Matthew Liebman

Matt Liebman is a professor of agronomy and the H.A. Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. He received an A.B. in biological sciences from Harvard in 1978 and a Ph.D. in botany from the University of California-Berkeley in 1986. Before joining the ISU faculty in 1998, Matt worked at the University of Maine for 11 years. He became a fellow of the American Society of Agronomy in 2009 and was a member of the National Research Council committee that produced the 2015 report titled “A Framework for Assessing Effects of the Food System.” His research, teaching, and outreach activities focus on ways to improve environmental quality and agricultural productivity while reducing dependence on agrichemicals and fossil fuels. Specific interests include diversified cropping systems, weed ecology and management, and the use of native prairie species for biofuel production and soil, water, and wildlife conservation. 

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Laurie Nowatzke

Laurie is a data analyst for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and ISU’s Extension and Outreach. Her work focuses on assessing Iowa’s progress towards water quality goals and tracking statewide use of water quality improvement practices in agriculture.

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Amy Kaleita

Amy Kaleita is Professor and Associate Chair for Teaching in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State. Holding a teaching and research appointment, Amy Kaleita works in the area of information technologies for precision conservation. Her research program includes design of sensing and monitoring systems for the agricultural fields and watersheds, and the utilization of data from such systems in watershed modeling and decision support. In her spare time, Amy is an avid reader, averaging 40-some books per year for pleasure. 

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Rick Cruse

Rick Cruse is a professor in the Department of Agronomy and director of the Iowa Water Center.  As director, Rick addresses administrative needs of the Center and is responsible for successful Center operations; he has been Director of the Iowa Water Center since 2006.  He served as president of the National Institutes for Water Resources from 2015 – 2016, the professional organization representing the 54 Water Resources Research Institutes across the US and US territories.  Rick co-leads the Daily Erosion Project with his primary research focus of soil erosion and water runoff.  His passion is the out-of-doors and thrives on getting his five grand daughters involved with hunting and fishing.

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Brian Hornbuckle

Brian Hornbuckle is a professor in the Departments of Agronomy, Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Iowa State University.  He is also the Director of Graduate Education for the Agricultural Meteorology Graduate Major, a member of the Environmental Science Graduate Major, and his department’s representative on the Iowa State University Faculty Senate.  He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in environmental physics and conducts research on satellite remote sensing of Earth’s land surface with an emphasis on observing water stored in plants and soil.  Brian has been at Iowa State since 2003.  He earned an ScB in electrical engineering from Brown University, an MA in secondary education from the University of Mississippi, and an MSE and PhD in electrical engineering and atmospheric science from the University of Michigan.  Brian and his wife Jalene live in Nevada, IA, and have three adult children. 

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William Gutowski

Bill Gutowski is a Professor of Meteorology in the Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences at Iowa State University. He does research and teaches on climate change, weather and climate extremes and the impacts of climate change on society, especially water-related impacts. His work has had special focus on changing climate in regions of the world such as Africa, the Arctic and the U.S. Bill received his Ph.D. in Meteorology from M.I.T. in 1984. He has served on national and international programs that have guided the course of climate research worldwide, such as the World Meteorological Organization’s World Climate Research Programme. He has also coauthored reports on climate by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society. Bill enjoys riding his bike and hiking when he can, especially in the hills of western New England, where he grew up. 

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Mahdi Al-Kaisi

Mahdi M. Al-Kaisi is a professor of soil physics (soil management/environment), Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. He received his MS and PhD in soil Physics from North Dakota State University. Professor Al-Kaisi has been on the faculty at Iowa State University since 2000, where his research focuses on the effects of cropping and tillage systems, crop residue management, cover crops, and nitrogen application on soil carbon dynamics and sequestration, greenhouse gas emissions, and other ecosystem services. In addition, he studies the interaction effects of agricultural practices and environmental factors such as, weather variability and landscape spatial variability on soil organic carbon sequestration and systems sustainability and productivity. The focus of his research is to develop sustainable management practices that improve soil health, productivity, and environmental services. As a result of his research, he has developed field calculators to assess soil management practices impacts, such as, tillage systems, crop residue, and crop rotation effects on soil sustainability. Also, he developed soil carbon index for soils in Iowa. Dr. Al-Kaisi is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, the Soil Science Society of American, and Soil and Water Conservation Society.

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J. Gordon Arbuckle

J. Arbuckle is professor and extension rural sociologist at Iowa State University. His research and extension efforts focus on improving the environmental and social performance of agricultural systems. His primary areas of interest are drivers of farmer and agricultural stakeholder action related to soil and water quality. He is director of the Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll, an annual survey of Iowa farmers, and Chair of the ISU Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture.

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Carmen Gomes

Dr. Carmen Gomes is an Associate Professor at Mechanical Engineering and Associate Director of the Virtual Reality Applications Center. Dr. Gomes’s background is in food process engineering. Dr. Gomes’s laboratory focuses on both fundamental and more immediately applied research in functional delivery systems and biosensors in the areas of food safety, shelf-life extension of food products, nutrient bioavailability, and agricultural applications. Dr. Gomes’s overall research emphasis is to design novel nanoscale materials using biopolymers. The study of stimuli-responsive biopolymer nanostructures is of particular interest. These stimuli-responsive nanostructures have been investigated in food safety applications as delivery systems of active compounds and as platforms for foodborne pathogen detection (biosensors). Dr. Gomes enjoys cooking, audible books and practicing yoga on her spare time.

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Omar de Kok-Mercado

Omar de Kok-Mercado is the project coordinator for the Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips (STRIPS) and the Consortium for Cultivating Human and Naturally reGenerative Enterprises (C-CHANGE) at Iowa State University. In his role, he coordinates transdisciplinary research and extension activities on prairie strips and regenerative agriculture communicating their impacts on farm livelihoods, soil, water, and wildlife conservation. Omar holds a BS in Agronomy and an MS in Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry, both from Iowa State University. Most recently, Omar led the STRIPS team in writing a national environmental policy for the Conservation Reserve Program, a federal cost-share program for farmers and landowners.