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European plant breeding academy announces outstanding student for class 6

A BASF pepper breeder is the recipient of the UC Davis European Plant Breeding Academy Outstanding Student Award (Class 6). Italy’s Marta Graziani, who breeds Lamuyo peppers for BASF Vegetable Seeds in St. Agata, will receive the honor at the 2022 Euroseeds Congress in Berlin, Germany.

“This award is really about recognizing the best effort and perseverance of students during their studies. This is particularly significant right now considering the challenges posed by the pandemic to students of Class 6,” says Jovan Djordjevic, director of education for the UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy.

The UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy is a professional certificate program offered in the United States, Europe, and Africa. Participants attend half a dozen six-day sessions over two years. The instructors are internationally recognized experts in plant breeding and seed technology.

Class 6 was supposed to be the regular two years in length, but Djordjevic notes that due to the pandemic, it was extended to three years. Students faced a number of challenges as a result, including having to switch to a remote learning system, but they persevered, and Graziani stood out as particularly dedicated — especially considering she had a newborn while attending the academy.

“Class 6 was an exceptional one — we had many outstanding students. Any one of them could have gotten this award. That said, Marta came out on top. She would actively participate in all the group sessions, often leading the groups, and she would ask great questions. She really showed the drive to become a plant breeder,” Djordjevic says.

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