Jennie Wagner


Jennie is a Ph.D. student in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences working with Drs. Megan O’Rourke and Ben Tracy.  She is broadly interested in sustainable agriculture and agroecology and is currently studying how plant biodiversity in pasture systems affects ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling, forage quality, and pollination.

Jennie grew up on a small, sustainable farm in rural North Carolina and graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Plant and Soil Science – Agroecology from North Carolina State University in 2017. Growing up on a small, diverse farm led to Jennie’s interests in organic and sustainable agricultural production.

As an undergraduate, she worked on organic farms to gain practical production experience.  She also was co-manager of NC State’s Campus Farmers’ Market and was twice awarded California Certified Organic Farmers’ Future Organic Farmer Grant for students pursuing a career in organic agriculture. After graduating, Jennie completed an apprenticeship with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems at NC State University and gained insight into sustainable agriculture research.  She then realized her interest in research and decided to pursue a graduate degree.  She joined the O’Rourke lab in January 2018.

During her time in the IGC, Jennie hopes to learn how to better communicate science to a general audience.  She wants to be able to effectively communicate her research to farmers and consumers alike because food and agriculture affect everyone and are a critical part of the discussion around climate change and population growth.