The Soybean Summit, funded by the Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program, gathered growers in Champaign, IL on February 2, 2023, from across the state with the opportunity to gain agronomic information and insights from leading soybean experts across the country.

This year’s Soybean Summit was a “touchdown” event as we hosted our first undergraduate and graduate student research poster competition. The Illinois Soybean Association is proud to support student researchers around the state who are contributing to advancing soybean research while obtaining education and experience essential to the future of the agriculture industry. It was exciting to see the interaction and learning occurring among the students, farmers, and professionals as they chatted about their research and its relevance for growers. We’re looking forward to making the student research poster session an annual component of Soybean Summit!

Over 10 students from Southern Illinois University, Illinois State University, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign participated. See the full list of participants and their projects by clicking here.

 See the list of winners below. Cash awards were presented to first, second, and third place.



Leonardo Rocha – 1st place

Poster Title: Exploring the suppression of soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines Ichinohe) populations by wheat through a multi-omics approach

 About Leo: I grew up in Southeastern Brazil on a small coffee farm, so I have been involved in agriculture for as long as I can remember. I received a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy from Universidade Federal do Espirito Santo and joined SIU as a graduate student in 2017, where I received my Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences (Plant Pathology/Nematology). My research projects are focused on soybean cyst nematode management practices.  I am currently working as a Post-doctoral Researcher at SIU and pursuing academic positions focusing on plant pathology and nematology.


(L-R) Sarah Sellars, Rashmi Dangol, Leonardo Rocha, Oladapo Adeyemi)

Oladapo Adeyemi – 2nd place

Poster Title: Wheat cover crop management impact lingers after corn harvest in a corn-soybean rotation

 About Oladapo: Born and raised in Nigeria. I got my bachelor’s degree in environmental toxicity while I was in Nigeria. I then moved to the U.S. for my graduate studies. I obtained my master’s degree in environmental management. My PhD research work at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL focuses on integrating winter cereal cover crop (wheat and rye) into a corn-soybean rotation system. I investigate the impact the cover crops have on nitrogen dynamics via various termination dates versus removal of the cover crop effect on nitrogen losses and availability during the cash crop growing season.



Rashmi Dangol – tied for 3rd place

Poster Title: Short-Term Impact of Cover Crops on Soybean Yield

About Rashmi: I was born and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal. I have achieved my bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science from Agriculture and Forestry University (Nepal). Currently, I am pursuing a master’s degree in agronomy at Illinois State University and working on an IPREFER project studying cropping systems on pennycress for its commercialization as high yielding winter cash cover crop. After graduation, I would like to pursue my career working in the agriculture industry for research and development activities that would contribute to productivity and sustainability in agriculture.


Sarah Sellars – tied for 3rd place

Poster Title: Cover Crops on Soybean Fields in Illinois: Data from Precision Conservation Management (PCM)

 About Sarah: I am a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying Agricultural and Applied Economics. My advisor is Dr. Gary Schnitkey, and my research interests include farm management, conservation practice adoption, and agricultural policy. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Consumer Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University. My interest in agricultural economics began while growing up on a family grain and livestock farm outside of Winchester, IL.

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About the Author: Jennifer Jones

​As Research Agronomist for the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA), Jennifer Jones works on behalf of Illinois soybean farmers in the development and the implementation of conservation agricultural research and outreach programs. She supports research efforts and helps communicate both in-field and edge-of-field research and validation studies to ISA’s farmer audiences; leads demonstration of conservation agriculture practices; and raises awareness of best management and continuous improvement practices for conservation agriculture in Illinois. Contact Jennifer at

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