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MSU partners with USDA to give ‘impressive’ grad students summer research experience

Contact: Grace Jones

Pictured, left to right, are Rito Medina, Mirhossein Karimi, Luke Fuhrer, Xiaoying Li, Chintan Maniyar, Emma Schultz, Ajaya Dahal, Dhiraj Srivastava, Eric Fiah, and Sabyasachi Biswas.
Pictured, left to right, are Rito Medina, Mirhossein Karimi, Luke Fuhrer, Xiaoying Li, Chintan Maniyar, Emma Schultz, Ajaya Dahal, Dhiraj Srivastava, Eric Fiah, and Sabyasachi Biswas. (Photo by David Ammon)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A group of graduate scholars from across the country gathered at Mississippi State for several weeks to gain high-performance computing skills through a summer research experience program.

MSU and the US Department of Agriculture created the MSU/USDA Graduate Summer Research Experience Program for scholars to apply high-performance computing resources to a variety of research projects in multiple agricultural disciplines. The program is sponsored by the Geosystems Research Institute and the university’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Students receive a stipend for the summer, along with tutoring and a customized curriculum based on their personal interests.

Associate Professor Garrett Street of MSU’s Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture is the SRE program mentor and co-investigator for the Advancing Agricultural Research through High-Performance Computing (AAR-HPC) project.

“We recruit impressive master’s and doctoral students to conduct research in areas of interest, while exposing them to new training sessions and ideas,” Street said. “The mentors provide specific training activities, and the mentees will work one-on-one and interact with many researchers from a wide range of fields, interests, experiences and perspectives throughout the program. “

He said the students will learn skills that will help them when they return to their own universities.

“My hope is that the skills we teach the students here will carry them into their future careers, and they can translate what they learn to other students in their labs,” Street said. “We are very fortunate that MSU has this cooperation with the USDA Agricultural Research Service. I hope that we can continue to provide training and research to make students more competitive in the job market.

Rito Medina, a plant science master’s student from California State University, Fresno, praised the dedication of the advisors and program personnel.

“This experience exceeded my expectations. My advisor was helpful and patient while helping me, the professors were welcoming and eager to invest in us, and the program coordinator, Dixie [Cartwright], made it special for all of us,” Medina said. “We were introduced to a program where people invested more than our interests in education and research and provided opportunities to network and build relationships with peers, which helped non-MSU students feel welcome.”

Like Medina, all graduate students are impressed with the comprehensive learning they have received since arriving at MSU and appreciate that the program offers in-depth training for their future careers.

Luke Fuhrer, a doctoral student from the University of Georgia, said the SRE program focuses on the future of agricultural research.

“This program pushes the boundaries of the kinds of problems we can solve by bringing people with different backgrounds and skills together. We can identify problems we didn’t know existed. exists, the understanding that it takes a team to solve it,” Fuhrer said. “For example, the only way we can solve big problems, like feeding nine billion in 2050, is through different teams that there are different approaches and styles that work well together.”

The program, which ends this week, includes the following graduate students:

California State University, Fresno:

—Rito Medina, California, plant science master’s student.

Mississippi State University:

—Ajaya Dahal, Nepal, master’s student in electrical and computer engineering.

—Emma Schultz, Maryland, wildlife, fisheries, and aquaculture doctoral student.

—Eric Fiah, Ghana, computer and information science master student.

—Mirhossein Karimi, Iran, doctoral student in computer science.

—Sabyasachi Biswas, Bangladesh, electrical and computer engineering doctoral student.

University of Georgia:

—Chintan Maniya, India, remote sensing and artificial intelligence doctoral student.

—Luke Fuhrer, South Carolina, crop and soil science doctoral student.

Virginia Tech:

—Dhiraj Srivastava, India, agricultural science and computer science master’s student.

—Xiaoying Li, China, doctoral student in plant breeding and genetics.

In addition to Street, MSU faculty members include Dana Morin of the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture; Joby Czarnecki, Sathish Samiappan and Alessandro Matese, all with the Geosystems Research Institute; John Ball and Ali Gurbuz of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Brian Smith, Leslie Strawderman and Reuben Burch of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering; Mahalingam Ramkumar of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering; and Bindu Nanduri in Comparative Biomedical Sciences at the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Learn more about the MSU/USDA Graduate Summer Research Experience at

MSU is the premier university in Mississippi, available online at

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