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One goal of this project is to train one MS and one PhD student for leadership roles in plant breeding and genetics with a focus on breeding for drought tolerance. Our two students, Steve Becker at Colorado State University and Kayse Onweller at University of Nebraska-Lincoln joined this project to study the use of wild and landrace germplasm in hexaploid winter wheat breeding.

Steve Becker

Steven Becker, PhD student, Colorado State University

Steve earned his BS degree in Agriculture Economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Following graduation, he began a career in crop breeding and development with Syngenta Seeds, a career which provoked him to return to school to earn a Master of Science degree in Agri-Science from Illinois State University. He is now working toward his doctoral degree researching the exploitation of traits found in synthetic hexaploid wheat varieties that are useful in the Great Plains region of the United States. This research involves identification of physiological and morphological traits, molecular genetics and breeding strategies that are beneficial to improved drought tolerance through both greenhouse and field studies in Colorado and Nebraska.





Kayse Onweller

Kayse Onweller, MS student, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Kayse earned a BS degree from the Plant Biology department of Michigan State University in 2008. She started her MS degree in 2009 with an interest in useful traits possessed in wild progenitors with a focus on rediversifing wheat germplasm. Her project studied various disease and insect resistances and a brief look at glutenin composition possessed by six CIMMYT spring wheats.