Elena Hill

Elena Hill

Graduate Program: Agroecology M.S. – Tracy Lab/Team Sweet

Home town: Oneida Reservation, Wisconsin

Estimated graduation date: Agroecology | Class of 2024

Tell us a little bit about your program (research/teaching):

Shekoli! I am an agroecology Master’s student working with Team Sweet. My research focuses on working with Indigenous seed keepers on seed sovereignty and seed keeping techniques. I will be conducting interviews with Tribal community members in Wisconsin. This work sits within a larger frame of interest relating to Indigenous agriculture, Tribal producers, and food sovereignty.

How will your research impact the world outside academia?

The intersectional nature of Agroecology, as well as the flexibility of the public practice track, means I was able to design my project in a way which gives the knowledge and stories I gather from interviewees back to their communities in an accessible format. This final deliverable will aid in the rematriation and seed keeping efforts of these Tribal communities. Alongside my research, I have also had the opportunity to meet with and learn from so many incredible visionaries and scientists from across turtle island. I am able to then bring these teachings and connections back to my community.

What would you most love to be doing professionally in ten years?

It took me so long to write this bio because of this very question! I hope that in 10 years I will be at a position in my career that allows for the flexibility to wear a few different hats. It would be fantastic to work with seeds, soil, and people in some sort of capacity.  I would also value a position that allows for mentorship opportunities, so I can continue to pass down the knowledge that my own mentors lent to me.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Madison?

Whenever I travel, I really enjoy visiting local zoos and aquariums. I definitely have a soft spot for the Henry Vilas Zoo here in Madison. 

What music keeps you going while doing research and writing?

Usually I just find a curated playlist for writing or studying, but lately I have been hooked on Noah Kahan and Hozier.