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Simone Schenkel

School: Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Department: Agriculture, Food and Environment

Research Interests: Conservation and Ecology, Animal Science, Water Science & Systems, Food Systems, Climate Change, Environmental Engineering, Business and Economics

TIE Affiliation

Environmental Research Fellowship


Launched in summer 2019, the OpenTEAM collaborative, or Open Technology Ecosystem for Agricultural Management, will become a community-driven platform to provide farmers and ranchers around the world with the best possible knowledge to improve soil health. OpenTEAM is a collaborative community of farmers, scientists and researchers, engineers, farm service providers, and food companies that are committed to improving soil health and advancing agriculture’s ability to become a solution to climate change. In this research, Simone will support technology development teams and agricultural networks at the Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and Environment, where OpenTEAM is hosted, to improve interoperability, create new shared software services and tools to increase farmer feedback and increase the value of environmental feedback to farmers and ranchers, researchers and ecosystem service markets. As a researcher on this effort, Simone will collect data that will inform the development of templates needed to effectively connect and share information internally and with partner hub farms. As a part of the initial OpenTEAM development, she will collect and record on-the-ground soil health data to be used in OpenTEAM research and development. Soil erosion is one of the world’s most serious environmental problems, and the advancement of our understanding of soil health and how to leverage agricultural management practices to ensure good soil health will undoubtedly contribute to a more food secure future globally and mitigate climate change.


Simone is a MS student in Agriculture, Food and Environment at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She expects to complete her studies in May 2021. Simone earned her undergraduate degree in Peace and Conflict Studies with a minor in Asian Studies. Prior to coming to Tufts, she spent 5 years in Washington, DC working on international development issues within the food security space. Her job for the last 3 years was to manage a portfolio of agricultural development projects spanning from the Republic of Georgia to Azerbaijan to Ethiopia. Simone’s time working with farming communities overseas offered more questions than answers about the future of global food security in the face of climate change. This led her to start an MS in AFE to study how climate change is and will continue to impact farmer livelihoods, and what measures we can take right now to help mitigate these vast transformations in our agricultural landscapes while continuing to feed the world. At Tufts, she participates in a Coffee and Climate Change Journal Club, and is a Research Assistant at the Friedman School.

Current Studies and Future Goals

When asked what she found most meaningful about her field of study, Simone responded with the following: “The most meaningful element of my current field of study is this three-part interaction between agricultural production, climate and the environment, and our global food system. The future of our food and nourishment is deeply interlinked with our ecosystems and our supply chains. As such, thinking about feeding the world starts with the health of our soil and with our farmers having access to high quality information at critical decision-making points so that they can make the best possible choices for their land and their livelihoods.”

When asked what interested her in becoming a TIE Fellow, Simone responded with the following: “I have always wanted to conduct on-farm environmentally-focused agriculture research, and TIE is the perfect fit for this kind of academic inquiry.”

After Tufts, Simone wants to continue to work on issues of soil health and conservation in agriculture with farmers and stakeholders across the food system to ensure that everyone in our food system can participate in climate change mitigation at all points along the global food supply chain.

Fun Facts!

When not doing school work, Simone tries to get out and explore via hikes all over New England. She’s also an avid baker, currently trying to hone her bread skills, and loves cooking with friends. She also loves to try out creative ways to grow her own food.

Favorite food/drink: South Asian food

Favorite place you've visited: India

Favorite course taken at Tufts: Corporate Management of Environmental Issues

Other fun facts: I'm left handed