Welcome to the ELAI Lab

Welcome to the ELAI (Experiential Learning for Agricultural Innovation) Lab!

We study ways to intensify and optimize agronomic systems with the goal of making Midwestern agriculture more environmentally, economically,  and socially sustainable. Most of our work involves the use of winter annual cover crops (i.e, pennycress and winter camelina) and forage crops. 


Curriculum vitae

Trans Advisory & Action Team (TAAT)

Course Site (Canvas):

AGRO-5121: Applied Exp. Design (Stats) 

CFAN 3091V: The Honors Thesis—Writing

ISPURE-2023:  Scholarship & Storytelling

About Dr. Samantha Wells, PI| she/her/hers

After leaving the farm in Western NC, I earned a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of North Carolina-Asheville, only to return to agriculture for my graduate degrees in Crop Science at North Carolina State University with concentrations in Agroecology and Applied Statistics. I moved my family to the Twin Cities and started my academic journey University of Minnesota as faculty in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics (2013) and was awarded the rank of Associate Professor with Tenure in 2020. 

My applied research program provides statistically sound research-based technologies that address the sustainable intensification of agriculture. Such technologies include working with a wide range of clients to plan, design, analyze, and report finding for applied agricultural and ecological-based systems. With these goals in mind, I aim to leverage my research, teaching, and applied statistical consulting efforts to educate and inform clients and broadly engage with private and public institutions. In addition to applied research and statistical consulting, I teach a graduate-level Applied Statistical Design course utilizing both R and SAS with the foundational goals of improving statistical literacy and ethics across various domains. At the core, I am an educational leader leveraging broad academic training and life experiences to build interdisciplinary teams that address our most pressing sustainability issues across the food and agricultural nexus. 

My team is small but mighty; my door is open for conversations with students, staff, and faculty about agriculture, equity, and justice. My office and Lab are safe spaces. Lastly, we are a people-first group here to help you tell your story. My motto is, "If you are not using me to get ahead, you are doing it wrong." 

Connect with us

Office: 209 Hayes Hall 

Email: sswells@umn.edu

Office: (612) 625-3747