Student Awards


Plant Health International Travel Award

The Plant Health International Travel Award was initiated with funds from the Agropolis Fondation Louis Malassis International Scientific Prize for Agriculture and Food for Distinguished Scientist award, presented to Jan Leach in May 2019.  The Award provides travel funds for Graduate Students, Post Doctoral Fellows, and exceptional Undergraduate Student researchers to travel to foster international collaborations and to attend international meetings to share research with collaborators or the broader plant health research community.


Olga Kozhar

Olga is a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Jane Stewart lab, where she is studying population biology and evolution of fungi. She is particularly interested in studying processes leading to the emergence and re-emergence of fungal pathogens of trees. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Rocky Mountains alpine ecosystems, doing art, and spending time with her dog Rosie.

Federico Martin

I am a plant molecular biologist and geneticist interested in plant adaptation to environmental stresses and sustainable food production. I was born in a traditional farming family in Santa Fe, Argentina, but in 2001 I was recruited as an athlete at Arizona State University where I graduated in 2005 with a degree in molecular biology and biotechnology. In 2012, I received a Ph.D. degree in plant molecular biology and physiology from the University of Florida. I’m currently investigating the transcriptional regulatory phases influencing plant immune responses at high temperatures working with Dr. Jan Leach in the Department of Agricultural Biology at Colorado State University.

Jennifer Shipp

Jennifer Shipp is a master’s student studying the impacts of rising temperatures on plant disease resistance genes in Dr. Jan Leach’s lab. She grew up in south Florida, surrounded by interesting flora and fauna and moved to Colorado to continue her studies in plant biology. When she’s not in a lab or a greenhouse, she spends her time exploring the intersection of science and art through AI coding, 3D  modeling, and VR design.

Emily Luna

Emily received her BS in Horticulture and MS in Entomology at Colorado State University. Broadly, her research interests include understanding multitrophic interactions in plant phytobiomes. Currently, her main focus is to determine how microbes associated with the Russian wheat aphid contribute to aphid virulence. She also is passionate about plant pathology and is helping to characterize an emerging pathogen of rice in the United States, Pantoea ananatis.

Jen Rushton

I am a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Nalam lab studying potato viruses. My research focuses on the detection, epidemiology, and molecular characteristics of tuber-necrotic potato viruses in Colorado.

Laine Hackenberg

Laine Hackenberg is a second year Master’s student in Dr. Punya Nachappa’s lab. Laine’s research is focused on understanding pathogen (specifically viral) relationships with hemp through studying the hemp virome as well as screening hemp lines for genetic resistance to pathogens.

Diego Castillo Gutierrez

I am a PhD candidate from the Roberts Lab. My research focuses on studying a re-emerging bacterial pathogen of wheat. Since this is a crop relevant worldwide, I am looking forward to sharing my research in an international meeting like ICPP 2023