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Mason Pharr Symposium: Growing for the Future

Research lettuce planted in Kinston greenhouse. PHOTO BY ROGER WINSTEAD

Join the Horticultural Sciences Graduate Student Association on Friday, February 23 for the 2024 Mason Pharr Symposium, with sessions covering climate change, food security and access, artificial intelligence, big data, controlled environment agriculture, robotics, and pollinator health. This year’s theme is Growing for the Future: Emerging Issues in Plant Science, Agriculture, and Horticulture Worldwide.

The event will be held in Kilgore Hall from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM. Participants can attend as many or as few sessions as interest them. In addition to research talks, the symposium will include a student poster competition (First prize – $200; Second prize – $100; Third prize – $50) and a career panel with Horticultural Sciences alums Luke Owen (extension agent at NC Cooperative Extension), Dana Massey (president at Plantworks Nursery), Lauren Redpath (Pairwise), and Lauren Kilpatrick (technical lead at Syngenta Flowers). Breakfast and lunch will be catered.

  • Title: Growing for the Future: Emerging Issues in Plant Science, Agriculture, and Horticulture Worldwide
  • Date: Friday, February 23, 2024
  • Time: 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM
  • Location: Kilgore Hall Room 159 (presentations) and Kilgore Hall Room 121 (coffee, food, and posters)

Nearby hourly parking is available at the Dan Allen Parking Deck at 110 Dan Allen Dr, Raleigh, NC 27607.

All NC State students, staff, and faculty are welcome to attend, so please spread the word!

See more details and register here: 


All sessions are held in Kilgore Hall at North Carolina State University, 2721 Founders Dr, Raleigh, NC 27607. 

TimeWhat’s HappeningLocation
8:30 AM to 9:00 AMCoffee and light breakfastRoom 121
9:00 AM to 9:15 AMIntroductory remarks; introduce scavenger huntRoom 159
9:15 AM to 9:45 AMGuest speaker: Nick Genty, artificial intelligence in controlled environment agricultureRoom 159
9:45 AM to 10:15 AMHannah Levenson, the effects of global pollinator declines and mitigation Room 159
10:15 AM to 10:30 AMCoffee breakRoom 121
10:30 AM to 11:30 AMStudent poster presentationsRoom 121
11:30 AM to noonGuest speaker: Chris Reberg-Horton, climate change + robotics + AI in the fieldRoom 159
Noon to 1 PMLunchRoom 121
1 PM to 1:15 PMAnnounce poster session and scavenger hunt winnersRoom 159
1:15 PM to 1:45 PMAnders Huseth, on-farm sensors and pest control Room 159
1:45 PM to 2:15 PMBevelyn Ukah, equity in food systemsRoom 159
2:15 PM to 3 PMAlumni career panelRoom 159
3 PM to 3:30 PMWrap-up exerciseRoom 159


Nick Genty

Nick Genty is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of AGEYE. Their innovative platform, Digital Cultivation, harnesses the power of intelligent analytics, robotics, and automation to transform indoor farming. AGEYE provides farmers with a streamlined system that enhances profitability, efficiency, and crop quality, thereby increasing the availability of locally-sourced food.

Hannah Levenson

Hannah Levenson is an NC State postdoc in Entomology and Plant Pathology and a community ecologist interested in investigating how humans impact the environment and exploring ways to mitigate those impacts. She uses pollinators in agricultural settings with concepts of integrated pest and pollinator management as tools to research these interactions.

Chris Reberg-Horton

Chris Reberg-Horton is an NC State professor in Crop and Soil Sciences. His research teams are at the forefront of addressing climate change by implementing the evolving capacities of artificial intelligence (AI) into farm management.

Anders Huseth

Anders Huseth is an NC State associate professor in Entomology and Plant Pathology. His research delves into robotics, on-farm measurements, manipulative experiments, geospatial science, and statistical approaches to understand pest issues in an array of agricultural crops and production systems.

Bevelyn Ukah

Bevelyn Ukah is the director of the Committee on Racial Equity in the Food System (CORE) for the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) where she advances CEFS’ racial equity goals and evaluates the impacts of these initiatives.