Our Team

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Rachel Owen, PhD | Director

Rachel received her PhD in the School of Natural Resources, researching the impact of a changing climate on wetland ecosystems and landowner perceptions of climate and agricultural threats in the Great Plains. Prior to moving to Missouri, she completed her B.S. in Agronomy and Global Resources Systems at Iowa State University and her M.S. in Plant Science from South Dakota State University. She has been involved in leadership and professional organizations through the duration of her university career, including Co-Director of VEISHEA, Inc. at Iowa State, Founder of the Plant Science Graduate Student Association at South Dakota State University, and Graduate Representative to the Board of Directors of the Soil Science Society of America. Additionally, Rachel serves as an soil science instructor at University of Missouri, coaching the Mizzou soil judging team – Go Tigers!

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Joel Lesher
| Undergraduate Intern

Joel is a Junior at the University of Missouri-Columbia. His main areas of study include chemistry and political science, with a focus on the way science shapes the legislation that passes through the Missouri State Government. Although studying in Columbia, Joel was born and raised in Kansas City. Growing up in KC, he got involved in sports like tennis and soccer, and created his high school’s Ping Pong Club. Joel is a member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity where he works as the Community Service chair. MOST Policy Fellows is an exciting start to what he hopes will be a brighter future for Missouri. Joel is eager to get in on the ground floor and see what positive changes can be made in our state government.

Emily Miller| Graduate InternMiller_Headshot.png

Emily is a master’s candidate in Rural Sociology at the University of Missouri, where her area of interest is local food systems and their linkages to rural communities. In her work, she strives to promote sound policies and programs that benefit folks in rural communities through a number of channels, including viable economic markets, environmental stewardship, and improved quality of life. She received her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University, where she double majored in Animal Science and Agriculture & Society. Emily has interned with the National Reining Horse Association, served as a Horticulture Research Aid at the USDA North Central Plant Introduction Station, and judges horse shows throughout the Midwest. More recently, she served as a Legislative Clerk in the Iowa House of Representatives, and currently serves on the board of directors for the Iowa Farmers Union and the Women, Food & Agriculture Network.