Future Research Leaders Graduate

Mike Sserunjogi & Roger Aby

Photo: Mike Sserunjogi

Photo: Roger Aby

One of the Consortium's key goals is to enhance the academic and entrepreneurial capacity of the next generation. Roger Aby and and Mike Sserunjogi are representatives of the next generation of research leaders. Over the summer semester, both Mike and Roger graduated from Iowa State University with Masters degrees and are intent on earning future PhDs. In the long-term, these two are focused on how they can positively impact food and agriculture systems back in their respective home countries of Côte d'Ivoire and Uganda.

Roger Aby grew up in Côte d'Ivoire’s largest city of Abidjan. His focus on food and agriculture was not an aspiration that he had when he was younger, but something he focused on during his university education. As an accomplished student, he was funded by his government to go to university abroad in Moscow, where he studied food processing equipment technologies. After completing his education in Russia, Roger came to Iowa State University and focused on industrial and agricultural technology at Iowa State University under Dr. Dirk E. Maier. Roger’s research at Iowa State University focused on analysis, testing, and modeling of sensor technology used to monitor stored grain. He is especially interested in the efficacy and use of commercial wireless sensor technologies for monitoring. The Youtube video below is a recent presentation from Roger about the application of wireless sensors in stored grain.

Mike Sserunjogi grew up in rural Uganda and his first paycheck came from harvesting coffee that his grandmother grew. Mike seemed to be destined to work in agriculture and food systems. Like Roger, he was an accomplished student and was funded to study agricultural engineering at Makerere University in Uganda. Without the funding, Mike says it would not have been possible for him to go to university. During his time at Makerere, he was introduced to an Iowa State run project in the Kamuli district of Uganda. Ultimately that connection led to Mike’s work with Iowa State’s Uganda program and his recruitment into the graduate program of ISU’s Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. Mike’s major professors are Dr. Carl Bern, Dr. Thomas Brumm and Dr. Dirk E. Maier. His research at Iowa State University has revolved around physical disturbance of insect pests in stored grain, with a focus on the maize weevil. This work is promising because mechanical grain disturbance has the potential to greatly reduce pest infestations without the use of chemical agents. The Youtube video below demonstrates Mike’s research on mechanical stirring’s effect on suppressing maize weevil populations.

Both Roger and Mike aspire to aid in development of their respective countries after they finish their PhDs. With their extensive academic training, we have no doubt they will be successful in their endeavors. They are two excellent examples of the next generation of research leaders and we are looking forward with anticipation to what their future research will bring.