A Soybean Extension Specialist and Assistant Professor at NC State, Rachel Vann credits her career in academia to good mentorship from her professors and undergraduate research experience at the University of Illinois that ignited a passion for agricultural research and outreach. A Geneseo, Illinois native, Vann graduated from the University of Illinois in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and a minor in Crop Sciences. Vann then moved on to NC State University where she completed her master's in 2015, and Ph.D. in 2017.
While at the University of Illinois, Vann took an interest in Crop Science. Her master’s, Ph.D., and current position are all focused mainly on that discipline. Vann would say that her most foundational experiences in the College of ACES came from working in undergraduate research with Dr. John Masiunas and Dr. Richard Mulvaney. Additionally, her involvement as an intern in the ACES Office of Academic Programs with Dr. Jason Emmert increased her interest in University dynamics and expanded her communication and leadership skills.
Vann had an amazing undergraduate experience as a student in the College of ACES. Not only did ACES give her the ‘home’ feeling after growing up in a small town, but she was also offered many unique opportunities that propelled her forward. Some of these opportunities included amazing study abroad experiences in Brazil and New Zealand and the opportunity to network with diverse University stakeholders through the Student Advancement Committee.
The research and Extension efforts that Vann focuses on at NC State revolve around agronomic management for soybeans. She spends her time educating students and producers across the state in an attempt to increase yields and and educate agricultural stakeholders on production recommendations. She currently has twelve scientific publications and a plethora of Extension outreach material available on diverse aspects of crop production in North Carolina.
In her free time, Vann enjoys running, cooking from the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks, cheering on Illinois (and Wolfpack!) athletics, and spending time with her husband Matthew and son Orrin.