Postharvest Loss Scholars

Educating the next generation of scientists in postharvest loss prevention is central to the mission of ADMI. To that end, ADMI began the PHL Scholars program for University of Illinois graduate students during the 2018-19 academic year. PHL Scholars receive funding for a graduate research assistantship anconduct research related to the prevention of postharvest loss consistent with the mission of the ADMI during their studies. 

Ghaida Alrawashdeh / College of Education 

Ph.D., education policy, organization and leadership

Alrawashdeh is collaborating with Samantha Lindgren, an assistant professor in the College of Education, as part of project funded by ADM Cares exploring questions regarding women and youth access to postharvest mechanization and entrepreneurship in Bangladesh. Learn more about this project here.

Alrawashdeh’s research interests focus on two lines of inquiry, both of which explore the intersection of technology and social impact. The first line of research centers around exploring how technology can support learning and teaching in resource-challenged contexts. This involves examining the potential of smart digital tools and resources to improve educational outcomes and access for underserved communities.

The second line of research focuses on entrepreneurship, development, and sustainability, with a particular emphasis on exploring the potential of smart technologies in promoting more sustainable agri-entrepreneurship models in rural areas. This involves investigating how technologies such as precision agriculture and IoT can be leveraged to support sustainable and inclusive economic growth in agricultural communities, particularly in the context of youth and women empowerment and food security.

Loren Steinman / Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering 

Master’s degree 

Steinman works with Professor Kent Rausch in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. His research has focused on respiration of soybeans under tropical and subtropical storage conditions, and calculating maximum allowable storage times for soybeans under these conditions. Currently, data for corn harvested under North American conditions are extrapolated for use with soybeans. Detailed information for soybeans in different climatic conditions could result in reduced losses. 

Gowthami Venkateswaran / Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics


Venkateswaran has been working with Professor Kathy Baylis in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics researching the feasibility of certification and storage technology interventions in India. The research will help determine if certification of good storage and handling practices and absence of mycotoxins improves the prices that millers, traders, and farmers receive for their crops, and if that, in turn, affects hermetic storage bag adoption. 

Former PHL Scholars 

Ruben Chavez

Ph.D. in Food Science and Human Nutrition

Chavez is currently working as a food safety specialist for Mondelēz International.

As a PHL Scholar at the University of Illinois, Chavez worked with Professor Matt Stasiewicz in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition on a spectral sorting system for removing mycotoxin-infected maize kernels

Read more about the project and Chavez’s December 2022 update

Pallavi Shukla 

Ph.D. in Agricultural and Applied Economics  

An lecturer/assistant professor at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, Shukla’s research uses experimental methods to study technology adoption, food security, health, and poverty and environment. After receiving her Ph.D. in agricultural and applied economics from the University of Illinois, Shukla was a postdoctoral researcher at  Johns Hopkins University in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering.

Shukla was part of ADMI’s inaugural group of PHL Scholars in 2018-2019. While she was a doctoral student at Illinois, Shukla worked with Professor Kathy Baylis in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics. 

Selected publications based on ADMI-affiliated research: 

Amir Jafari / Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering 


Jafari worked with Professor Kent Rausch in the Agricultural and Biological Engineering. His most recent work focused on the evaluation of various commercial moisture meters to test their suitability for use in developing countries, especially for smallholder farmers. The final result of his research will be added to the ADMI website as a global resource for postharvest loss prevention. Jafari has also worked on modifications to the design of the STR dryer, a grain dryer designed for use by smallholder farmers.