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Institute for Food and Agriculture



Susan M. Pheasant, Ph.D.

Phone: 559.278.4405



Dr. Susan Pheasant was hired in August 2018 as the 6th Director of the Institute for Food and Agriculture (IFA). Dr. Pheasant has consulted with national and international agribusinesses and non-profit organizations to implement change technologies and educational programs, helped growers prepare for 3rd party food safety certification audits, and conducted audits in the fresh fruit/vegetable industries. Most recently she held the position of director of the Ag Business and Technology Institute at Hartnell College in Salinas, CA.  She is part of a six-generation lineage of apple growers within the United States (primarily Washington State). However, her “friends” fondly describe her as a “world nomad fruit bum.”

Dr. Pheasant’s educational background includes undergraduate degrees in Agricultural Economics and Business Administration (Washington State University) as well as an MBA-Ag Specialization (Cal Poly-SLO) and an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. incorporating ag econ, marketing, education, and rural sociology (WSU) to evaluate how growers make decisions to adopt new technologies and ideas. She collaborates regularly with food safety experts around the country to steward the Harmonized food safety standard as well serves on the GLOBAL G.A.P. national technical working group. 

Administrative Coordinator  

Diane Martinez

Phone: 559.278.4405

Student Assistants

Morgan Henson, Agricultural Education- Teacher Prep

Taylan-Kaan Unal, Business Administration- Entrepreneurship

Research Associates

Serhat Asci, Ph.D.,
Phone: (559) 278-8590
Serhat Asci Bio
 Katy Tarrant, Ph.D
Phone: (559) 278-2901 
Katy Tarrant Bio
Sara Griffin, Ph.D
Phone:(559) 278-2558
Sara Shinn Bio
Avery Culbertson, Ph.D
Phone: (559) 278-2904
Avery Culbertson Bio
Amanda McKeith, Ph.D
Phone: (559) 278-4331
Amanda McKeith Bio
Jiaochen (Jason) Liang, Ph.D 
Phone: (559) 278.5686
Jiaochen (Jason) Liang Bio
Kyle Thompson, Ph.D
Phone: (559) 278-2873
Kyle Thompson Bio
Jacob Wenger, Ph.D
Phone:  (559) 278-7754
Jacob Wenger Bio