Food & Health
Food & Health
Meet Hannah Worral - Pulse Crop Research Specialist at NCREC
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Meet Hannah Worral – Pulse Crop Research Specialist at NCREC
Genetics and genomics have always fascinated Hannah, despite her interest in genetics, if you would have asked Hannah what she wanted to be when she grew up, she would have answered, “A Neurolinguist”, (a branch of linguistics dealing with the relationship between language and the structure and functioning of the brain.) If you would have told her in high school, she was going to be a pulse crop research specialist stationed in Minot, ND – she probably would have laughed.
Hannah started off her college career at NDSU with the goal of becoming a neurolinguist and studying the learning curves of polyingual children. The summer of her freshman year she applied for a position working with sunflower genetics research team at USDA-ARS. Little did she know that taking that job would lead her off in a completely different and new position, “a fork in the road that I am ever so thankful I took”, says Worral. While working at USDA she had the opportunity to talk a worker at the sunflower processing plant who was thankful for the work they were doing to improve disease resistance in cultivated sunflowers. That conversation is what convinced Hannah that agricultural research is where she wanted to be. Since then, her projects have varied from introducing disease resistance from wild sources in sunflower to improving protein profiles in corn. She has done everything from collecting cow pies for development biology research, to extracting RNA from turtle gonads to the study of genetics behind temperature-dependent sex determination.
Hannah has had the privilege of working with various individuals across the years to improve the genetics of several crops. Her projects have varied from introducing disease resistance from wild sources in sunflower to improving protein profiles in corn to now working with Dr. Nonoy Bandillo to improve the genetics of pulse crops.
Her most rewarding work has been her interactions with the agricultural community - listening to a producer talk about the high and lows of the field season, brainstorming breeding objectives to make the best possible impact on production, and getting to play with all the fun toys at her disposal, especially the plot combines! “I am privileged to work in such an amazing community where I get the chance to interact with people from all walks of life, walk the field and crunch data points. This position has allowed me grow in so many ways, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for pulses and agriculture as a whole” states Worral.
Hannah started at North Central Research Extension Center, Minot, ND in 2017 as a Research Specialist with a focus on pulse crops.
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