CAFNR Welcomes New Faculty

Our college introduces 11 faculty members this fall

Each fall the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri welcomes new faculty embers to take on vital teaching, research and Extension duties as part of our land-grant mission. Our 11 new faculty members are accomplished in a breadth of fields encompassing all of our six diverse divisions: Animal Sciences, Applied Social Sciences, Biochemistry, Food Systems & Bioengineering, Natural Resources and Plant Sciences. Our college is proud to welcome and introduce the new faculty members for fall 2019:

Ahmed Balboula
Assistant Professor, Animal Sciences


Balboula joins the University of Missouri from the University of Cambridge, where he was a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow in the Department of Genetics. This position was part of a fellowship from the European Commission. Previously, he has served as an assistant professor at Mansoura University, Egypt, and as a fellow at the Japanese Society of Promotion of Science. He is a reproductive biologist, with research interests in female meiosis and early-stage embryo development. He performed his post-doctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. He received his Ph.D. in theriogenology from the National Agricultural Research Institute, Japan, and Mansoura University, as part of a competitive Ph.D. channel system scholarship, conducting the practical part of his doctorate in Japan. He has received many international awards and is a member of many international societies including the Society for the Study of Reproduction. You can reach Balboula at

Ashley Conway

Assistant Research Professor, School of Natural Resources


Conway is part of the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry, one of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources’ Programs of Distinction. Her research interests include investigating intensive integrated tree/forage/livestock systems to raise livestock more sustainably. She specifically looks at understandinglivestock interactions with forages, crops and trees in silvopasture systems; at Mizzou she will work to create a research program investigating silvopasture systems in Missouri and the Midwest. She served in the Peace Corps in Zambia as an agroforestry extension volunteer from 2010-12. Conway received her Ph.D. in animal science (ruminant nutrition) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2019. While in graduate school, she received graduate student fellowships and poster session awards, in addition to serving as the graduate student director for the American Society of Animal Science-Midwest Section. You can reach Conway at

Lupita Fabregas

Directory, 4-H Center for Youth Development

Associate Extension Professor, Division of Applied Social Sciences

Lupita Fabregas

Fabregas is originally from Mexico, and joins Mizzou as the State 4-H Director, as well as a professor of agricultural education. She was previously the assistant director for 4-H Diversity and Expansion at the University of California – Agriculture and Natural Resources, and served as adjunct and clinical assistant professor of multicultural and community engagement at Oklahoma State University, College of Human Sciences, and as director of the Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla (UPAEP), Mexico, University Liaison Office. Her research and professional development interest areas are intercultural competency, diversity, multiculturalism, youth development, as well as development and integration of the Hispanic communities in the U.S. She is former chair for the National 4-H Council Latino Advisory Committee and the Epsilon Sigma Phi Latino Affinity Group. She received her Ph.D. in agricultural education from Oklahoma State University. You can reach Fabregas at

Samniqueka Halsey

Assistant Professor, School of Natural Resources


Halsey joins Mizzou from the Illinois Natural History Survey/ Prairie Research Institute, where she served as a postdoctoral associate. Her research interests include computational biology, using long-term data sets, geographic information systems and remote sensing across broad spatial and temporal scales, and integrative approaches to modelling complex systems to inform management actions in biodiversity conservation and emerging disease systems. Halsey holds a particular interest in informing management actions with her models. She has received the Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, is a member of the Ecological Society of America and the Society for Computational Biology, and has published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, Ecological Modeling, and Ecological Restoration. Halsey received a Ph.D. in ecology, evolution and conservation biology from the University of Illinois. You can reach her at

Sarah Taylor Lovell

Directory, Center for Agroforestry

H.E. Garrett Endowed Chair Professor, School of Natural Resources


Lovell joined the University of Missouri from the University of Illinois, where she was an associate professor of crop sciences. There she served as the undergraduate program coordinator, and taught courses in permaculture and agroforestry, small fruit production and designing urban agriculture. Her research focuses on the analysis and design of sustainable, multifunctional landscapes that have the potential to improve ecosystem functioning and the provision of ecosystem services. Lovell has received awards for journal publications, including the best paper award in the Journal of Environmental Quality, and for landscape architecture in the Sasaki Day Landscape Architecture Competition. She has been part of more than $4.7 million in competitive grants, and is a member of the Administrative Council for the North Central Region, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education. Lovell received all four of her degrees from the University of Illinois, including a Ph.D. in agronomy and a Master’s in Landscape Architecture. You can reach Lovell at

Seth Meyer

Associate Director, Food & Agriclutural Policy Research Institute
Research Professor, Division of Applied Social Sciences


Meyer joins CAFNR from the U.S. Department of Agriculture World Agricultural Outlook Board (WOAB) in Washington, D.C., where he had served as chairman since 2014. WOAB is the focal point for market intelligence in the USDA and clears all outlook publications for the USDA to ensure consistency of estimates across agencies. Previously, he worked as a senior economist with the USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist, and as an economist with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome. Before working in Rome and Washington, D.C., Meyer was previously part of FAPRI from 1997-2011, working his way up to associate research professor and policy analyst. He now rejoins FAPRI as associate director. He is an expert on U.S. and international agricultural commodity markets as well as agricultural and biofuel policy. Meyer has been a visiting scholar/researcher in both Japan and Italy and an invited speaker at conferences across the globe. He received his Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Mizzou. You can reach Meyer at

Rebecca Mott

Assistant Extension Professor, Division of Applied Social Sciences
Nutrition & Exercise Physiology


Mott joined Mizzou as a joint professor in both CAFNR and the College of Human Environmental Sciences after receiving her Ph.D. in agricultural education and leadership in May 2019. Her expertise is in youth development, program evaluation and curriculum development. Mott has evaluated projects for grants, including the Beginning Farmer Project, Missouri AgrAbility Project, Extension internship program, and more. She has developed curriculum for an interdisciplinary course on “Applying Program Theory to Evaluation”; Camp Ca-Pow, a program for prospective first-generation college students, which she also directs; and MU Extension’s Leadership Online for Today, a leadership program for Millennials. She was recognized as one of Mizzou’s top graduate students as part of the “Mizzou 18” in spring 2019, and received the outstanding poster award in 2016 from the North Central American Association of Agricultural Education. Mott is a member of the American Agricultural Educators Association. You can reach Mott at

Sofia Ortega

Assistant Professor, Animal Sciences


Since 2017, Ortega has been a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Tom Spencer, Curators Distinguished Professor of Animal Sciences, at the University of Missouri. In her new role, Ortega will teach reproductive physiology and reproductive management and conduct research in reproductive physiology at Mizzou. Her research focuses on preimplantation development and pregnancy establishment in the bovine. Ortega was the postdoctoral research poster winner at the 14th Annual Gilbert S. Greenwald Symposium on Reproduction and Regenerative Medicine in 2017, has presented at seminars at the University of Wisconsin, Cornell University, the University of Florida, and the International Ruminant Reproduction Symposium in Brazil, and has published articles in the Biology of Reproduction, Animal Reproduction and the Journal of Dairy Science. Ortega received her Ph.D. in animal molecular and cellular biology from the University of Florida. You can reach her at ortegaobandom@

Mallory Rahe

Assistant Extension Professor, Division of Applied Social Sciences

Mallory Rahe

Rahe joined CAFNR from Oregon State University, where she served as an Extension community economist in the Department of Applied Economics. Her research specializes in applied community economic development that builds the capacity of rural and regional decision makers. Her areas of expertise include rural development, supporting value-added production and economic resilience. At Mizzou, she is part of the Extension Community Economic and Entrepreneurial Development (ExCEED) team. Rahe has received the Oregon State University Outreach and Engagement Vice Provost Award for Excellence and the Oregon State University Extension Association Newer Faculty Award. She has also served as the Community and Regional Economics Network section chair of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. After receiving her previous degrees in agricultural economics, Rahe earned her Ph.D. in regional planning from the University of Illinois. You can reach her at

Ronald Revord

Assistant Research Professor, School of Natural Resources

Ron Revord

Revord joins the School of Natural Resources and MU Center for Agroforestry, where he will lead the tree improvement and genetics program for Chinese chestnuts, pecan and black walnut, with new initiatives related to restoration of the Ozark chinquapin and hybrid hazelnut research. The MU Center for Agroforestry is one of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources’ Programs of Distinction. Revord received his Ph.D. in crop sciences from the University of Illinois in May 2019. At Illinois he was involved with the multifunctional woody polyculture for sustainable food production research program. You can reach Revord at r.revord@

Shuangyu Xu

Assistant Professor, School of Natural Resources


Xu joins Mizzou from Troy University in Alabama, where she was an assistant professor in the School of Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management. Her research is primarily focused on developing and promoting sustainable tourism (with an emphasis in agritourism and wine tourism) for communities using a combined stakeholder and GIS approach. Her research seeks to fully engage different stakeholders and to develop a comprehensive understanding of the impacts of tourism. She is also interested in examining other tourism niches including nature-based tourism and cultural tourism in both regional and linear tourism settings. Xu has taught courses ranging from leisure in society to event management to sustainable tourism. She received her Ph.D. in parks, recreation and tourism management from North Carolina State University. You can reach Xu at