Robert M Valek

Graduate Assistant-Research
Robert Valek image

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.

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
Integrated Agricultural Systems
Human-Landscape Interactions
Sustainable Agriculture
B.S. Computer and Information Science, University of Maryland University College, 2013
M.S. Information Technology - Project Management, University of Maryland University College, 2015