Employer: Assistant Professor, WSU Extension
Degree/Program: PhD, Vegetable Horticulture (2013)
Thesis/Dissertation: Impacts of High Tunnels and Bio-Degradable Mulch Systems on Tomato Yield and Quality.
What are you doing now?
Currently serve as the Extension Regional Horticulture Specialist for Northeastern Washington and Interim Director for WSU Spokane County Extension. I provide education and consultation for small-scale farm operators, nursery industry regarding horticultural crop production in the region.
What was it like being a graduate student at WSU Mount Vernon NWREC?
Graduate studies at WSU NWREC was great. All of the Center faculty made themselves available to graduate students, regardless of whose program you were part of, and the level of collegiality among students and faculty was remarkable. The facilities left little to be desired, and the concerted effort to bring access to academic programming to Mount Vernon was great. While the relationships developed between students and faculty were both strong and productive, being off-campus did limit the “traditional” graduate experience. However, in all, I have no regrets.
How did being a graduate student at an R&E Center prepare you for your current employment?
Having had significant exposure to field work and ready access to growers, who played an active role in research, gave me a confidence and understanding of grower practices and needs that working on campus may not have provided. Additionally, faculty advisors across the programs at NWREC encourage students to present their work frequently, and provide ample support to do so.
What advice do you have for prospective graduate students at WSU Mount Vernon?
If you are looking at studying at WSU NWREC, take time to research the Skagit Valley, its climate, growing conditions, and how that environment will affect you personally, and professionally. Evaluate your preferences for interaction among other students and faculty. While the numbers may be lower, the quality of interaction with each person will be more rich.