Jessica Castellanos Labarcena awarded prestigious Arrell Scholarships

Posted on Wednesday, June 17th, 2020

Photo of Jessica Castellanos Labarcena


Six new scholars awarded Arrell Scholarships

Six new scholars have earned the prestigious Arrell Scholarships this year, representing a range of agri-food expertise. The Arrell Scholars program provides $50,000 per year  to graduate students who demonstrate academic excellence as well as an effort to build a healthier, more sustainable and more just food system. As part of the scholarship each student will participate in an applied learning program where they will hone valuable leadership skills and build stronger networks in the agri-food sector.

Jessica will be completing her Ph.D. in the Integrative Biology Department under the supervision of Dr. Sarah Adamowicz and her research is focused on studying the distribution of insects in agri-food landscapes using bioinformatic tools. Jessica completed a BSc with Honours in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Havana, Cuba.  “Coming from a third-world country where sustainable agricultural practices and food security are only dreams, I am committed to contributing to a future of sustainability and innovative agri-food systems for Canada and the rest of the world.” Jessica is interested in the conservation of insect biodiversity to help promote insect-provided ecosystem services, which are key for the sustainability of modern food production. “I am interested in studying how changes in agricultural landscapes are influencing the biodiversity of insects in Ontario, as well as the impact of management strategies in the maintenance of the agroecosystems’ health using bioinformatic tools,” Jessica says.  “These methods allow us to attain a deeper understanding of the interactions between agricultural management models and the diversity and composition of insect communities.” She previously received the governmental scholarship, ELAP (Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program) and completed a research stay at the Ecological and Conservation Genomics Lab at the University of British Columbia. Jessica worked on Conservation Genomics of Endangered Species projects as a Research Assistant before coming to Guelph, a nationally renowned program in both plant and animal sciences.

To read more about the rest of the winners, you can find the full article here.

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