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INTAD Celebrates First Graduates

Posted: September 20, 2013

In the Spring 2013, INTAD proudly celebrated two of its first graduate students, Anna Testen and Brad Olsen.
Anna Testen and Brad Olsen

Anna Testen and Brad Olsen

Anna Testen, of St. Paul, MN, and Brad Olson, of Telford, PA, graduated from the INTAD program in December 2012. Testen received her primary master's degree in Plant Pathology. Olson received a primary master's degree in Agricultural and Extension Education.

Testen earned an undergraduate degree in microbiology and horticulture from the University of Minnesota. In her master's research at Penn State, she studied the possibilities of using bacteria to promote growth and reduce disease in quinoa, an Andean seed crop.

She also developed methods to detect a key pathogen in quinoa seeds that causes a disease called quinoa downy mildew.

"These detection methods can be used to screen seeds for the pathogen and are the first step to creating pathogen-free seed, which can reduce disease and improve yield," she said. "My research gave me the chance to travel to Ecuador and Bolivia to meet with collaborators and conduct studies."

Olson also had opportunities to conduct research abroad during his involvement in the INTAD program.

In 2011, he spent three weeks in South Africa looking at the relationships between emerging farmers and South African extension programs, and he lived for seven weeks in central Kenya, studying community-based natural-resource management. In 2012, he traveled to Moscow to investigate Russia's rural agricultural development.

"The faculty, staff and key partners of the INTAD program afforded me opportunities that I would not have had in my primary program alone," Olson said. "The program is attracting students to graduate programs within the College of Agricultural Sciences, so that they, too, may earn a dual-title degree in a field of ever-growing importance."

Congratulations to Anna and Brad!