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Awards and Honors

Graduate Students Win “Sweet” Awards at National Sweetpotato Meeting


The National Sweetpotato Collaborators Group, the only national platform to focus solely on sweetpotato-based research and extension activities, has met annually since 1939 to discuss and share research-based information about sweetpotato production and distribution. North Carolina State University’s participation has proven to be a vital part of the collaborative effort through high-quality research from our faculty, staff and students.

The Jan. 20-21, 2023 meeting in Wilmington, North Carolina, was an excellent opportunity for graduate students to present their new and innovative research. The format promotes the exchange of information and ideas to improve current and future research.

This graduate research competition addressed challenges in sweetpotato physiology, plant breeding, molecular biology, pathology, entomology, cultural practices, food science and marketing.

Meet this year’s NC State winners.

M.S. Competition

1st Place:  Jack Mascarenhas

Effects of Root and Slip Fungicide Applications on Sweetpotato Southern Blight and Pesticide Residue Levels Postharvest.  1Jack Mascarenhas, 1Hunter Collins, and 1Lina Quesada-Ocampo1 Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695.

2nd Place:  Stuart Michel

Curing Duration and Temperature Effects on Covington Sweetpotato Over Time and Environmental Conditions of International Sweetpotato Shipments.  Stuart Michel1, Jonathan Schultheis1, Keith D. Starke1, and Lina Quesada-Ocampo21Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA.  2Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology and NC Plant Science Initiative, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA.

Ph.D. Competition

2nd Place:  Keith Starke

Effect of Flumioxazin and S-metolachlor on Covington Sweetpotato Planted Vertically or Horizontally. Keith D. Starke1, Katherine M. Jennings2, David W. Monks2, Jonathan R. Schultheis2, Colton Blankenship2, and Stephen J. Ippolito2.1North Carolina State University Central Crops Research Station Clayton, NC 27520. 2Horticultural Science Department, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695.   

3rd Place:  Modesta Abugu

The Sweet Scents of Sweetpotato: Identification of Volatile Compounds Predicting Unique Flavors.  Modesta N. Abugu*1, Suzanne Johanningsmeier2, Mariam Nakitto3, Matthew Allan2, Kenneth V. Pecota1, Massimo Iorizzo1,4, G. Craig Yencho11Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA.   2USDA_ARS, Southeast Area Food Science and Market Quality and Handling Research Unit, Raleigh NC, 27695 USA.  3International Potato Center (CIP-SSA), Plot 47 Ntinda II Road, PO Box 22247, Kampala, Uganda.  4Plants for Human Health Institute, Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Kannapolis, North Carolina, USA.

Do you see yourself as a sweetpotato researcher or grower?

Sweetpotatoes and horticultural science include many diverse fields for success. Are you interested in crop production, plant diseases, pest and disease management or plant breeding? Explore the Horticultural Science graduate programs.