Invited Speakers

Dr. Matt Stephenson is the Data Management Specialist for the Regenerative Agriculture program at ISU’s Bioeconomy Institute. At BEI, Matt developed SILPH, a PostgreSQL database hosted on MS Azure that serves as a data warehouse for agricultural, environmental, economic, and engineering data and metadata. His everyday responsibilities include assisting researchers on multiple large trans-disciplinary grants with data management plans, metadata development, and data storage, transfer, and publication.
Prior to joining BEI, Matt earned a PhD in Wildlife Ecology at ISU in 2022 studying bird, snake, and mammal habitat quality on farms and prairies for the prairie STRIPS project. He started down his path to an ISU hat-trick when he completed his bachelors’ degree in Animal Ecology at ISU in 2010. Together with his wife and two children, he has the goal of visiting every National Park.


Kevin Wright obtained a Bachelor and Master of Science degree from the University of Nebraska and then a PhD in Statistics from Iowa State University in 1999. He has worked at Corteva Agriscience as a Research Scientist for 25 years. In his work he specializes in experimental designs for field experiments, fitting mixed models in high-throughput analytical pipelines, creating effective visualizations of data, digging into data quality problems, educating co-workers in statistical methods, asking thought-provoking questions, and developing R tools for analyzing agricultural data. Kevin has published 13 packages for R on the CRAN repository and occasionally publishes in scientific journals. Kevin is an Associate Laureate at Corteva.




Dr. Lisa Schulte Moore is a professor in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management and co-director of the Bioeconomy Institute at Iowa State University. She conducts research and teaches in the areas of agriculture, ecology, forestry and human-landscape interactions. Her research addresses the strategic integration of perennials into agricultural landscapes to support new agricultural markets and to meet societal goals for healthy soils, clean water, abundant wildlife and inspiring recreational opportunities. She works to return more of the value from agricultural supply chains to rural communities and the land, and develops relationships and institutional capacity so diverse groups of people can more effectively work together. A large part of this work involves collaborative data collection, management, and analyses. Schulte Moore is a Fellow of the Leopold Leadership Program, Ecological Society of America, and the MacArthur Foundation.


Edzard van Santen is a statistician/plant breeder and a full Professor in the University of Florida Agronomy Department since 2016, after a 29-year career as plant breeder and consulting statistician at Auburn University. While at Auburn, he had an active applied breeding program in energy, forage, and turf grasses and also worked with cover crop species such as ball clover, crimson clover, and white lupin. Among his accomplishments there were the release of AU Don ball clover and AU Victory creeping bentgrass. He is currently the director of the UF/IFAS Statistical Consulting Unit, a service unit sponsored by the Senior VP for Agriculture and Natural Resource and part of the UF/IFAS research infrastructure. This Statistical Consulting Unit is charged with assisting graduate students, staff, and faculty with the design, conduct, and analysis of research studies in agronomy, animal sciences, entomology, food science, horticultural sciences, etc. He and his staff members James Colee and Simon Riley deal with over 200 consulting projects per year. He is currently also involved in the USDA funded Fostering Resilience and Ecosystem Services in Landscapes by Integrating Diverse Perennial Circular Systems (RESILIENCE CAP) project as the lead statistician


Toryn Schafer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Statistics and 2024 ConocoPhillips Data Science Faculty Fellow at Texas A&M University. Previously, she was a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Statistics and Data Science at Cornell University where she helped with the launch of the new Data Science in Science journal. She earned her statistics PhD in 2020 at the University of Missouri. Her background is in ecology, and she has earned a bachelor’s in wildlife biology. Much of her research involves building custom methodology for complex data in ecology, but she has also developed methods in energy, sports, and engineering.