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2023 Alternative Fuels and Chemicals Coalition Conference

The Alternative Fuels and Chemicals Coalition (AFCC) Conference took place this past November in Washington D.C. Not only did the event include a panel moderated by Dr. Golden, but researchers Calista Albring, Krishna Kashiv, Sophie Creager-Roberts, John Robinson, and Framke Vitale were able to attend and hear from various panelists on an array of sustainability topics. 

The team attended one day of the conference and the two-hour panel. Here, the team met with individual panelists and were able to hear their thoughts on the effects of the bio economy in playing a role in climate smart commodities. 

Undergraduate senior Sophie Creager-Robers has been with the lab for about a year. As an Environment, Sustainability and Policy major, two of the organizations she has worked with prior were on the panel. 

A marketing management major with a minor in environment and society, Framke Vitale joined the lab in the spring of 2022. She started by researching vertical agriculture and consumer awareness of sustainable produce and now is on the KPMG project team.

“I think just hearing from each of the different groups is really beneficial to just hear about what their sort of organization’s role plays in the Greater Climate Smart Commodities Role,” Vitale said. “We sort of took those comments that we’ve learned and we’ve been incorporating it back into our research project, so it’s really beneficial on that side.”

Not only was the team able to apply panelist conversations to their own roles, but also see this relation in real time. Krsihna Kashiv, a graduate student in the computer science department, joined the lab just earlier this year in the spring of 2023. One of Kashiv’s most pivotal takeaways was his interaction with the Governor of Nebraska. 

“I was excited about this because I was working on the Planet Smart commodity dashboard where I could see the number of all plants that are available in Nebraska and I could verify what he was saying at that point of time,” Kashiv said. 

Another takeaway for Kashiv was the presence of individual research groups oriented towards collecting data based on climate smart commodities. 

“I think there was a good realization for us that there are individual researchers doing this work and data for creating the dashboard has to be done by ourselves,” Kashiv said. 

Undergraduate senior Sophie Creager-Roberts has been with the lab for about a year. As an Environment, Sustainability and Policy major, two of the organizations she has worked with prior were both present on the panel. Now, her focus is geared towards refined research.

“For Framke and I, we’re still researching to add content and refine the document we’ve been working on this whole semester, the technical bulletin for the KPMG,” Creager-Roberts said. “We’re working on formulating survey questions to ask stakeholders so that we can integrate real lived experience of producers.”

For now, the team is focused on IRB approval to conduct interviews as they look ahead. 

“I think a lot of progress has been made and I think the deliverables will even be a bit more accurate when we show them to Dr. Colton,” Kashiv said.

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