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Biographies

Project Directors

Dr. Merritt Drewery

Dr. Drewery is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural Sciences at Texas State University where she teaches courses focused on Animal Science, Leadership Development, and Research Methodology. She is the Program Director for the 3eX-Ag program.

Dr. Drewery’s personal background makes her passionate about the 3eX-Ag program – she was an economically disadvantaged, first-generation college student who found the higher education landscape difficult to navigate. Although her family was supportive, she needed an academic mentor to maximize her college experience and provide hands-on training that would be attractive to future employers. She was lucky to find that mentor in Dr. Wickersham and, with his support, has developed the 3eX-Ag program to formalize a mentoring structure at Texas State University, ensuring students receive the same level of mentoring and support that was critical in her own professional development.  

Dr. Drewery hopes the 3eX-Ag program equips underrepresented students at Texas State University with credentials and experiences that position them for professional success as they matriculate into the agricultural workforce.

 

Dr. Ryan Anderson

Dr. Ryan Anderson joined the Agricultural Sciences faculty at Texas State University in the fall of 2019 as an assistant professor of Agricultural Education and Mechanics. He holds a B.S. degree in Agricultural Education from Illinois State University, his Master’s degree in Agricultural Science from Texas A&M-Commerce, and a Ph.D. in Career and Technical Education from Virginia Tech. He has held faculty positions at Sauk Valley Community College, Iowa State University, and Murray State University. He regularly teaches agricultural mechanics classes and agricultural education teacher education courses.

Dr. Anderson has co-authored 40 publications in eight scientific journals and has published one textbook. He has presented over 100 research papers and 200 research and innovative posters at national and international research conferences. He is a life member of the North American College Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA), the American Association of Agricultural Education (AAAE), and the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE). He has received several research and teaching awards including the NACTA teaching tip award, NACTA journal article of the year, NACTA Educator award, and ACTE Outstanding Career & Technical Educator award.

Dr. Anderson is excited to be involved in the 3eX-Ag project due to the hands-on nature of the project. He will be collecting data related to the informal teaching and learning opportunities associated with the authentic learning environments being integrated into this project.

Dr. Tryon Wickersham

Dr. Tryon Wickersham and his family, Erin and two daughters, Katherine and Lydia, live on a small Angus Ranch that they run with his parents; near Kurten TX, just east of College Station.

He received a B.S. in Animal Science from Texas A&M University in 1998 and his M.S. & Ph.D. in Ruminant Nutrition from Kansas State University in 2002 and 2006, respectively. He was appointed to an Assistant Professor position in the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University in 2006 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2012.

Dr. Wickersham teaches courses in animal nutrition at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Dr. Wickersham’s excellence in teaching has been recognized by numerous teaching awards; most notably, he received the Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching at the University Level and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean’s Outstanding Achievement Award – Excellence in Teaching, both in 2013. Dr. Wickersham has served on the graduate committees of over 70 graduate students and advised 8 undergraduate thesis projects.

Dr. Wickersham’s research focuses on improving the economic and environmental sustainability of beef cattle production by improving the efficiency of forage utilization and the adoption of coproducts as a feed resource. Recently, he has worked on placing cows in confinement as a means of enhancing the sustainability of beef cattle production and using net protein contribution as a key performance indicator of sustainability. Dr. Wickersham has been a contributor on research grants totaling approximately $4.46 million, since his arrival at Texas A&M. He is a co-author on 50 peer-reviewed publications and 132 abstracts.

Project Evaluator

Dr. Manuel Piña, Jr.

Dr. Manuel Piña, Jr. is an Instructional Associate Professor in the TAMU Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications. He is the External Evaluator of 3eX-Ag and will contribute to publishing education data. Dr. Piña has B.S. degrees in Agricultural Education and Agricultural Journalism, a master’s degree in Education Administration, and a Ph.D. in Adult and Extension Education. He is fluent in English and Spanish and is as an active mentor for SACNAS and MANNRS students. He has extensive experience with projects that serve underrepresented students – in collaboration with two HSIs and one HBCU, he previously provided full funding to 143 underrepresented graduate students over 10 years. Dr. Piña has evaluated more than 20 projects of a similar scope as 3eX-Ag.

Undergraduate Students

Kayra Tasci

Kayra Tasci is from Chuluota, Florida, a small town east of Orlando, where she was raised on a farm. Kayra's family raised sheep and poultry which is where her love for animals comes from. She was involved in 4-H and developed a passion for science and agriculture. 

Kayra is currently in the process of applying to the Texas State Master's program in Integrated Agricultural Sciences. After graduate school, she would like to pursue a Ph.D. in an Animal Science-related field. Kayra's goal is to have a career in research and teach at a university. 

Kayra is passionate about ag education, so when she learned that we would be researching how Covid-19 affected teaching in agricultural sciences, she was immediately very interested. Kayra was also eager to gain research experience and work on her technical writing skills.

Kayra's role in the project is as an undergraduate research assistant. She is currently researching the level of adoption of software and LMS (Learning Management Software) features in the agricultural classroom at the post-secondary level in response to Covid-19. 

Hannah Karl

Hannah Karl is a first-generation college student from The Colony, Texas. She is a senior at Texas State University majoring in Animal Science. She currently works as 3eX-Ag's communications and marketing intern. 

In the future, Hannah would like to attend graduate school in a science-related field, conducting research and publishing scientific articles. She hopes to inspire other women to pursue a future in STEM by setting a leading example. 

Hannah wanted to be involved in this project to gain experience for her future professional career. She also wanted to support Dr. Drewery's research program and make valuable connections with others. 

Hannah has developed and maintained 3e-X Ag's site on the official Texas State website. On a weekly basis, she emails stakeholders and other correspondents in the project. She also writes letters and biographies for members of the program.

Zoe Rowe

Zoe Rowe is an Austinite born and raised and a sophomore at Texas State University. She is currently majoring in Animal Science with a focus on Pre-Veterinary studies and hopes to one day go to veterinary school. She is currently working at a veterinary hospital and enjoys learning about true crime, listening to musicals, and singing. 

Zoe is an undergraduate research assistant currently working on a project about the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on veterinary technicians. She was interested in this project because she hopes to one day be a veterinarian, but she also noticed a lack of literature and knowledge about veterinary technicians, who are a critical role in any veterinary clinic or hospital.

She hopes the project will shine a light on these unsung heroes, veterinary technicians, and essential workers who were unrecognized but played a vital role during the pandemic. 

Emma Kathcart

Emma Kathcart is originally from Southern California, but when she graduated high school she moved to Houston, Texas, and then transferred to Texas State. At the beginning of her college career, Emma wanted to work with horses and be an equine vet but upon sitting in Dr. Drewery's classroom, she discovered her love for cattle nutrition and beef production.

Dr. Drewery employed Emma as an undergraduate research assistant. Over the summer of 2020, Emma conducted research with Dr. Wickersham's team of graduate students at Texas A&M, where she studied Black Soldier Fly Larvae in beef cattle diets. Since then Emma has been writing a thesis on this research project. She will also be assisting in some future research done on this topic.

Emma hopes this project will impact Texas State's agriculture program by making a new name for us in these upcoming publications and with our new ties to Texas A&M, and she also hopes the research we are doing will lead to an increase in sustainable agriculture.

Emma wanted to be involved in the project because she believes in the research Dr. Drewery is doing and wants to learn as much as she can from her. Emma hopes to continue her education by attending graduate school at Texas State.

Gabriela Garza

Gabriela Garza is from a small town called Quemado, which is Southwest of the border to Mexico. She is currently in her second year here at Texas State University and pursuing a degree in General Agriculture with a teaching certificate. 

Her role in this undergraduate research program is to read and learn about the effect that COVID-19 has had on agriculture teachers, including how they are managing these times with different methods of teaching.

Gabriela wanted to be involved in 3eX-Ag because she saw a great opportunity to adopt different and engaging ideas to use in her future classroom. She hopes that this project is able to enhance her own professional skills and also help future generations of students in coping with unprecedented times.

Kenedy Kornegay

Kenedy Kornegay was born and raised in Missouri City, Texas which is Southwest of Houston. She is currently a junior at Texas State University and is pursuing a degree in Agriculture Mechanics with a double minor in Biology and Animal Science. She enjoys all outdoor activities and can mostly be found hiking, on a paddleboard at the river, or rock climbing.

Her role in the undergraduate research program is to acquire information about the effect that COVID-19 has had on agriculture teachers in teaching styles and relationships with their students.

Kenedy wanted to be involved in 3eX-Ag to learn how research works outside the classroom setting and to learn better and new ways to communicate with others. She hopes this project will enhance her professional career and teach her more about the agriculture world outside of the outdoor community of farmers and ranchers. 

Emily Catalan

Emily Catalan was born in Naples, Florida, and moved to Austin 13 years ago. She is a first-generation Hispanic student majoring in Animal Science with a minor in Mass Communication. Currently, Emily is in the process of applying to Texas A&M's graduate program, Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications, where she will focus on International Agricultural Development Education. She hopes to inspire and educate other Hispanic students like herself to succeed in the Agriculture profession as there is a lack of representation. 

Emily's role for the project is Interpretating data of Demographics related to LMS and social media adaptation. She will dive into the demographics from a survey as it relates to the outcome effects of COVID-19 on agriculture teachers.

Emily was intrigued with the focus of the project and wanted to take part in 3eX-Ag to learn more about the effects that COVID-19 had on agriculture teachers. She also loves learning new information and collaborating with different people. She hopes this project will open many doors to her future ambitions and enhance her knowledge and perspective about the agricultural world.

 

Alumni

Mikael Carrasco

Mikael Carrasco is a senior at Texas State University and an Animal Science major. She is a full-time student, part-time student research assistant, and a part-time veterinary technician.

In the future, Mikael would like to attend graduate school, veterinary school, or both, in hopes of continuing to work with animals in some way, shape, or form.

Mikael wanted to be involved in this project because she enjoyed Dr. Drewery as a professor and thought it would be an opportunity to participate in any kind of research with her would be a great learning opportunity. She was also excited to work on something she considers valuable.

Mikael served as an undergraduate research assistant. Her involvement in this project changed throughout the entire process. In the beginning, her job was to collect faculty information from colleges and universities in the southern United States. Once that was finished Kayra Tasci and Mikael sent out a survey and waited for the results. Her final job was to construct a journal entry regarding the adoption of social media in the agricultural classroom at the post-secondary level in response to COVID-19.