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WSU Graduate Students Chosen as Scholarship Recipients for International Agriculture Award

PULLMAN, Wash.—Washington State University graduate students Yongjian Qiu and Christie Almeyda-Becerra have been named recipients of a scholarship sponsored by the Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development.

The AIARD scholarship program provides partial financial support to students attending this week’s AIARD Annual Conference and Future Leaders Forum in Washington, D.C. Awarded to students with an interest in international agriculture and rural development issues and their solutions, the scholarship covers conference participation, an annual membership fee, lodging and visits to such agencies as USAID, USDA, World Bank, Peace Corps and more. Qiu and Almeyda-Becerra were among 12 graduate students chosen from nearly 100 applicants across the United States.

Qiu’s research centers on calcium/calmodulin-binding proteins and their functions in plant-environment interactions, directed by Regents Professor Joe Poovaiah of WSU’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. A native of Jiujiang, Jiangxi Province, China, Qiu received his undergraduate degree from the University of Science and Technology of China. During the last two years of his undergraduate studies, he worked as an undergraduate research assistant in USTC’s Plant Molecular Biology Lab. His research focused on functional studies of important genes related to plant salt and oxidative tolerance.

Almeyda-Becerra’s research focus is on plant pararetroviruses associated with dahlia (Dahlia spp.), directed by Hanu Pappu, professor and chair of WSU’s Department of Plant Pathology. A native of Lima, Peru, Almeyda-Becerra received her bachelor of science in biology from the National Agrarian University-La Molina. She did her undergraduate research at the International Potato Center in Lima, where she studied the molecular detection of a sweet potato virus. Almeyda-Becerra obtained her master of science from the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, researching the characterization and identification of two previously undescribed viruses occurring in greenhouse tomato and ornamental flowering maple.