Julia Wins 1st Place at the GRS in the PhD Proposal Category

March 28, 2024
Julia smiling in front of a bright red wall

Congratulations to Julia Ajello for taking home 1st place in the PhD Proposal Category at the Graduate Research Symposium. The Graduate Research Symposium is an annual event hosted by the HCS Graduate Student Association that provides HCS students and faculty from both our Wooster and Columbus campuses to come together to share their research!

Julia is currently pursuing her PhD degree under the advisement of Dr. David Francis. In her words "my research is focused on developing strawberries with premium flavor grown specifically in controlled environment agriculture settings. I will be growing many different varieties of strawberries and developing genetic markers for traits related to flavor, fruit quality and production. Using that data as well as chemical analysis data related to flavor that another group is working on, we will develop and conduct crosses so we can (hopefully) breed new strawberries with premium flavor that will grow well in controlled environment agriculture systems." 

We're thrilled to have Julia in our department and fortunately she had a few moments to shed some further insight into her experiences at the 2024 Graduate Research Symposium...


I was really excited and honored that I won! There were so many amazing presentations that it was honestly a bit of a shock that I won in my category, but it felt good to share my project and hear some interesting questions and responses.  


This was my first GRS and honestly, my first symposium of any kind! It was such a blast and I had a great time! Getting to see so many students’ presentations was a great way to see what my colleagues have been up to as well as sharing what I have been doing. That was definitely one of my favorite parts of the symposium, but I also just liked to be able to hang with my friends for those two days and take part in the social.  

Julia smiling and holding her award in a group of smiling grad students


Currently, my research is going okay. I have been harvesting my strawberries and collecting a lot of data so I am looking forward to analyzing my data so I can start to see some results. I am still in the early stages of my project, but by doing the symposium and working on my presentation, I feel like I have a better idea of where my project is going, and I am excited to really dive deep in it!

Eager for more news from our 2024 Graduate Research Symposium? You're in luck - check out all the articles here.