Melissa Deist, Iowa State University, successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation in March 2018. Her research discovered important genetic pathways associated with response to Newcastle Disease virus (NDV) infection in resistant and susceptible chicken lines. In addition to her classes and research, Melissa was also active in teaching, including hands-on training in laboratory techniques in the GIP Innovation Labs in Ghana and Tanzania. She says “Traveling to Africa was a life-changing experience that entrenched the importance of this USAID-funded project and how far reaching its impacts could be. This motivated me on a daily basis to work hard on my research.” Melissa won several scholarships and awards for her graduate research including Research Excellence Award from Iowa State. She recently began employment as a research scientist with a company that develops tests for early detection of cancer. Congratulations, Melissa!