uganda to collect data as part of the Governance Research on Water Systems (GROWS) project.

GROWS is a grant funded research project with Global Environment and Technology Foundation, US Water Partnership, The Ohio State University, Global Partners for Development and USAID that aims to design and disseminate water governance systems in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. You can learn more about the project here.

While their trip was cut short due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, they did get a photo in Masindi, Uganda to show that the work of CFAES spans worldwide.

Isaacs defends master’s thesis


Congratulations to Emily Isaacs, and agricultural and extension education master’s student, on the successful defense of her thesis “Toward Smart City Goals: Promoting Sustainable Commutes Among University Students.”

Isaacs advisor was Dr. Mary Rodriguez and Dr. Joy Rumble served as her committee member.

Congratulations Emily!

Masambuka defends disseration

Dr. Fally Masambuka and committee

Congratulations to Dr. Fallys Masambuka, an agricultural and extension education doctoral student, on the successful defense of her dissertation “Agricultural communication: Whose voices, for who and for what? A case study of Malawian Agricultural communication programs.”

Masambuka completed her dissertation under the advisement of Dr. Mary Rodriguez and Dr. Emily Buck. Dr. Jera Niewoehner-Green and graduate faculty representative Dr. Rebecca Garabed served on her committee.

(Niewoehner-Green, Rodriguez and Buck are pictured below with Masambuka.)

Meet Our Graduate Students: Cora Carter

Motivated, ambitious, goal-oriented, and driven to make a difference are a few of the ways to describe graduate student Cora Carter. From a small town in Southern Indiana, Cora majored in pre-veterinary medicine at Purdue University as a fourth generation Boilermaker. Once admitted into the prestigious College of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue, Cora had a decision to make. Continue on in the Vet Scholars program, or follow her calling to help feed the world?Photo

Through church mission trips, Cora had traveled to Honduras where she saw poverty in a real way. These trips are what helped to plant the seed of spending her life helping to feed others. Changing her concentration from pre-vet to animal production, Cora added a second major in international agronomy. This helped her build a knowledge base in crops, soils, forages, animal nutrition, and international economics. Knowing that in order to reach her goals she would need research experience and a higher-level degree, Cora found the perfect fit at Ohio State with the international development extension graduate degree. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in agricultural extension and education with a focus on international development from Ohio State’s Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership.

The research that Cora is conducting is focused on livestock production in the inner city of developing countries- something that hasn’t been researched to a great extent. She is developing a project in collaboration with the International Research Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Managua, Nicaragua. The project will survey livestock producers within the city limits of Managua, determining their needs for safety education with regards to raising livestock. With hopes of determining the safety education levels of farmers, especially regarding waste management and zoonotic diseases, Cora will then work with animal scientists, veterinarians, and OSU extension personnel to develop workshops and materials for use in Nicaragua.

She wishes to create a self sustaining program in Nicaragua by training local Nicaraguan livestock producers to teach the workshops to their peers, which would in turn help guide further education programs. Excited about her future and where her research at Ohio State will take her, Cora says,
“I look forward to being a part of the solution to world hunger in my lifetime and this is where it begins.”



To learn more about graduate opportunities within ACEL, contact Dr. Scott Scheer by emailing or visit room 203 in Agricultural Administration.