Duke Campus Farm Staff

Saskia Cornes, Duke Campus Farm

Saskia Cornes


Program Director, Duke Campus Farm

Assistant Professor of the Practice, Duke Franklin Humanities Institute


Dr. Saskia Cornes took the helm at the Duke Campus Farm in June 2014. She received her formal farm training on the 30-acre farm at UC Santa Cruz’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (known as the Farm & Garden), where she started as an apprentice and ended as an instructor. But most of her farming knowledge comes from farming alongside others – mainly with small-scale organic growers, but also with college students, chefs, and at-risk youth, including stints at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, Added Value/Red Hook Community Farm, and smallholdings in India, Scotland and Spain. She has been working in and around the campus farm movement since 2009, designing experiential curricula in critical food studies for Columbia University, the University of San Francisco, UC Santa Cruz and Hostos Commmunity College. Saskia holds a PhD in English Literature from Columbia University and teaches in the environmental humanities through Duke's Franklin Humanities Institute. When she’s not out in the field, she’s bringing the field to campus, working with departments and programs across Duke to rethink our relationship to food and to the land and people that grow it.


Emily McGinty


Assistant Program Manager


Emily supports DCF’s co-curricular programming and student engagement by building connections across student, faculty and community spheres. Emily has been with the farm since its inception in 2010. She enjoys connecting with other campus farms to strengthen the broader movement toward developing interdisciplinary, experiential food systems education. When Emily isn’t busy working alongside the student farm crew or scheming DCF’s next co-curricular program, she’s probably chatting with a neighbor.


Photo of Izzy Brace

Izzy Brace


Field Education Manager


Izzy grew up on a farm in Western Maryland. In 2014, she began her career in agriculture working as the Community Garden Manager at Guilford College, where she has a degree in Ecology (BS) and Sculpture (BA). She continued her education working on small scale organic farms in Atlanta, GA and Cedar Grove, NC. In 2021, she received a certificate degree from the Organic Growers School based in Asheville NC. Izzy began her own small scale farm on a 1/8 of an acre in Greensboro, NC, growing vegetables and flowers for a weekly CSA and farmers market. Since then, she has moved onto more land in Alamance county and is raising chicken and duck for eggs and meat. She believes in reestablishing a somatic relationship with the land and connecting through food, education, and love for the natural world.


Photo of Maia Matheny
Maia Matheny


Sloss Fellow


Maia grew up in Maryland and graduated from Duke in 2022, where she studied Environmental Science and Gender Studies and worked as part of DCF’s student crew. From there she went on to work at Round the Bend Farm in South Dartmouth, MA, where she lived in a tiny house and learned more about dry land farming, herbalism, and chickens. Maia is thrilled to be back in Durham, where she will connect with students to facilitate and grow DCF’s educational programming. She cares deeply about embodied learning and movement and about living in community with land and more-than-human beings, and she hopes that these values guide her work at DCF.


Meet The 2022-2023 Academic Year Student Crew!


Olivia Headshot

Natalie Owens - My name is Natalie Owens, and I am the Student Farm Manager! I am in my second and last year(Woohoo!) as a graduate student at Duke Divinity School. I am studying Theology and the intersection between food and faith. I am passionate about feeding people and creating rich community through meals around the table. My dream is to open a farm to table cafe using family land outside of Richmond, VA. 

This is my second season being on the farm and I love every minute of it! My favorite things to do on the farm are anything greenhouse related, and I also love harvesting all the root veggies. I hope to see you at the farm :)

Ryan Headshot
​​​​​​Gurnoor Majhail (they/she) - I'm an undergraduate sophomore planning to major in History with minors in French and Education. I grew up in Ohio and Minnesota, but my family now lives in Nashville, TN. I'm really interested in how environmental education can cultivate reciprocal relationships of care between people and the environment, and I became interested in growing food by helping out in the garden at a nature center I worked at this summer. I love camping, birding, climbing, reading, crocheting (though I'm very slow), going on nature walks with friends, and bringing my kitten Jasmine on adventures in his backpack. I'm so incredibly excited to work at the farm with such a wonderful crew of people and learn about sustainable and equitable food systems!


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Kaitlyn Elliot (she/her) - I grew up in Blacksburg, VA and went to the University of Virginia for my undergrad. I got my BS in Environmental Science and minored in Global Sustainability. I am interested in water, how it moves, and the impacts climate change will have on water management. I came to Duke to get my Masters in Environmental Management with a focus in Water Resources. My hobbies include anything outdoors, bouldering, insects, hula hooping and playing with my cat.



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Skijler Hutson (they/he) - I'm from Los Angeles, California (proudly so). I WWOOFed before I came to Duke and I knew I wanted to continue farming when I came here.





Maia Headshot
Adeleine R. C. Geitner
- I am a sophomore from Hickory, North Carolina hoping to major in Public Policy and minor in Math.  Since being taught the simple truth that farmers understand the impacts of agricultural policy better than the average policymaker, I have been itching to muck around on a farm and learn how my supper makes it to my plate.  In my free time you might catch me listening to NPR, jogging, singing to myself, potting, spamming my contacts for an ice cream date, or for the not-so-lucky, trying my best at Appalachian-style fiddle.



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Sara Haas (she/her) - I am from Princeton, NJ and I enjoy hiking, cooking, knitting, and taking care of my plants. In the fall of 2020, I worked for the Conservation Corps in the Pacific Northwest, which is where I really fell in love with the outdoors. I am interested in conservation ecology.




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Reema Garabadu (she/her) - Reema is a returning crew member for her second year while attaining her Masters in Environmental Management at Duke. She loves all things agriculture and connecting food, people, and land to one another. Outside of the farm, you will find her going on long aimless walks, sewing clothes, or hiccuping.




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Emma Childs (she/her) - A longtime (and sometimes successful) herder of chickens and children, Emma is a first-year graduate student at the Nicholas School studying forestry and ecosystem science & conservation. She comes to Durham from the Blue Ridge Mountains around Asheville, NC after spending the last decade farming, working at a community garden to pizza cafe, teaching in environmental education settings, and organizing grassroots conservation projects at a variety of non-profits. She is delighted to have the soil of the Piedmont under her fingernails and is looking forward to engaging with the vibrant web of relationships at DCF. She is particularly interested in rural working lands economies, thoughtful management that overlaps agriculture and conservation, and community health. Also a trained birth doula, she always enjoys being in the forest, growing food, cooking food, sharing food, dancing of all kinds, bird-themed dress-up parties, and early mornings.
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Laura Polo Gomez - I'm a junior from Queens, NY who regularly drives hours out of the city just to hike and see some greenery. At Duke, I'm studying International Comparative Studies with a regional concentration in Latin America and the Caribbean. I discovered my love for the outdoors at summer camp in Vermont (still one of my favorite places in the world) where I worked at the stables and on a local family-owned vegetable farm. I am also proudly Indigenous and the daughter of a mother who grew up on a ranch in Colombia. In my free time, you can find me writing and reading poetry, listening to music (I collect vinyls!), and cooking for my friends.