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Innovation Through Technology

Alexander Leonessa (PI)

Associate Professor - Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech

Dr. Alexander Leonessa has more than 15 years of experience working in the area of control systems with applications to autonomous systems. Particular applications include the design and control of mobile robots (ground, air, and water) as well as humanoid robots including self-balancing exoskeletons for providing mobility to patients with lower limbs paralysis. His expertise with the design, configurability, and control of robotic systems will bring a technology-inspired component to the RCN for the purpose of assessing and evaluating existing technology, as well as the need for future technology to the farming community.

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David Lamb

McClymont Distinguished Professor - School of Science and Technology, University of New England, Australia

Dr. David Lamb is a physicist who has worked in the area of ‘Precision Agriculture’ (PA) for over 23 years. In 2002, he established the University of New England’s Precision Agriculture Research Group (UNEPARG). David is also a Science Director with the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRCSI) and a member of the National Positioning Infrastructure Advisory Board.

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Daniel R. Ess

Associate Professor - Agricultural & Biological Engineering, Purdue University

Dr. Daniel Ess' past and current research includes projects in the energetics of low-input corn production, the effects of crop roots and residues on machine-soil interaction, low-ground-pressure in-field transport systems and precision land application of animal manure. He focuses on the development and evaluation of information-intensive, precision agricultural management systems.

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Human Factors

Human Factors; Health and Safety

Divya Srinivasan (PI)

Assistant Professor - Industrial and Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech

Dr. Divya Srinivasan has been leading and conducting research in the topics of Human Factors, Occupational Biomechanics, and Health & Safety for more than 10 years. Her current work spans across several domains of work health and safety including basic biomechanical investigations of neck-shoulder, low-back and lower-limb osteo-arthritic impairments on movement control, muscle loading and performance, innovative design and evaluation of workplace interventions to improve health and safety of office workers, bio-behavioral monitoring of autistic children using wearable technology, and human factors assessments of flexible robotic suits for farmers with mobility impairments.

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Maury Nussbaum

HG Prillaman Professor - Industrial and Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech

Dr. Maury Nussbaum's research covers a variety of areas within the fields of biomechanics, work physiology, and
ergonomics. He has led recent research projects that have sought to jointly optimize working conditions (in construction) in terms of worker performance and injury risks, assessed research needs in the local agricultural sector, examined health risks among migrant farmworkers, and quantified the potential benefits of industrial

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Thomas A. Arcury

Professor of Family Medicine, Wake Forest University

Dr. Thomas A. Arcury's research has focused on the health and safety of farmers, migrant and seasonal farmworkers, and poultry processing workers, as well as numerous occupational safety education programs.

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Sara Quandt

Professor of Epidemiology and Prevention, Wake Forest University

Dr. Sara Quandt's research has focused on the health and safety of farmers, migrant and seasonal farmworkers, and poultry processing workers, as well as numerous occupational safety education programs.

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Catherine Trask

Associate Professor - Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture, University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Dr. Catherine Trask's research spans ergonomics, musculoskeletal injury surveillance, exposure assessment and sampling strategies, as well as evaluation of workplace interventions. As Director of the National Agricultural Industrial Hygiene Laboratory's Ergonomics Lab, she leads injury prevention projects in several industries, with particular focus on agricultural environments such as grain farming and intensive animal production.

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Community Development

Farming Systems Community Development

Kim Niewolny (PI)

Associate Professor - Community Education and Development, Virginia Tech

Dr. Niewolny’s scholarship broadly centers on the role of power and equity in community education and development with a focus on social justice and food systems. Her research and outreach expertise addresses the role of community-university partnerships, community-based participatory research, capacity building, systems-level network development, cultural community development, and participatory approaches to adult and community-based education from a food and farming systems perspective

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William Crutchfield

Director - Small Farm Outreach and Technology Assistance Program, Virginia State University

Mr. William Crutchfield has over three decades of farmer outreach and development practice experience at the federal and statelevel, leading the region in scale-appropriate technology applications and farmer-based research-to-practice programming.

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Systems Engineering

Systems Engineering Perspectives

Konstantinos (Kostas) Triantis

John Lawrence Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, Virginia Tech

Dr. Triantis' research has focused on performance measurement and evaluation, fuzzy methods for data envelopment analysis, dynamic efficiency analysis, and affordability engineering, and performance evaluation of civil infrastructure systems, as well as social service and manufacturing enterprises. His current research interests focus on the integration of inductive methods and data (focus groups and surveys) into analytical models of performance measurement for the design of socio-technical systems.

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Warren Vaneman

Professor of Practice - Systems Engineering, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey CA

Dr. Warren Vaneman's primary research interests are System of Systems Engineering and Integration, and Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE). During the last five years he has conducted the following research for the U.S. Navy: Defined the Information Technology Technical Authority concept; Developed the first integrated undersea architecture; and is continuing to develop a true MBSE environment for all systems engineering activities.

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Donald Kerr

Associate Professor - Information Systems, University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia

Dr. Donald Kerr's research areas include intelligent decision support systems development, implementation and evaluation, primarily in the health informatics domain. He also has research interests in enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementations and is specifically interested in workarounds within the ERP environment and their effect on decision making.

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STEM Integration

STEM Integration in Agriculture

Hui Hui Wang

Assistant Professor - Youth Development and Agricultural Education, Purdue University

Dr. Hui Hui Wang's research focuses on STEM integration, inquiry-based instruction, and experiential learning
in science and agricultural education that across both formal and non-formal settings, with specific interest
in the cognitive bases of STEM learning and building a sustainable STEM learning model for both youth and adults that goes across schools, families and communities.

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Sue Gregory

Associate Professor and Chair of Research - School of Education, University of New England, Australia

Dr. Sue Gregory lectures in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Education. She is a long-term adult educator and teaches pre-service and post-graduate education students how to incorporate technology into their teaching. Dr. Gregory is the lead of the SmartFarm Learning Hub project and will be a member of the STEM Education component of the RCN.

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Hannah Scherer

Associate Professor and Extension Specialist - Agricultural Leadership and Community Education, Virginia Tech

Dr. Hannah Scherer has science teaching experience at both the secondary and postsecondary levels, and has research expertise in development of systems thinking abilities and assessment of learning outcomes in formal and non-formal STEM educational programs.

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Sustainability Engineering

Nicholas M. Holden

Professor of Biosystems Engineering and Head of Agricultural Systems Technology, University College Dublin, Ireland

Dr. Nick Holden's research addresses the impact of agriculture and food systems using soil science, system modelling and life cycle assessment (LCA). His research is moving towards developing a holistic view of sustainability of the food chain and the associated bioeconomy having been initially focused on commodity production up to the farm gate.

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Thomas Seager

Associate Professor - School of Sustainable Engineering & the Built Environment, Arizona State University

Dr. Thomas Seager leads cross-disciplinary teams at the Arizona State University, working at the boundaries of engineering and social science to understand resilient infrastructure systems, the life-cycle environmental consequences of emerging energy technologies, novel approaches to teamwork and communication in science, and engineering ethics education.

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Ralph Hall

Associate Professor - School of Public and International Affairs, Virginia Tech

Dr. Ralph Hall has over a decade of academic and professional experience in applying the concept of sustainable
development to infrastructure systems with a specific emphasis on transportation, water supply, and
sanitation systems. He is currently undertaking new research in Malawi related to water innovations
at the nexus of food, energy, and water systems

Personal Website>>

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