Read on to meet some of the new faculty and staff who joined the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences this summer. Check back in September for more!
Maryam Nouri Aiin, Postdoctoral Associate, Plant and Soil Science
Maryam earned a Master’s degree in entomology focused on biological control of insect pests in Iran. She joined UVM six years ago to complete a Ph.D. program in Plant and Soil Science. She defended her Ph.D. in May 2022 and now works as a postdoc on two projects in the Department of Plant and Soil Science. The main interest of her research is to utilize entomopathogenic fungi (fungi that infect insects) as a component of Integrated Pest Management (IPM).
Anna R. Brown, Extension Northwest Crops and Soils, Crops and Soils Coordinator
Anna joined the NWCS Extension team in June while wrapping up her Masters in Plant and Soil Science at UVM. Her masters focused on soil pathogen management on organic vegetable farms in Vermont and will be focusing on agronomic, production, and market optimization research for grain crops in the Northeast.
Anna moved to Vermont from Santa Cruz, California in 2020. She majored in biology and environmental studies at the University of California Santa Cruz (go banana slugs!) and worked in researching and implementing alternative methods to soil fumigation for pathogen management in organic strawberry production in central CA. She transitioned off the farm to working in a hemp and cannabis testing laboratory for several years where she gained extensive experience with analytical chemistry instrumentation and analysis. Although she enjoyed the fast pace and challenges of a production laboratory, she missed field work and collaborating with the agriculture community. She decided to move across the country to pursue higher education in soil science at UVM. She now lives in Fairfax, VT. Her favorite things about the Northeast include creemees, leaf peeping, and swimming in rivers during the summer; she is still adjusting to mosquitoes/biting insects in general and the short days of winter.
Katie Ballard, Extension Assistant Professor
After several months in an interim capacity, Katie Ballard accepted a part-time faculty appointment at UVM and will serve as faculty advisor to the Morgan Horse Farm. Ballard is the director of research at the W. H. Miner Institute in Chazy, NY. She will be the liaison with the UVM Animal and Veterinary Sciences Department, and will advise the Morgan Horse Farm equine programs and internship curriculum.
Katie grew up in the Finger Lakes region of New York. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science with Honors in Undergraduate Research from the University of Vermont. She received a graduate fellowship from Miner Institute and received her Masters of Science degree in Animal Science from the University of Vermont. Katie’s main area of interest is reproductive physiology; she has been involved in work with dairy cattle and improving systems for the storage of stallion semen. Katie lives with her family on a bicentennial dairy farm in Georgia, Vermont.
Silvia Doyle, Farm Program Coordinator, Morgan Horse Farm
Silvia is new to the Morgan Horse Farm community and has enthusiastically stepped into the position of program coordinator. Silvia is a graduate of the Johnson and Wales Equine Sciences program and Westmoreland Davis Equestrian Center. Her equestrian experience has included riding and working with past Olympian riders and horses as well as a surgical Veterinarian technician. She has been riding and taking care of horses on and off for over 40 years. Silvia’s volunteerism includes: firefighter, ski patrol, local civic association board member and her passion lies in fundraising for the organizations that she’s involved in. When not working, you can find her hiking, horseback riding or skiing with her teenage children.
Jamie Maguire, Equine Manager, Morgan Horse Farm
Jamie joined the UVM Morgan Horse Farm as Equine Manager in July. She graduated from the Equine Management program at University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2015 and then went on to the apprenticeship program at the UVM Morgan Horse Farm. She has worked with horses for 22 years and Morgans specifically for about a decade. In her free time, Jamie loves True Crime podcasts and kayaking.
Rebecca Mitchell, Food Systems Research & Action Coordinator
Rebecca (Becca) joined the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences in August as the new Food Systems Research & Action Coordinator. In this position, she provides support to several food systems research projects.
Prior to joining the team at UVM, Becca studied Food and Agriculture Law and Policy through Vermont Law and Graduate School. She brings nearly a decade of program management experience to her role, having previously worked for Hunger Free Vermont and Green Mountain Farm to School. Becca is passionate about building a more just and sustainable food system. Outside of this work, she is a vinyasa yoga teacher and lifelong student.
Mary O’Connor, Business Support Generalist
Mary recently joined the CALS Dean’s Office team as a Business Support Generalist supporting finance activities. Most recently employed in the pharmaceutical industry, Mary comes to UVM with an extensive background in finance and related areas. She has two adult children and a very sweet 18-month-old Covid puppy named Della.
CALS also welcomed Carolyn Claxton (CDAE), Jacqueline Drouin (CDAE), Jeremy Russo (Extension), Claire Whitehouse (Center for Rural Studies) and Julie McClafferty (Plant Biology) this summer. Check our September new hire post to read more about them.