Grace is a first-generation college student from Muskogee, Oklahoma. Her mother is a hairstylist, and her father is a heavy equipment mechanic. Both are self-employed entrepreneurs who cheered Grace on every step of the way as she studied agronomy–the study of soil management and crop production–at Oklahoma State University. Grace went on to receive not only a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s and Ph.D. in Plant and Soil Sciences!
She is married to her high school sweetheart, Jace, who also works and A&M-Commerce managing cattle for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Together, they have a four-year-old son and a daughter on the way!
A Conversation with Grace
What earlier experiences helped prepare you for your teaching career?
My Ph.D. program at Oklahoma State prepared me for my career in ways I didn't expect. Part of my Ph.D. responsibilities were to design and teach a new course for my department! I was able to create a curriculum that took 8 field trips a semester to local farms, orchards, hay baling operations and research stations. These field trips were supplemented by guest lectures from topic experts. In retrospect, this portion of my Ph.D. prepared me very uniquely for my job by allowing me to work collaboratively with farmers, ranchers, extension agents, professors and students. I had to create a curriculum that incorporated nearly every aspect of agronomy, such as soil health and nutrition, crop selection, crop insurance and marketing, pest control, irrigation and even some specialty topics to Oklahoma (like dual-purpose wheat and regional wheat genetics). By working with such a diverse group of people, from beginners to experts, I was able to refine a distinct set of skills that are required to be a successful educator and researcher.
Tell me about a project you’re currently working on
I’m currently working on a project to create an index of soil aggregate stability in soils from different tillage systems and ecosystem types across the Texas Blackland Prarie. This index will provide a baseline of soil aggregate stability across the region and potentially be a tool farmers, land managers, and soil professionals can use when evaluating soil health.
What do you love most about your position?
I get to work with a variety of really cool people, from multi-generation farmers to first-generation college students. I essentially get to talk about my favorite topics—plants and soil—for a living!
Who has been one of your role models?
One of my Ph.D. advisors, Beatrix Haggard, is a significant role model to me. She was my undergraduate advisor at OSU, and when I decided to return to OSU for my Ph.D., she was my first call. Dr. Haggard is the second woman in the OSU Department of Plant and Soil Sciences to earn tenure in twenty years! She is also a professor who genuinely cares about her students and models it in a tangible, apparent way. I’ve never met someone so creative with their teaching tools. For example, she created an entire workshop on how to teach K-12 students soybean growth stages using Legos! Dr. Haggard also conveyed a lot of life lessons outside of academia. She is engaged in her community and family, and has a good work-life balance. As I have become an assistant professor, I quickly realized how critical that balance is, and Dr. Haggard has been there to share advice and experience as a graduate student, professor, early career academic and working mother. She’s made a huge impact on me, and I’m really grateful to have her as a role model and mentor.
- Ph.D., Plant and Soil Sciences, Oklahoma State University, 2023
- M.S., Plant and Soil Sciences, Texas Tech University, 2020
- B.S., Plant and Soil Sciences, Oklahoma State University, 2018
Honors and Awards
- Oklahoma State University Department of Plant and Soil Sciences Outstanding Ph.D., 2023
- Weed Science
- Soil Science
- PLS 1307 Intro to Plant Science
- PLS 309 Soil Science
- PLS 326 Forage and Pasture Crops
- PLS 434 Weed Science (Undergraduate level)
- PLS 506 Weed Science (Graduate level)
- PLS 597 Agronomy Special Topics
Ogden, G. F., & Dotray, P. A. (2022). Managing Palmer Amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) with Sequential Applications of Glufosinate and 2, 4-D. Journal of Experimental Agriculture International, 44(9), 180-187.
Garcia, G. A., Warren, J. G., Abit, S., Garcia, C., & Flusche Ogden, G. (2022). Sample processing impacts on single wet sieve aggregate stability analysis. Agricultural & Environmental Letters, 7, e20094. https://doi.org/10.1002/ael2.20094
Ogden, G. F., & Dotray, P. A. (2021). Using Glufosinate in Sequential Application Systems with Dicamba on Palmer Amaranth. Journal of Experimental Agriculture International, 13(4), 10-20.