Course & Internships

Exploring Agricultural Research Applications

EVE 494 at ASU, AG 298AA at MCC

Course description

As part of a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture, this new course will launch in the spring of 2020 with a goal to demonstrate the applicability of STEM fields to agriculture. This 1-credit course held jointly between ASU and Mesa Community College will teach students about agriculture in Arizona, the available jobs in agriculture, and the need for innovation and technology  in agriculture. Students will then participate in developing a faculty-supervised research project.

Learning outcomes

  • Practical experience in developing a research question
  • Applicable research skills including literature reviews, lab, field, and data analysis techniques
  • Communication skills through the opportunity to present work at a national conference
  • Knowledge of the science and engineering involved in agriculture
  • Identification of agricultural jobs available to STEM fields

How to get involved

  • Sign up through either ASU or MCC course portals
  • Questions: Dr. Rebecca Muenich ([email protected])
  • Considering a career in agriculture? Check out this video from undergraduate student Kayla Brashears. She made it as part of her honors project for the course to get students like you thinking about the broad opportunities of a career in agriculture:

*Song credit: “I’m Farming and I Grow it” – The Peterson Farm Brothers (

Internship opportunities

Students who are successful in the spring course will be eligible to apply for a paid internship with the USDA’s Arid Lands Agricultural Research Center. This internship will allow students to continue their research project at ASU, ALARC, or MCC campuses.

Spring 2022 Course Student Projects

There were 6 student project teams formed in the spring 2022 class. The titles and team members are provided below. Given the larger number of student projects, a team mentoring approach was used.

  1. “The appropriate addition of iron sulfate to hydroponic fertilizer for maximization of bioavailable iron in broccoli microgreens”. 
    • students: Dilan, Smith, Riley, Abigail
  2. “Hydroponic systems – plant growth and water” 
    • students: Brandon, Nathaniel
  3. “The potential of biochar to enhance environmental sustainability in Arizona”
    • students: Bastian, Kevin, Noah
  4. “Management of pH with the utilization of citrus waste in efforts to immobilize nitrogen in potted Arizona soils”
    • students: Molly, Catherine, Jorgi, Andrei
  5. “Effect of tilapia fish feed on tomato crop yield and fish yield”
    • students: James, Andrea, Maxwell
  6. “Use of microalgae grown in hydroponic wastewater as bio-fertilizer”
    • student: Michelle

Spring 2021 Course Student Projects

There were 5 student project teams formed in the spring 2021 class. The titles and team members are provided below.

  1. What is the best way to characterize and quantify microplastics in agricultural soils in AZ?”
    • students: Jacob, Marcela, Michael, Andrea
    • mentor: Clinton Williams (USDA ALARC)
  2. “Is deep water aquaponics or traditional agriculture more efficient for urban food production?”
    • students: Shannon, Annika, Qingyun, Jose, Christopher
    • mentor: George Brooks (MCC)
  3. “Does the Acidimicrobium A6 accelerate remediation of PFAS when combined with GAC and ion resin exchange?”
    • students: Josh, Karissa, Joseph, Zhiqian
    • mentor: Otakuye Conroy-Ben (ASU)
  4. “The Effects of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi and Biochar on the Phosphorus Uptake of Corn”
    • students: Thomas, Suraya, Channing, Victoria
    • mentor: Peter Conden (MCC)
  5. “Can rainwater harvesting provide sufficient irrigation for crops grown outside of monsoon season?”
    • students: Caleb, Carlos, Skye, Andre, Kaley
    • mentor: Rebecca Muenich (ASU)

Spring 2020 Course Student Projects

There were four student project teams formed in the spring 2020 class. The titles and team members are provided below.

  1. “Water use comparison of aquaponics systems & traditional farming”
    • students: Marie, Agripina, Ken, and Eslie
    • mentors: Peter Conden (MCC) and George Brooks (MCC)
  2. “Tetrabromobisphenol A and crops: A proposal to examine effluent irrigation impacts in agriculture”
    • students: Wesley, Sergio, Kendal, Jeanene
    • mentor: Clinton Williams (USDA ALARC)
  3. “Effects of Arizona’s arid conditions on neonicotinoid toxicity and fate”
    • students: Marisela, Kayla, Jeremy
    • mentor: Otakuye Conroy-Ben (ASU)
  4. “Water consumption benefits of urban food production in Phoenix, AZ”
    • students: Samantha, Daniel, Emma
    • mentor: Rebecca Muenich (ASU)