Desmi Chandrasena joined the board of Iowa Women in Agriculture in 2019. As a child, she developed a lifelong interest and curiosity about growing crops from frequent visits to her grandparents’ rice and vegetable farms.
Her strong passion to study in ag started as an undergraduate student in plant biotechnology from 2001-2005. For most of the next decade, she furthered her education in agriculture, educating students and then pursuing a career in agriculture. She earned a Masters in Entomology and was awarded a PhD in Plant Breeding and Genetics from Michigan State University.
Desmi has spent seven years in the agribusiness industry, primarily working as a research scientist for Corteva™ Agriscience (formerly Dow AgroSciences LLC). She has over 15 years of academic and industry research experience in plant genetics, entomology and breeding & biotechnology, working on multiple field crops, including soybeans, corn, cotton and rice. She currently serves as a Director of Regulatory Affairs at Spectrum Brands.
Since moving to Iowa in early 2018, she served on the Education & Outreach teams at her previous employment and continues to play an active role in engaging with local school communities to inspire the younger generation to pursue careers in sciences and agriculture. She has been a board member on the Iowa Governor’s STEM council since late 2019. Her passion to collaborate with external stakeholders and give back to the community has led her to serve on committees of volunteer organizations in Iowa focusing on youth education, economic empowerment, poverty alleviation and health.
Desmi lives in Clive, Iowa, with her husband and daughter. As an IWIA board member, she looks forward to advocating in ag and creating opportunities to engage with various stakeholders to inspire and influence Iowa women.