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Dr. Wan-Yuan Kuo, Director

Personal Website

Contact: (406) 994-3259 | [email protected]

Graduate Researchers

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Edwin Allan

Contact: [email protected]
Résumé (PDF)

Hometown: Damolgu, Ghana

Education: Edwin received his M.S. in Sustainable Food Systems and is currently a doctoral student at MSU. He received his B.S. in Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Ghana.

FPDL Involvement: Currently, Edwin is researching the culinary and nutritional quality of Montanan vs. Washington lentils and chickpeas and experimenting with extrusion processing of Montana lentils and chickpeas. As a master's student, he led the development of a culturally-sensitive peanut product for smallholder farmers in Kaffrine, Senegal. Edwin developed his passion for improving value-added agriculture as a youth in Damolgu, where crop farming is the main occupation.


  • Outstanding Graduate Student in Sustainable Food Systems, Montana State University - 2020 spring semester
  • Montana State University’s graduate award in Scholarship Excellence – 2020 spring semester
  • Judges’ Choice Award in Montana State University $50K venture competition
  • First Place in the Developing Solutions for Developing Countries Competition (DSDC), Institute of Food Technologists 2020 conference

Published works

Other Interests: Playing basketball, reading novels, and playing word games.

Chidimma Ifeh profile photo

Chidimma Ifeh

Contact: [email protected], LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/in/chidimma-ifeh

Hometown: Anambra, Nigeria

Education: Chidimma is currently enrolled in Sustainable Food Systems master program at MSU. She earned a B.S. in Food Science and Technology from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria.

FPDL Involvement: Machine learning, Conduct fermentation research work/ Senegal women farmers, & support the Lab's service or outreach projects.

Awards: Leader of the year, Nigerian Association of Food science and Technology students.

Other interests: Watching sport games, exercising, Reading, Playing music, and Volunteering.


Undergraduate Researchers

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Hannah Kempf

Hometown: Bozeman, MT

Education: Junior year student pursuing a B.S. in Chemical Engineering.

FPDL Involvement: Member of team PATH. Focused on researching the nutritive effects of fermentation on the African baobab fruit.

Other Interests: Skiing, hiking, cooking, baking, and exploring the outdoors with her Labrador retriever Atlas.

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Ravi Pirati

Hometown: Tenali, Andhra Pradesh, India.

Education: Persuing a Master's in Chemical Engineering

FPDL Involvement: Developing recipes for extruded lentil texturized vegetable protein, extruded lentil snack puffs, and extruded lentil pasta from lentil starch and protein concentrate using a twin screw pilot scale extruder.

Other Interests: Hiking, playing Badminton and cricket, watching movies and listening to music.

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Olivia Schwintek

Hometown: White Bear Lake, Minnesota

Education: B.S. in Sustainable Food Systems and Dietetics, 2022

FPDL Involvement: Member of the PATH team in the Food Product Development Lab since last fall, 2020.

FPDL Awards: Finalist in the MSU Venture 50k Competition spring 2021.

David Sewell

Education: Pursuing a major in Dietetics

FPDL Involvement: Extrusion Lab Manager

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Rebecca Soule

Hometown: Bellevue, Washington

Education: A senior pursuing a B.S. in Hospitality Restaurant Management: Farm-to-Table; Associate of Applied Science with Honors in Culinary Arts from Gallatin College, MSU, in 2020.

FPDL Involvement: Assists with graduate student projects offering her expertise in culinary arts, recipe development, and food storytelling.

Awards: Hilton Garden Inn Scholarship 2022, 2019; Sysco Montana Inc. Hospitality Management Scholarship 2022, 2020, 2019; Uhlmann-Barrett Rising Star Award Scholarship 2021; Hospitality Management Industry Partners Scholarship 2021; Yellowstone National Park Lodges Hospitality Management Scholarship 2020; MUS 2+2 Honors Scholarship 2019; Future of Business in Montana Award Scholarship 2018

Other Interests: Being outside, photography, reading, watching movies, and listening to music.


Erin Falls headshot

Erin Falls, Lab Manager

Contact: [email protected]

Erin is a Registered Dietitian, Yoga Teacher and Founder of Planks & Pizza, a one-stop wellness shop focused on empowering others to discover a balanced lifestyle that is flexible, fun and rewarding – aka, "balance their planks with a little pizza."

Erin went to UNC-Chapel Hill graduating with a B.A. in Journalism and minor in Spanish. Her passion for helping others discover their healthiest, best life inspired her to pursue her Masters in Nutrition after working six years in a larger corporate environment, and realizing she wanted to take things in a different direction.

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Sumedha Garg, Program Manager

Contact: [email protected]

Sumedha is from Auckland, New Zealand and is assisting with the FPDL's specialty crop projects and team PATH projects. She graduated from MSU in 2022 with a M.S. in Sustainable Food Systems and a B.S. in Food Technology with a major in Food Product Development from Massey University, New Zealand. Sumedha's passion is to develop nutritional food products that make our local food system more resilient. Her hobbies include baking, hiking, traveling internationally, and exploring different lifestyles.

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Dominic Pisaneschi, Research Engineer

Contact: [email protected]

Dominic is from Portland, Oregon and graduated from MSU in 2022 with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering. A goal for his career is to make the world a better place for all people, and his drive to learn new things will help him with his goals. He loves to stay active, especially by playing racquetball and softball. He also enjoys music, both listening and playing.

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Rebecca Richter, Media Manager & Program Coordinator

Contact: [email protected]

A former resident of Montana for 20 years, Rebecca is now a digital nomad seeking warm weather and beautiful hiking spots with her 1992 Toyota motorhome. Rebecca has a B.S. in Archaeology from University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and an M.S. in Plant Biology from Arizona State University. She served in the U.S. Peace Corps in West Africa, managed a non-profit organization in Missoula, Montana, and worked for the National Audubon Society for many years. Rebecca is passionate about living and teaching about the whole food plant based lifestyle for health and sustainability.

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Sophia Seffrood, Extrusion Program Manager

Contact: [email protected]

Sophia is a 2022 graduate of Montana State University with a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering and a cum laude Honors Baccalaureate. She grew up on a dairy farm in Summit, South Dakota and interned two summers at Valley Queen Cheese Factory. A goal for her career is to work cooperatively with food processors to decrease energy, labor, and food waste. She enjoys the Bozeman outdoors, traveling, and dreams of having a big garage to work on personal projects.