CHAMPAIGN, ILL. – MARCH 1, 2024 – Thirteen enterprising graduate students researching soybean topics at universities across Illinois exhibited their innovative projects during the Illinois Soybean Association’s recent Soybean Summit. As part of the ISA’s second annual Student Research Poster Competition, the students highlighted their agronomic findings to an audience of farmers and other agricultural professionals.

The competition featured the graduate students presenting posters on diverse topics related to soybeans, ranging from nitrogen management in winter wheat double crops to the impact of crop rotations on productivity and environmental sustainability. Three winners were selected among the 13 graduate students who showcased their expertise and research contributions to the soybean industry.

(L-R) Heidi Allen Asensio, Darby Danzl, Danillo Leite

Heidi Allen Asensio, a PhD student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign studying under Dr. Andrew Margenot, earned first place in the competition for her research, “Towards sustainable soybeans: A yearlong assessment of soil health, water quality and climate footprint of Illinois soybeans.”  Claiming second place was Danillo Leite, a PhD student at Southern Illinois University studying under Dr. Ahmad Fakhoury, for his work, “Stem diseases of soybeans: Identifying the prevalent causing pathogens across Illinois.” Darby Danzl, an MS student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign studying under Dr. Fred Below, clinched third place for her study, “Managing decomposition of cereal rye residues in no-till soybeans for timely nutrient release.”

Other student-presented research topics included:

  • Does nitrogen management in winter wheat affect its yield and nitrate-n leaching in a wheat-soybean double cropping system? – Oluwaseun Ola, PhD student at Southern Illinois University under Dr. Amir Sadeghpour
  • Soybean performance and soil nitrous oxide emissions after six and eight years of tillage and cover cropping – Folahanmi Adeyemi, PhD student at Southern Illinois University under Dr. Amir Sadeghpour
  • Assessing fall applied phosphorus sources and wheat cover crop on the following soybean performance – Moein Javid, MS student at Southern Illinois University under Dr. Amir Sadeghpour
  • Does a long-term no-till in corn-soybean rotation decrease nitrous oxide emissions in Southern Illinois? – Sowmya Koduru, PhD student at Southern Illinois University under Dr. Amir Sadeghpour
  • Palmer amaranth: discovering weaknesses of seedlings for management in soybean fields – Cimmy Nakum, MS student at University of Illinois Chicago under Dr. Kate Warpeha
  • Impact of pennycress in different Illinois crop rotation systems on soybean yield – Rashmi Dangol, MS student at Illinois State University under Dr. Nicholas Heller
  • Detection of soybean SCN infection using multi-scale remote sensing – Yuhua Wang, MS student at Southern Illinois University under Dr. Ruopu Li
  • Liposomal encapsulation of trichoderma cell-free filtrate and its antifungal activity against Fusarium virguliforme – Jonna Atienza-Parcon, PhD student at Southern Illinois University under Dr. Ahmad Fakhoury
  • Soybean planting date impacts the response to agronomic management – Miranda Ochs, MS student at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign under Dr. Fred Below
  • Assessing the impacts of crop rotations on crop productivity and environmental sustainability in the U.S. Midwest – Ziyi Li, PhD student at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign under Dr. Kaiyu Guan

The students engaged with farmers and agricultural professionals throughout the exhibit, sharing insights and fielding questions about their research and how it bridged the intersection between scientific inquiry and its practical application at the farm level.

University of Illinois graduate student, Darby Danzl, said, “Being able to share my research with everyone at the event was an amazing experience. Typically, the scientific conferences I present posters at do not have any farmers in attendance, so the Soybean Summit provided a unique opportunity for me to share our findings with them. As a researcher, nothing is more rewarding than having a positive impact on farming operations, as this is our goal when we design these studies.”

The event reinforced the Illinois Soybean Association’s commitment to supporting students pursuing careers in agriculture.

“We truly value the opportunity to support students, especially those pursuing careers in agriculture,” said ISA Research Agronomist Jennifer Jones. “The Student Research Poster Competition allows farmers to learn about new and emerging science that could influence their operations in the future. It’s a win-win for all involved.”

The Illinois Soybean Association invites interested graduate students to participate in future Soybean Summit events. For more information about the Student Research Poster Competition and to explore the full range of soybean research conducted with ISA support, visit


The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and government relations efforts, while the membership program, Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) and the Illinois Soybean Growers PAC actively advocates for positive and impactful legislation for farmers at local, state and national levels. ISA upholds the interests of Illinois soybean farmers through promotion, advocacy, research and education with the vision of becoming a trusted partner of Illinois soybean farmers to ensure their profitability now and for future generations.

Published On: March 4, 2024Categories: Latest News, Press ReleasesTags: ,

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