Five University of Guelph students who have shown academic excellence and commitment to community engagement have been awarded Arrell Food Institute graduate scholarships worth $50,000 a year.
The scholarships, now in their third year, were created to support research focused on agriculture and food.
Two of this year’s students will study the business and history of food, which means Arrell graduate scholars will now have represented every U of G college.
Sujani Rathnayake will begin a master’s degree with the Department of Integrative Biology to develop portable molecular tools to detect food fraud.
Rathnayake previously studied molecular biology and biotechnology in Sri Lanka, and says she has witnessed the impacts of food fraud issues on consumers and entrepreneurs.
She hopes to research currently untraced food fraud issues and pursue a career as a molecular food authentication expert.
Palash Sanyal will pursue his PhD with the Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics and will examine the impact of conflict on nations striving to reach international sustainability goals.
Sanyal will investigate how conflicts over such issues as natural resources and politics affect food security and the food-water-energy nexus.
Andrew Nixon is the first Arrell Scholar in the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics and will pursue his PhD in the School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management.
He will study how farm businesses can transition from primary processing to creating branded products for international export. He wants to help farmers take advantage of new technologies to improve their sustainability and traceability.
Emily Kaliel will join the Department of History as a PhD student and will focus on federal and provincial nutrition programs in northern Prairie communities.
Kaliel believes in the importance of providing services focused on food security, including scientific understanding of nutrition, recognition of food cultures and access to food.
She hopes to pursue a career in academia and is keen to participate in interdisciplinary opportunities at the University.
Roshan Pudasaini plans to pursue his PhD with the Department of Plant Agriculture. He will study crop rotation to help smallholder farms in subtropical Asia and Africa to increase crop yield and sustainability.
He wants to test the idea of integrating drought-tolerant leguminous cover crops and short-duration cash crops into a conventional crop rotation system. By adding probiotic microbes, he hopes that such systems can increase crop yield, suppress pathogens, and improve soil health and resiliency.