Christopher Jorelle Gillespie was born in Champaign-Urbana and grew up in Douglas Park, an area historically stagnated by racial segregation and economic curtailment. Raised by a single mother, Chris was introduced to the sciences by his grandmother, a former educator and University of Illinois affiliate. Chris received a bachelor’s degree in Crop and Soil Science from Michigan State University, an M.S. in Plant and Soil Science from Oklahoma State University, and is a 3rd-year Ph.D. candidate studying soil biogeochemistry at North Carolina State University (NCSU). His research strives to promote climate mediation in the agricultural sector through the amalgamation of sustainable management practices and science-based policy. Chris is a Center for Environmental Foods Systems Fellow, as well as an AgBioFEWS Fellow with the National Science Foundation. You can connect with Chris on Twitter (@SpoilTheSoil) or through his website at