Graduate Student Projects

Princess Tiffany Dantes-MendozaPrincess Tiffany Dantes, a second year Ph.D. student in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, is originally from the southern part of the Philippines. She completed her undergraduate and graduate degree at the University of Philippines Los Baños. Her undergrad and master degrees are in Agricultural Engineering, with an emphasis in Agricultural and Bio-Process Engineering.

Tiffany is currently working on two research projects. They are updating guideline methods for Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS), instrument management, calibration, standardization and validation; and calibration and application of near infrared hyperspectral imaging instrument. Hyperspectral imaging provides both spectral and spatial information of the product. It is a promising technique that can be used for grain quality analysis.

When updated, NIR guidelines methods will make it easier to compare results and cite in journals. She is proud of these projects because they will be beneficial to the industry due to the fact that quality is critical for consumers, processors, and sellers of grain.

After graduation, Princess Tiffany Dantes is looking forward to a career working in the grain industry, research, or teaching in the United States before returning home to the Philippines. Her favorite thing about being a Cyclone is the conductive learning environment.

Richa SharmRicha Sharma is a Ph.D. student at Iowa State University studying Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering. Originally from Delhi, India, Richa completed her undergraduate degree at Gobind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture & Technology in Pantnagar, India with a major in Agricultural Engineering. She received a masters in Food Technology & Management at the National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship & Management in Sonepat, Haryana, India.

Richa’s current project is creating standards, protocols, and framework for traceability practices in the grain supply chain. Her goal is to strengthen broken ends of supply chains by introducing standard operating procedures or numerical methodologies.

Richa is proud of her project because of the deep extent she has been able to explore a field with little previous research or literature. Industries have a lot of data; Richa is working to make data more manageable and easier to analyze.

After graduation, she hopes to eventually teach courses in grain handling and traceability. First, however, Richa would like to work in this industry to gain exposure and hands-on experience. Her favorite thing about being a Cyclone is the brightness and friendliness she finds in everyone on campus.

Chad DolphinChad Dolphin, originally from Conrad, Iowa is a Ph.D. student at Iowa State University. He completed both his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Iowa State. He completed his undergraduate degree  in Industrial Technology and received his masters in Industrial & Agricultural Technology.

Chad is currently working on a research project that focuses on determining a percentage for which genetically modified (GM) and non-genetically modified corn can co-exist together. He then will be developing a mathematical model to gauge accuracy of real life operations and their feasibility of meeting that percent.

After graduation, Chad Dolphin is looking forward to buying a dog and continue teaching applied physics



Trevor Stevenson, a second year masters student in Industrial and Agricultural Technology is originally from Wheatland, Iowa. He received his undergraduate degrees in Agricultural Systems Technology and Industrial Technology.

Trevor is currently working on a project that focuses on batch type chamber dryer’s efficiency and the application of automation control on their efficiency. His project is being conducted for the Iowa State University Agriculture Engineering and Agronomy Research Farm, in which researchers utilize the dryer for biomass, grain and other miscellaneous drying purposes.

After Graduation, Trevor Stevenson would like to work in farm equipment research or an extension specialist type position while continuing to assist on his family’s farm and eventually returning full time. His favorite thing about being an Iowa State student is the openness and the ability to communicate with other students focusing on different areas of work.

Benjamin Plumier, an Illinois native is currently a visiting scholar at Iowa State University. Ben received both his undergraduate and masters from the University of Illinois. Both of his degrees are in Agricultural and Biological Engineering, specializing in food and bioprocess engineering. 

Ben is currently working on a grain storage modeling project that uses a finite element model project to make predictions about conditions in a grain silo. These conditions include temperature, moisture content and fumigant concentrations.

Ben is undecided about what his future plans are at this time. 

Bennett Barr, a current masters student in Industrial and Agricultural Technology and Ph.D student in Agricultural Engineering, is originally from Nashville, Tennessee. She completed her undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Mississippi and is currently working on concurrent degrees at Iowa State University.

Bennett is currently working on refining the soybean processing model which was developed by Dr. Hurburgh's past graduate students. She is still shaping her Ph.D project, however it will most likely focus on topics related to supply chain analysis and management of the grain industry.

Bennett is still undecided about post-graduation plans but she is positive about completing work that relates to food security, whether domestic or international, or working for extension. Overall, she wants to work in the agricultural industry because she is passionate about ending world hunger, and knows that grain will play a huge role in that process!