CFAES faculty named 2024-25 Fulbright Scholars

From left to right: Jonathan Jacobs, Scott Demyan, Mary Rodriguez, Jeffrey Jacquet. Photo: CFAES.

COLUMBUS, Ohio—Four faculty in The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) have been named 2024-25 Fulbright Scholars and will conduct research projects in Thailand, Uruguay, Australia, and Canada.

Jeffrey Jacquet and Scott Demyan, both associate professors in the School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR), will travel to Australia and Thailand, respectively. Jonathan Jacobs, associate professor in the Department of Plant Pathology, will conduct research in Uruguay. Mary Rodriguez, associate professor, will conduct research in Canada.

Jacquet, associate professor of rural sociology, will travel to Curtin University in Australia in 2025 to work on the project titled “Comparing Impacts From the Energy Transition on Energy and Mining Regions.”

The project involves a comparative case study analysis of the impacts of the energy transition on three Australian mining regions, as well as a comparative analysis between Australian and U. S. energy transitions.

“I have been performing research on the coal transition in Ohio and the U.S., and this offers a natural opportunity to build upon and extend this previous research in new contexts,” Jacquet said. “The Australian Fulbright is incredibly congruent with a number of my ongoing activities, including an Australian workshop in May 2024 and my work with Australian colleagues on a global coal transitions conference that we are hosting in Columbus in July.” 

Jacobs, associate professor of emerging infectious disease ecology, has been awarded a Fulbright to Uruguay for the project titled “Investigating Emerging and Ongoing Threats to U.S. and Uruguay Cereal Production.”

He will be associated with the National Institute of Agricultural Research (INIA) and working at two locations in 2024 and 2025: first, at the INIA La Estanzuela Experimental Station and then, at the University of the Republic in Montevideo.

“Pathogenic microorganisms cause diseases of humans, animals, and plants,” Jacobs said. “We will work together to provide solutions to producers to manage and control bacterial wheat and barley pathogens that limit cereal production.” 

Fluent in Spanish, Jacobs will engage with local Uruguayan farmers to inform them about wheat diseases and to train students at Udelar. His long-term goal is to develop an international-based course to bring Ohio State students to Uruguay to survey agricultural production. Jacobs is also interested in creating opportunities for student research exchange between the universities.

Demyan, associate professor of soil and environmental mineralogy, will conduct his research in Thailand. His research interests include soil organic matter characterization and modeling, soil organo-mineral interactions, pedogenesis in drastically disturbed soils, and new method development related to mid-infrared spectroscopy for soil applications.

“I will research the use of infrared spectroscopy for characterizing both potential biochar feedstocks and biochar quality for targeted soil ecosystem services,” Demyan said. “Using crop residues as a readily available source for biochar is a possibility to increase soil carbon.”

Rodriguez, associate professor of community leadership in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL), has been named the Fulbright Canada Research chair in Agricultural, Life, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Alberta, 2024-25, where she will conduct her research titled “Enhancing Household and Community Resilience — Advancing Efforts for Sustainable Agri-Food Systems.”

She will investigate the role of household and community resilience in creating a more sustainable agri-food system, which is defined as being profitable throughout (economic sustainability); has broad-based benefits for society (social sustainability); and has a positive or neutral impact on the natural environment (environmental sustainability).

“I am passionate about creating a more sustainable food system and improving the livelihoods of our most vulnerable groups,” Rodriguez said. “COVID-19 really showed us how delicate the food system can be, and it exacerbated already existing deep inequalities for our most vulnerable community members.” 

“However, not only did this affect consumers, it also greatly affected farmers all over the world. I hope that learning more about resilience along the food system will help us see how to better support and strengthen households and communities, ultimately leading to a more sustainable agri-food system.”

The Fulbright Program is directed by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The international academic exchange program was founded in 1946 to increase mutual understanding and to support friendly and peaceful relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Today, the U.S. government oversees fellowships and scholarships in partnership with more than 160 countries worldwide.

Ohio State was one of 12 institutions recognized for having the highest number of accepted applicants to the Fulbright U.S. Student and Fulbright U.S. Scholar programs from 2023-24.

CFAES News Team
For more information, contact: 

Joanna Kukielka-Blaser
Program Director, Fulbright Scholar Program