Local and Organic Food

Current Students

Kathryn A. Carroll

Department of Consumer Science

My website: www.kathrynacarroll.com
I am currently on the job market and expect my degree during the 2017-2018 academic year.
I am a PhD candidate studying Consumer Behavior and Family Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I serve as Lab Manager for the Behavioral Research Insights Through Experiments (BRITE) Lab, an interdisciplinary campus research facility for social sciences. I use experiments to examine questions in the area of consumer and purveyor decision making, as relates to food choice, product marketing, and health/nutrition. My work is designed to address real-world problems, with the goal of providing useful information for individuals, farmers/producers, policy makers, and retailers. Prior to joining UW-Madison, I completed a M.S. in Agricultural & Resource Economics at the University of Delaware, and previously worked as an Extension Educator at Delaware State University.

Richard Gaillard

Environment & Resources

Richard is a PhD student in the Environment & Resources Program of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. After earning a B.A. in Appropriate Technology and Sustainable Development from Appalachian State University, Richard came to UW-Madison hoping to develop his research skills and ability to improve agricultural sustainability. While earning an M.S. from UW-Madison’s Agroecology program, he explored how computer models can inform our understanding of the relationship between agricultural soils, management, and climate change. Yet, as many who work under the umbrella of “sustainability” often realize, Richard found that relationships and communication between people are more often the impediment to progress. Through his research in the Nelson Institute, Richard is exploring how agricultural researchers and members of the farming community interact and how those relationships can be improved by facilitating participatory research projects. While pursuing his interests in more qualitative studies, Richard is also continuing his work in computer modeling by investigating the effects of climate change on dairy systems.

Yuji Saikai

Agricultural & Applied Economics

Yuji is an idealistic, risk-taking, introverted, geeky foodie, studying complex systems. He grew up digital in Japan. Circa 2000, when starting a tech business was ever so cool, he dropped out of a physics undergrad. While developing resource management software for small-scale farmers and interacting with them, he found growing plants fascinating and much room for improving food systems. The idea of local food system began to dawn on him. To test his hunch, he developed an online service that delivered fresh produce to local people and facilitated interactions among them. In 2010, being convinced of its potential and seeking systematic knowledge, he went to New Zealand to study agribusiness at Massey University. As his interests drifted from entrepreneurship to social science, he eventually decided to pursue an academic career that, he believed, could help change the world. In 2015, the year after completing an honours degree in economics at the Australian National University, he came to Madison for PhD. His research focuses on applications of complexity science to food systems and community development. Working on agent-based modeling, he tries to incorporate key ‘subtleties’ claimed by various social scientists with techniques in AI and machine learning.

Tanya Novotnak


I’m a PhD student in School Psychology within the Educational Psychology Department at the University of Wisconsin, and the TA for the class Sustainable and Socially Just Consumption. I have a B.A. in psychology and French from Knox College, and I have spent time as an AmeriCorps Member, a behavior therapist, and a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin, West Africa. Most recently I was a research assistant on a NIDA Clinical Trials Network Study comparing two treatments for opiate addiction in Seattle, Washington. I’m interested in helping communities find new ways to promote health, well-being, and learning in children and young adults. Madison is my hometown and I love to bike and run all the beautiful trails and garden in my backyard.


Marcelo Amoretti

Computer Science

Marcelo is a visiting international student from Brazil in the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His major is computer science. He came to UW-Madison hoping to improve his programming and English skills. Marcelo is now developing a program to merge data from several surveys into one and analyze them together in order to help Professor Zepeda monitoring progress on classes.

Sara Kanizsai

Retail & Consumer Behavior and Psychology

Sara is a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in both Retail & Consumer Behavior and Psychology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Sara is currently a research assistant in the Behavioral Research Insights Through Experiments (BRITE) Lab, which is cooperatively run by the Wisconsin School of Business and the School of Human Ecology. She is specifically interested in learning more about the factors that influence the consumer decision making process, customer satisfaction, and cognitive dissonance. When not helping with research in the BRITE Lab, Sara often spends her time pondering whether coffee or tea is the better beverage or going on adventures around Madison with her roommates.

Akilah N. Davis

Food Science

Akilah is a POSSE scholar, Ronald E. McNair scholar, and a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in Food Science at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She is currently conducting research in her neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, analyzing food accessibility, influence of socioeconomic status, nutrition education, and food security. She hopes that her research will bring awareness to food resources, mobile markets, and community food organizations that are available for those in need.