COS Doctoral Students Named "Student Innovators to Watch" by UNT Research and Innovation | College of Science
May 30, 2024

COS Doctoral Students Named "Student Innovators to Watch" by UNT Research and Innovation

UNT students are learning firsthand how their innovation can impact a range of fields from art and science to education and cybersecurity.

Sydney Schoellhorn, a chemistry doctoral student, is investigating a fungal endophyte known as Sarocladium zeae that grows naturally on corn. It appears to shield corn from other fungal pathogens that secrete mycotoxins. Schoellhorn is studying the behavior of the fungus independent of its corn host to get a better understanding of its genetic blueprint, which could have huge implications for food safety and preventing food spoilage.

Her research is supported by a $180,000 predoctoral fellowship through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Schoellhorn is the first UNT student to earn this type of USDA fellowship, which focuses on agricultural-based research.

Krystal Toney, an environmental science doctoral student, has gained a deeper knowledge of nature's interconnectedness while also discovering that access to nature isn't always equitable. She is researching the disparities in access to conservation education and nature among Black and low socioeconomic students.

Through her blog Black in Nature, Toney sheds light on inequity and quells the misconception that Black people aren't doing environmental work. Her efforts to elevate Black voices have led to speaking engagements and two children's books about bugs. During her time at UNT, Toney has worked with the Dallas Environmental Education Initiative. She hopes to land a full-time job in environmental science in the future.

Via UNT Research and Innovation