Transforming Agriculture, Perennially


Elise Elizondo


Elise comes from Lake Worth, Florida. She graduated from The Pennsylvania State University, May of 2020, with a B.S. in Plant Sciences and minors in Agronomy, Entomology, International Agriculture, and Music Performance. Originally, she was a Food Science major on a pre-med track and very involved in school, participating in 10 organizations. Elise was admitted into the Women in Science and Engineering Research Internship Program under Dr. Ebony Murrell her first year at Penn State. With Ebony’s help, she conducted a research project in the Kaye Biogeochemistry lab studying the effects of cover crops on corn, depending on the cover crop species’ ability to increase soil nitrogen, which she presented at the Gamma Sigma Delta research expo. She continued to work in the lab until her senior year. The summer of 2018, Elise interned at University of Nebraska-Lincoln through the Research Experience for Undergraduates program. Through the program, she published Soil Microbial Communities Under Cover Crops on the university’s Cropwatch website, and presented a poster at the American Society of Agronomy conference. She performed computational analysis at the Renner lab to develop gene trees in her final semester at Penn State.


What would people never guess that you do as part of your role at TLI?
I take cassettes of roots, and tie them in the socks you use when you try on shoes at the store.

What drew you to work at TLI?
I wanted to get experience with an agricultural non profit that has values that align with my own. I am really interested in doing research on sustainable agricultural practices while reaching the growing food demand.

What’s one aspect of your life history that most people don’t know or wouldn’t expect?
Growing up, my mom wanted to teach me to never limit myself by getting me involved in a multitude of activities. I was on the basketball, soccer, softball, and track teams. I went to skateboarding camp. I did musical theatre, modeling, and pageants. I was paid to be in the audience of a Spanish TV show. I learned to play the clarinet, piano, guitar, alto and tenor saxophone. I was in the jazz band, concert band, symphonic band, wind ensemble, and marching band. I am a marching band national champion.

What else are you passionate about (outside of work)?
I am passionate about traveling. I have been to 9 countries and 15 states.

What’s your motto / favorite quote?
“The most essential factor is persistence – the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come.” – James Whitcomb Riley

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