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Scholarship Program


Supporting Academic Achievement

Each year, NPC awards a $10,000 academic scholarship to one graduate-level student conducting research for the benefit of the potato industry. The winner is selected based on a number of criteria, including academic achievement, leadership abilities, potato-related areas of graduate study, benefit to the U.S. potato industry/commercial value, extracurricular activities, and grades. 


Applications for the 2017-18 Academic Scholarship will be accepted through June 16, 2017. Download the application (PDF). For questions, email Hillary Hutchins.


2017-2018 Scholarship winner

The National Potato Council (NPC) announces that Adrienne Gorny, a fourth-year doctoral student in Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology at Cornell University, is the recipient of the 2017-2018 NPC Academic Scholarship. The $10,000 award is provided annually to a graduate student with a strong interest in research that can directly benefit the potato industry. Gorny’s work focuses on the quantitative epidemiology of Northern root-knot and lesion nematodes in potatoes. Her work involves frequent collaboration with New York-based potato growers for on-farm trials and her research is squarely focused on helping the potato industry make informed decisions about nematode control measures. “Growers have the most insight into the problems they face. They provide me with research ideas and I do experiments to test those ideas,” said Gorny.

Gorny wants to quantify yield loss due to nematodes by measuring pre-plant density of the nematode population. “What’s really cool is that I’m measuring the DNA of nematodes in the soil, extracting DNA from soil and measuring bar code regions. It is faster than the traditional method and potentially more accurate” she explained. Ultimately Gorny plans to create a pre-planting soil test, so that growers whose soil is above threshold for the nematodes can take action early and those below the threshold could save money by not taking unnecessary action.

According to Dr. Sarah Pethybridge, the supervisor for Gorny’s graduate studies, “her unique project achievements for the U.S. potato industry will leave her ideally positioned to impact scientific research and support the profitability and productivity of the industry far into the foreseeable future.” In addition to her research, Gorny “goes over and above” in her engagement with the community and the campus. “I anticipate a long, groundbreaking career for Adrienne,” Pethybridge wrote in a recommendation.

“This scholarship will ensure I have the necessary resources to complete each component of my multifaceted Ph.D. project, focusing on predicting yield loss due to root-knot and lesion nematodes by measuring DNA from these pathogens in the soil prior to planting. This generous award will also provide funding to continue presenting my findings at national and regional conferences, enhancing my training as a well-rounded scientist. I am very thankful and humbled that NPC believes this research and my future career will aid the U.S. potato industry,” said Gorny.

Gorny is originally from Canton, Michigan, and has always loved being outside and gardening. She decided to study botany at Purdue University for her undergraduate degree. She is the first in her family to do scientific research. At Cornell she served as vice president of the Student Association of the Geneva Experiment Station last year. After completing her doctoral program, she hopes to find a position at a university with a research/extension component or to work for USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. 

Gorny_tubers_.jpg

Gorny weighs tubers in the soil lab.

Previous Winners:

2017

  1. Adrienne Gorny, Cornell University

2016

  1. Justin Clements, University of Wisconsin-Madison

2015

  1.  Shunping Ding, University of Wisconsin-Madison

 2014         

  1. Washington Luis da Silva, Cornell University

2013 

  1. Rhett Spear, Washington State University

2012 

  1. Michael Hardigan, Michigan State University

2011

  1. Anders Schmidt Huseth, University of Wisconsin-Madison

2010

  1. Yu Chen, University of Wisconsin

2009

  1. Jacob M. Blauer. Washington State University

2008-2009

  1. Leah McCann, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  2. Maria Del Pilar Marquez-Villavicencio, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  3. Jason Cavatorta, Cornell University

2007-2008

  1. Magnifique Nzaramba, Texas A&M University
  2. Daniel Justin Gerhardt, University of Wisconsin-Madison

2006-2007

  1. Per Hilding McCord, North Carolina State University
  2. Sarah Ann Rosenthal, University of Wisconsin-Madison

2005-2006

  1. Lavanya Reddivari, Texas A&M University
  2. Thomas Reed Bowen, University of Idaho

2004-2005

  1. Ioana Dinu, University of Minnesota
  2. Donna Henderson, University of Idaho

2003-2004

  1. Ryon Ottoman, Oregon State University
  2. Jeff Pack, University of Florida

2002-2003

  1. Ryan Hayes, University of Minnesota
  2. Mark Pavek, Washington State University

2001-2002

  1. Anna Hale, Texas A&M University
  2. Megan Carrazana, University of California-Davis

2000-2001

  1. Jane Choi, Washington
  2. Andy Hornbacher, Idaho

1999-2000

  1. Christine Armer, Oregon
  2. Chris Gunter, Wisconsin

1998-1999

  1. Joseph Kuhl, Wisconsin
  2. Silvia Fernandez, Maine