Get to Know our New CFAES Faculty

Welcome to our new faculty joining CFAES in 2020!

Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership

Shannon washburn, Professor & chair

Shannon WashburnDr. Washburn earned his PhD in agricultural education from the University of Missouri, his MS in secondary education with an emphasis in agricultural education from Kansas State University, and a BS in agricultural education with a minor in animal science and industry, also from Kansas State. Washburn was previously the assistant dean for academic programs at Kansas State, where he focused on policy, student success, faculty development, and curriculum and assessment. Washburn is an accomplished researcher and leader and has received numerous teaching and advising awards and several journal article and conference paper awards across his career. He has worked on several grant-funded projects, the most notable being projects on reducing postharvest loss (funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development) and on climate change education (funded by the National Science Foundation).Washburn has completed the Food Systems Leadership Institute (FSLI) and LEAD21 leadership programs and has a strong mix of faculty experiences, including publishing and presenting research, providing Extension programming, advising undergraduate and graduate students, serving his campus and the profession, and presenting internationally including in Haiti, Egypt, and Kenya.

Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics

Margaret Jodlowski, Assistant Professor

Margaret JodlowskiI completed my Ph.D. at Cornell University in the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management in 2020. Prior to studying at Cornell, I received my Masters of Science in Agricultural and Applied Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I also attended Illinois as an undergraduate, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Consumer Economics with Highest Honors and a Bachelor of Arts in History, cum laude and with Highest Distinction. My research focuses on agricultural issues both domestically and internationally, with a specific emphasis on farm labor and farm household dynamics. Broadly, my research explores how farms and other agricultural operations impact rural economies and environments, and how those, along with policy changes in those spaces, affect the nature of agricultural production. This interplay is of increasing importance from both a research and policy perspective given the current and persistent trends of rural decline, farmland concentration, and climate variability. In particular, I have ongoing projects related to the impact of changing labor market opportunities, immigration policy, demand for Federal crop insurance, on farm-level production and financial decisions. Another major strand of my work looks at the relationship between managing environmental risk, production risk, and financial risk; for example, I have a project that looks how various conservation practices, such as no-till or cover crops, increase farmers' resilience, in terms of indemnities received, in the face of weather shocks. I am excited to engage students at OSU in topics related to food and agricultural policy, labor economics, and risk management.

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois, USA

Previous Academic Institution (s): Cornell University, Ph.D. 2020

Can you share a fun fact or something most people don't know about you? I am a Chicago native and a very devoted Cubs fan! 

What are some of your hobbies or interests? I am a competitive Irish dancer. It takes up most of my free time, but I also love to read, hike, and camp!

Can you share a professional recognition of which you are particularly proud? I was very proud to receive the Award for Best Graduate Student Paper from the Applied Risk Analysis section of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA). 

Why did you choose to join the CFAES faculty? I chose to join the CFAES faculty because of the tremendous opportunity it offered to directly engage with policymakers and other stakeholders at a world-class institution. My colleagues are working on issues that excite and engage me, and are among the best at what they do! 

Animal Sciences

BenJamin Bohrer, Assistant professor

Benjamin BohrerMy research focuses on meat science and muscle biology. This broadly covers all phases of the traditional meat science spectrum (live animal, fresh meat, and processed meats) in an applied sense, as well as using benchtop laboratory techniques and molecular biology in a more fundamental sense. A specific focus of my program has focused on adding value to meat products through further processing and ingredient formulation. My classroom teaching responsibilities at Ohio State focus on animal growth and development, muscle biology, and meat science. This was the discipline that my graduate school training was centered on and fits well with my background in production agriculture. Previously, I have had the opportunity of teaching Food Chemistry and Food Processing courses. I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to broaden my knowledge of the food science curriculum with these responsibilities, and these opportunities have really had profound impact on my ability to educate myself through classroom instruction.Another interest I have is working with undergraduate and graduate students on research projects. This is a tremendous advantage that a faculty position at a tier-1 research institution like Ohio State presents. I intend to introduce students to all of the opportunities that the meat science discipline has to offer. I look forward to building a strong research group that receives international recognition in the discipline, while also providing advanced training for the next generation of meat scientists and production livestock enthusiasts.

Hometown: I grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm about 10 miles south of Hillsboro, Ohio. 

Previous Academic Institution(s): I completed my university education at The Ohio State University (BSc in 2011 and MSc in 2013) and the University of Illinois (PhD in 2016). I have been on faculty in the Department of Food Science at the University of Guelph (located in Ontario Canada) for the past 4 years.

Can you share a fun fact or something most people don't know about you? I was the first person in my immediate family to complete a college or university degree. This something that I am very proud of. I often think about the sacrifices that my parents and grandparents made for me to have the opportunity to receive an advanced education and am extremely grateful for that. 

What are some of your hobbies or interests? Cooking/grilling, running, golf, hiking, agriculture, traveling, reading, following/watching sports.

Can you share a professional recognition of which you are particularly proud? As an academic researcher and educator, it certainly makes me feel proud to see the professional and personal growth in the students and young scientists that I have had the opportunity to work with. So far in my career, I have had the opportunity to supervise 2 post-doctoral researchers, 2 Ph.D. students, 6 M.Sc. students, 3 professional M.Sc. students, 3 visiting graduate students, and 12 undergraduate research students. These individuals have gone onto work in a variety of food industry and livestock industry positions, most of which in leadership roles. I like to think that some of the transferrable skills that they are able to use in their current positions were attributed to the approach we have in my research group. 

Why did you choose to join the CFAES faculty? I grew up in Ohio, attended Ohio State, and have been a Buckeye my entire life. I would not be the person I am today without the opportunities that Ohio State and the CFAES offered me as a student and as a young person. I look at the opportunity to join the CFAES faculty as a chance to give back to this incredible institution, as well as provide the same opportunities to students and young scientists that I was provided. In addition to this, I feel like Ohio State is a great place to further advance my career as an educator and as a researcher.

Jessica Pempek, Assistant Professor

Jessica PempekDr. Jessica Pempek is returning to the Department of Animal Sciences as an Assistant Professor and Animal Welfare Specialist. Her research focuses on understanding the relationship between housing and management practices and animal health, welfare, and behavior. The goals of her extension program will be to: engage with Ohio youth to help them learn more about animal welfare, and help producers implement and assure best housing and management practices as animal welfare science continues to evolve. As a fourth-generation beef cattle producer, caring for livestock was one of Dr. Pempek’s first passions. This passion led to her desire to pursue graduate school and study animal welfare science at The Ohio State University in the Department of Animal Sciences where her research focused on improving the early-life environment for dairy calves. She then went on to conduct postdoctoral research in the College of Veterinary Medicine Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine at Ohio State where she expanded her research focus to include the veal industry. In addition to engaging with producers and conducting research, Dr. Pempek has enjoyed and looks forward to teaching and being involved in student-driven initiatives pertaining to animal welfare at Ohio State, such as the annual Intercollegiate Animal Welfare Judging Contest and the Animal Welfare and Behavior Club. She will instruct Animal Welfare and Behavior in Livestock Industries during Fall Semester.

Agricultural Technical Institute

Zachery Matesich, Assistant Professor

Zachery MatesichA native of southwestern Pennsylvania, my academic journey found me travelling west as, after obtaining my Bachelor’s of Arts in Chemistry from The College of Wooster, I travelled to Illinois for my PhD. The movement reversed direction as my first academic job was back at my alma mater where I served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry for three years. During this time, I was able to teach both organic and general chemistry courses. As I developed my own teaching style, I adopted principles of inclusive teaching to create a classroom where student collaboration is a vital and welcome aspect of the course. I have also begun incorporating technology into the classroom, such as employing virtual reality in organic chemistry to allow student to interact with molecules in a very hands-on manner. My research focus is in part an extension of these teaching approaches as I am interested in determining the benefits of implementing technology in the classroom from a teaching and learning perspective. In addition to virtual reality, I plan on exploring the gamification of chemistry topics in a way to allow learning to be further interactive. My lab-based branch of research is focused on the development of multistep reactions using a continuous flow chemistry approach, as opposed to traditional, batch-style chemistry, which allows for more precise control of many reaction parameters. This work is currently focused on the synthesis of crown ethers, a class of compounds that traditionally give low yields of material in batch-style reactions.  

Hometown: Monongahela, Pennsylvania

Previous Academic Institution (s): PhD in Organic Chemistry from University of Illinois - Urbana/Champaign ('11-'17) / Recent academic institution: Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry at The College of Wooster ('17-'20)

Can you share a fun fact or something most people don't know about you? I can swing dance and have even been in some swing dancing competitions

What are some of your hobbies or interests? Hiking, cooking, board games, exploring National Parks

Can you share a professional recognition of which you are particularly proud? 2019 recipient of The Journal of Organic Chemistry Outstanding Publication of the Year Award for "Catalytic Nucleophilic Allylation Driven by the Water-Gas Shift Reaction"

Why did you choose to join the CFAES faculty? I appreciate that within CFAES, I will be able to use my chemistry background and experience in an applied manner outside of my usual lab-based work. Especially considering that I will be working at ATI with students that have a very hands-on approach to their studies.


Ellen Klinger, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR of Professional practice

Ellen KlingerPrior to coming to Ohio State, Ellen was employed for the past 15 years with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Logan, UT. During this time she conducted research on a number of topics aimed to improve the use of native and solitary bees in agricultural settings. Her specialty is insect pathology, and she has conducted research with bacterial, viral and fungal pathogens of bees. Her specialty is fungal pathogens, and she in one of few researchers in the world studying the occurrence of fungal disease commonly known as “chalkbrood” in non- honey bee species. She is also interested in Integrated Pest Management, especially the use of microbials for control of pest insects. 

Hometown: Carlisle, PA

Previous Academic Institution(s): Utah State University, PhD 2015
University of Maine, MS 2003

Can you share a fun fact or something most people don't know about you? I play women’s ice hockey, and have played a few hockey games dressed as a taco. I’ve run 5 marathons and one ultramarathon. I can juggle and learned when I was in college, when I joined the campus juggling club on a whim.  

Why did you choose to join the CFAES faculty? I felt I have always enjoyed teaching, whether in a classroom or in the lab.  Felt like switching careers where I can put more emphasis on teaching to expand my skill set and hopefully make an impact on students.

 Horticulture and Crop Science

Guilherme Signorini, Assistant Professor

Guilherme SignoriniGuil Signorini is a Research Scientist in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science (HCS), transitioning to an Assistant Professor position in the same department. Signorini will devote time and effort to conduct research and extension outreach in production management and marketing of specialty crops. Since August last year Signorini has proactively collaborated with the faculty in two research and extension grant proposals submitted to the United States Department of Agriculture; played the role of leading investigator in two other proposals; and is currently leading one extension initiative in grape production. His interests lie in agribusiness management, strategic marketing, and ag-food value chain management. Before joining OSU as Research Scientist, Signorini held a position as marketing coordinator for the Stoller Group – the leading specialty fertilizer and plant growth regulator (PGR) brand in Brazil. In that position he was responsible for implementing a real-time sales performance tool, structuring marketing campaigns and special offers aimed at segmented client groups, and for developing, approving, and implementing crop and marketing strategies. In 2015 Signorini also held an agribusiness consultant position at Markestrat Group, Brazil where he performed as principal investigator (PI) and team member in four strategic management projects contracted by multinational ag-input companies.In his short academic career, he has been author and co-author of 15 peer-reviewed and 16 extension publications. He graduated in Agronomy (2008) from University of Sao Paulo, Brazil and obtained M.S. (2013) and Ph.D. (2015) degrees in Applied Economics from Michigan State University.

Hometown: Jundiai, State of Sao Paulo, Brazil 

Can you share a fun fact or something most people don't know about you? I am a big fan of motorcycles and horses. I grew up in a small family farm where we raised broilers, cattle and cultivated horticultural crops. I love playing hide-and-seek with my 4-year old girl (Rafaela) and my 1.5-year old boy (Bruno).