Project Management

Project Coordinator

Walter P. Suza, Ph.D.

Iowa State University (ISU)
Adjunct Assistant Professor

Phone: (515) 294-4138

Office address:
1557 AGRON
716 Farm House Lane
Ames, IA 50011

Walter Suza serves as director of Plant Breeding E-Learning in Africa. Prior to this role, he was involved in curriculum development for the ISU Master of Science in Plant Breeding – online option. His current research is on regulation of phytosterol metabolism and abiotic stress tolerance in maize.

Suza earned a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics (with emphasis in plant molecular physiology) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He also has worked in central and southern Africa, including at the World Food Programme, Angola, and the United Nations Children's Fund, Zimbabwe, in the areas of food security assessment and mapping of vulnerable households, drought assessment, and coordination of food aid.

Curriculum Coordinator

Rita H. Mumm, Ph.D.
University of Illinois
Professor Emerita

Phone: (217) 244-9497

Office address:
AE-110 Turner Hall
1102 S. Goodwin
Urbana, IL 61801

Rita Mumm is the curriculum coordinator for PBEA. She joined the University of Illinois faculty to establish and direct the Illinois Plant Breeding Center in 2008. It is the preeminent graduate-level educational center for crop genetic improvement in the United States. She is professor emerita at the University.

Mumm has had an extensive career in crop improvement, which spans industrial seed product development, academic research, and plant breeding education.  She is a pioneer in developing some of the first biotechnological seed solutions in crops with DEKALB Genetics Corp., and in establishing a high-throughput molecular marker system to implement genomic information in seed product development. She is a named inventor on four U.S. patents.

Currently, Mumm serves as the Education and Training Lead for the USAID Soybean Innovation Laboratory, and is on the Board of Trustees for CIMMYT. Additionally, she is Principal at GeneMax Services, a consulting firm to the seed industry. She directs the University of California-Davis African Plant Breeding Academy, a continuing education program for African plant breeders--an initiative of the African Orphan Crop Consortium.  She also led the National Association of Plant Breeders (USA) in its fledgling years.

Professional Learning Community Coordinator

Michael Retallick

Iowa State University (ISU)
Professor and Chair
Phone:(515) 294-4810

Office address:
513 Farm House Lane
Ames, IA 50011

Michael Retallick, the PBEA Professional Learning Community coordinator, heads the Agricultural Education and Studies department at Iowa State University. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy in agricultural education from ISU, and a master’s degree in agribusiness at Kansas State University.

His areas of expertise include: the study of experiential learning as it relates to formal education at both the secondary and higher education levels; early field experiences and internships; teaching and learning in the classroom and via distance education; and also Science With Practice and learning communities.

Retallick is currently conducting research in the areas of contemporary methods of utilizing experiential learning in the secondary classroom; evaluating the role of reflection and critical thinking in experiential learning; and the Preflection, Experience, Reflection and Transfer (PERT) approach to experiential learning in formal education.

Department Chair

Kendall R. Lamkey
Iowa State University (ISU)
Chair, Agronomy Department

Phone:(515) 294-7840
Office address:
716 Farm House Lane
Ames, IA 50011

Kendall Lamkey is the chair of the Department of Agronomy at Iowa State University. As chair, he represents the department at the state, national and international levels. He is an advocate for research and the PBEA program, in addition to overseeing the Agronomy Department educational direction, its faculty, as well as Argonomy Extension and Outreach. Dr. Lamkey is a corn breeder and quantitative geneticist and conducts research on the quantitative genetics of selection response, inbreeding depression and heterosis.

Lamkey holds a Ph.D. in plant breeding from Iowa State University and a master’s in plant breeding from the University of Illinois.