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Cornell University

Tata-Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Nutrition

Two TCI Scholars Receive Degrees

Whitman Barret, Prabhu Pingali, and Vanisha Sharma wearing academic regalia.

Two TCI scholars received their degrees during commencement ceremonies at Cornell University on Saturday, May 25.

Vanisha Sharma received her PhD in applied economics and management from the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. Whitman Barrett received his MS in soil and crop sciences from the School of Integrative Plant Science.

Sharma’s doctoral research examined the impact of the mobile messaging app WhatsApp on the uptake of agricultural technology among smallholder farmers in India. Following graduation, she will be taking a position as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington, where she will research climate adaptation strategies in South Asia.

Vidya Rajkumar and Prabhu Pingali

TCI alumna Vidya Bharathi Rajkumar with Director Prabhu Pingali. (Photo by Dan Verderosa/TCI)

Barrett’s research focused on the use of human-excreta-derived soil amendments among Indian smallholder farmers. He plans to pursue a career in agricultural extension, helping farmers with soil management and climate adaptation. This summer, he will work on an organic farm in Oregon as part of the Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms Future Farmers Program.

A third TCI scholar was also recognized during the commencement ceremonies, even though she earned her degree three years ago. Alumna Vidya Bharathi Rajkumar received her PhD in applied economics and management in 2021 but was unable to attend that year’s commencement. With her attendance this year, TCI was finally able to celebrate her graduation in person.

Featured image: Whitman Barrett and Vanisha Sharma with TCI Director Prabhu Pingali. (Photo by Dan Verderosa/TCI)