Agroecology graduate wins first place for outstanding thesis in national competition

Stephany Alvarez-Ventura recently won the Outstanding Thesis in Food and Agricultural Sciences Competition 2013—a national competition held by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE), in partnership with the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. As the winner, she is named a USDA Fellow. The award carries a $3,000 cash prize, and an all-expense paid trip to the AAHHE Summer Career Preparation Institute workshop, held in San Antonio, TX in March, to present her thesis.

Stephany graduated with a master's degree in Environmental Studies from the Earth and Environment Department in December 2011. Her thesis research addressed one of the key emerging issues in agriculture and food security, i.e., colony collapse disorder (CCD) of pollinators. In particular, she investigated the effectiveness of alternative methods of controlling the honeybee parasite, called varroa mite [one of the causes of CCD], at local organic and conventional farms.

Stephany's masters program was supported through a grant from the USDA Hispanic Serving Institutions Higher Education grant to FIU Agroecology Program in 2008. She is currently working as Coordinator of the Agroecology Program at FIU.