Robert Valek

Ph.D. Student
Picture of Robert Valek

Working thesis title: TBD; something about People in Ecosystems / Watershed Integration (PEWI).

Background: I holds a B.S. in Computer and Information Science and an M.S. degree in Information Technology from the University of Maryland University College. I have spent much of my life abroad, but return to northern Minnesota every summer for its beauty, clean water, and to speak German. 

Research Interests: How can our society design, test, and assist with the implementation of diverse, integrated agricultural systems? What conclusions has research settled on, and how can we communicate that to farmers through methods of empowerment and support rather than dictation? If holistic and agroecological research depends heavily on situational context, how can researchers include farmers in the scientific process to both establish stakeholder buy-in and access their contextual knowledge? These questions attracted me to Iowa State University, where I am currently a graduate research assistant working on the People in Ecosystems Watershed Integration (PEWI) project. PEWI's ability to facilitate both directed and independent learning has the potential to significantly weaken long-standing barriers to sustainable practice adoption, a possibly that provides both excitement and drive to my work.

Personal Interests: Beyond research and classrooms, I enjoy hiking, biking, swimming, going for walks in the woods, cooking, and playing volleyball and tennis.

Area of Expertise: 
Sustainable Agriculture
B.S., Computer and Information Science, University of Maryland University College
M.S., Information Technology, University of Maryland University College
38 Science II