AMES, IA – The Iowa State University (ISU) Seed Science Center awarded six graduate fellowships starting in the 2024-2025 academic year.  This group of future industry leaders is poised to revolutionize the field of agriculture with their innovative ideas and unwavering dedication. These fellowships aren’t just about financial support; they’re about nurturing the next generation of seed scientists, educators, communicators, and managers, shaping the future of agriculture one seed at a time.

Caitlyn Bruntz (photo left) is the recipient of the esteemed Iowa Seed Association (ISA) Graduate Fellowship. Bruntz, a perspective student of the Seed Technology and Business Graduate Degree program, is on a mission to unravel the mysteries of seed business, blending financial acumen with scientific prowess to drive marketing strategies and breed resilient, nutrient-rich seed varieties. With a passion for breeding, seed health, and seed physiology, she’s ready to carve her path as a visionary “seed leader.”

“During internships, I have completed repetitive work in agriculture where some jobs are only data collection or field scouting,” Bruntz said. “I realized I don’t want a career in these positions, but rather, I want to analyze the data, set up the field design, and present the findings. To do this, I understand that I will need some form of graduate-level education.”

Jeffrey Shimada (photo right) is the recipient of the Committee for Agriculture Development Fellowship in Seed Science. Shimida is a non-traditional student in the Seed Technology and Business Graduate Program. Shimada’s journey has been marked by obstacles, from family obligations to a full-time job in the seed industry. But now, armed with newfound financial support, he’s determined to not only complete his degree but also pay it forward by mentoring others and delving into groundbreaking research on improving seed quality in sunflowers.

“As our world population continues to grow, I believe it is essential to be an ambassador for agribusiness to promote agriculture,” Shimada said.”

Jack Moran (photo left) is awarded the Iowa Crop Improvement Association Fellowship in Seed Science, Moran is an Agronomy student under Dr. Susana Goggi studying perennial groundcover for row crop production. With a perfect grade point average and a knack for innovation, Moran is focused on improving crop yield while preserving our precious ecosystem. His ultimate goal?  Hailing from Ireland, he decided to pursue his passion for seed science at ISU after a study abroad in Ames put him in the right place at the right time.

“My interest in seed science sparked from attending Iowa State University to study abroad in 2021,” Moran said. “I took Dr. Susana Goggi’s class in seed science, where I got to visit some of the world’s leading seed companies, such as Bayer and Corteva.”

Moran plans to bring his expertise back to Ireland and revolutionize seed production in his native land.

Sandhya Adhikari and Ghanshyam Kandel recipients of the prestigious Edda G. Sehgal Fellowship for Graduate Studies in Seed Science, are breaking barriers and shattering stereotypes. Kandel (photo left, in white shirt), a Ph.D. student from Nepal looking to study Agricultural Education, is on a mission to bridge the gap between science and society, using his expertise in Seed Science Communication to empower rural farmers and drive agricultural innovation.

Adhikari (photo right), a trailblazing first-generation graduate female from Nepal, dreams of unraveling the secrets of seed pathology to combat disease and ensure food security for a growing global population. Adhikari is a prospective graduate student with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences (Tribhuvan University), Nepal. She is interested in pursuing a master’s degree in plant pathology specializing in seed pathology under the mentorship of Dr Gary Munkvold.

“I have high enthusiasm to pursue my graduate degree as a seed pathologist at one of the renowned agricultural Universities of the USA,” said Adhikari. “It will require courage, dedication, and determination.”

Thierry Guedeyi (photo left) embarks on a journey of discovery with the Bayer Graduate Fellowship in Global Seed Policy and Regulations. Guedevy, seeking a graduate degree in Agricultural Education, wants to focus on understanding farmer needs and developing culturally relevant outreach programs. Guedeyi, who worked as a lab assistant in the SSC Seed Lab, aims to dismantle barriers to seed adoption in developing countries like Cameroon. His goal? To become a beacon of change, connecting farmers with the scientific community and paving the way for a brighter, more sustainable future.

“The program’s focus on developing culturally relevant learning materials and creating effective extension programs aligns perfectly with my goal of developing sustainable educational programs for rural farmers in developing countries,” Guedeyi said. “My potential thesis topic explores the reasons behind rural farmers’ reliance on seed recycling rather than the adoption of commercial seeds in Cameroon.”

These fellowships vary, lasting for one year or multiple years, but their impact could last a lifetime. As these scholars embark on their journey of discovery, one thing is certain: the future of agriculture is in very capable hands. The next round of applications will be accepted through February 15, 2025. Visit to apply.

Become a #seedleader today!