Our Team

Emily Usher

Emily Usher is a Senior Research Associate in the Natural Resources Social Science Lab at Purdue University. Emily graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point with an M.S. in Natural Resources Management and Ohio University with a B.S. in Plant Biology. At Purdue University, Emily works with landowners, producers, agency staff, and others to further understand motivators and barriers to conservation practice adoption in Indiana and across the Midwest. Her research informs outreach and…

Alyssa Besser

Alyssa Besser is an Agronomy Graduate student studying under Dr. Ron Turco. Alyssa studies soil health and conservation and enjoys talking with farmers, stakeholders and anyone who will listen about soil health. As part of the St. Marys Project, Alyssa will be collecting and analyzing soil and farm practice data.

Becca Thomson

Becca Thomson is a lab technician in Dr. Turco’s soil microbiology lab. As a part of the Soils team, she assists in planning and executing field sample collection, conducts laboratory analyses and oversees a team of undergraduate students.

Ron Turco

Dr. Ronald F. Turco is a Professor and Department Head in the Department of Agronomy. Over the last 30+ years, Dr. Turco has concentrated on understanding how the behavior of environmental microorganism is influenced by human activity. He is overseeing all aspects of the St. Marys Watershed Project with a focus on soil health impacts of agricultural best management practice implementation.

Reuben Goforth

Dr. Reuben Goforth research focuses on studies of fish, aquatic insects, unionoid clams, and zooplankton in large rivers, inland lakes, and Great Lakes nearshore areas. He is overseeing the aquatic community assessments to identify impact of agricultural best management practice implementation on instream communities.

Sara McMillan

Dr. Sara McMillan leads the water quality sampling and analysis for this project. Her research focuses on the interaction between hydrology and nutrient cycling in streams, wetlands and floodplains.

Linda Prokopy

Dr. Prokopy’s research focuses on the social dimensions of watershed management. She is overseeing interview and survey work in the watershed.

Marianne Bischoff Gray

Marianne is a research soil microbiologist in the Agronomy Department and lab manager for Dr. Turco’s research laboratory. She is the project manager for this study, directing a team of staff, graduate and undergraduate students who collect and analyze soils and do in-field soil physical measurements and preforms data analysis and collation.

Amanda Limiac

Amanda Limiac is Dr. McMillan's lab manager. For this project she oversees sample and data collection, laboratory analysis and data analysis. She also works with graduate students for sample analysis of all the projects.

Sara Peel

Sara Peel, CLM coordinates the St. Marys Watershed Project on behalf of Purdue University. Sara’s efforts focus on engaging groups already working with local producers, building cohesion in education efforts and compiling watershed-wide data to create a watershed baseline.