CIPM Welcomes International Scholars Through USDA-FAS Scientific Exchanges Program

Yu Takeuchi, Lauren Quevillon, and Godshen Pallipparambil

The Center for Integrated Pest Management (CIPM) at North Carolina State University (NCSU) continues to lead in international scholarly exchange, strengthening its portfolio through the USDA-FAS Scientific Exchanges Program (SEP). This fall, CIPM is mentoring two distinguished scholars—Dr. Henry Vacacela from Ecuador and Dr. Yeirme Yaneth Jaimes Suárez from Colombia. Drs. Lauren Quevillon, Yu Takeuchi, and Godshen Pallipparambil will mentor the scholars.

USDA-FAS Scientific Exchanges Program

The SEP is designed to advance knowledge in areas crucial to both the United States and its international partners—specifically, trade, trade policy, trade capacity building, and food security. The program aims to develop the next generation of agricultural scientists and serves as a critical vehicle for U.S. market development, particularly in agricultural trade.

The Program at NC State

Fellows attending the NC State onboarding session with their mentors and CALS Dean Garey Fox

Fellows in the program spend three months at NC State, where they are paired with faculty mentors. As part of their educational journey, they are often offered opportunities to attend conferences, including the World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue in Des Moines, Iowa. To ensure the sustainability of these collaborations, faculty mentors also conduct reciprocal visits to the scholars’ home institutions.

Meet the Scholars

Dr. Henry Vacacela


Dr. Vacacela serves as a researcher at Ecuador’s National Institute of Agricultural Research (INIAP). With academic roots in Agronomy and Entomology, he is currently investigating biological controls for significant pests, including phytophagous mites and fruit flies. During his time at CIPM, Dr. Vacacela aims to delve into the implications of climate change on the emergence and dispersion of new agricultural pests. Outside of the academic sphere, he is an avid runner, swimmer, and reader.

Dr. Yeirme Yaneth Jaimes Suárez


Dr. Jaimes Suárez is an Associate PhD Researcher at Colombia’s Research Center La Suiza, part of the Colombian Agricultural Research Corporation (AGROSAVIA). She specializes in Plant Pathology and is currently researching the population biology of cacao pathogens. At CIPM, she will focus on developing forecast models for newly emerging pests of cacao. When not researching cacao, she enjoys exercise, music, dancing, and reading.

Future Events

The scholars will have the exceptional opportunity to present their research through posters at the Norman E. Borlaug International Dialogue, to be held from October 24-26, 2023. This prestigious event gathers individuals from over 65 countries to discuss global food security and nutrition. The 2023 dialogue, themed “Harnessing Change,” aims to build on the previous year’s theme, “Feeding a Fragile World,” by focusing on innovation, adaptation, and diversification to improve systemic resilience.

Fellows with their CIPM mentors attending NC State onboarding session

The Borlaug Dialogue continues to offer both in-person and virtual modes of engagement, facilitating global access to crucial discussions on sustainable and equitable food systems. Inspired by Dr. Norman Borlaug’s legacy, the event champions those who are shaping the future of food and agriculture through innovative solutions.

CIPM’s Spring 2023 Scholars: Continuing a Legacy of International Collaboration

Drs. Idong and Amadou receiving their program completion certificates at NC State

Earlier this year, CIPM hosted two other scholars under the SEP program. Dr. Idongesit Umanah Mokwunye from Nigeria focused on integrated pest management, specifically on developing a pest forecast system for early detection and management. Dr. Amadou Oury Diallo from Senegal worked on climate-smart agricultural products that meet sanitary and phytosanitary measures and international trade barriers. Dr. Diallo aimed to improve risk assessments on sanitary and phytosanitary pests and to raise awareness among stakeholders about the importance of certified seeds.

Dr. Amadou with his CIPM mentors after a commercial nursery visit

CIPM is optimistic that these collaborations will not only further scientific inquiry but also pave the way for long-lasting international partnerships.