Ella Taagen, Women in Triticum Early Career Award winner, from the United States, is a PhD candidate studying with Dr. Mark Sorrells’ Small Grains Breeding and Genetics lab at Cornell University. As a quantitative geneticist, Taagen explores relationships between recombination variation and desirable phenotypes. Working with Mark Sorrells at Cornell Small Grains Genetics Research Program, she is inspired to enhance breeding pipeline efficiency and genetic gain. Using wheat as a model, her dissertation research is focused on the biological constraints of meiotic recombination in a plant breeding context, and the potential to modify recombination to enhance genetic gain. Taagen also contributes to the scientific community by advocating for equity and inclusion in STEM with student leadership roles that amplify the voices of diverse scholars. She has served as chair of online communications for Cornell Graduate Women in Science, as well as the president of Synapsis, the Cornell Plant Breeding graduate student association.
Remarkable female graduate students and post-graduate mentors have helped me become the scientist that I am today. Their guidance and insight illuminated the otherwise ambiguous path to graduate school. Mentorship has been pivotal for me, and as I consider a career path outside of academia, I’m eager to seek insight from professionals outside of the academy. The Women in Triticum award is a terrific opportunity to be introduced to a global network of talented researchers and engage in career path professional development exploration.