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Graduate Student Directory

Berry and Potato Pathology

Dr. Chakradhar Mattupalli, Plant Pathology Department

Roshani Baral – M.S. student
Research Focus: Botrytis management in blueberries
Start Date: Spring 2022

Purnima Puri – M.S. student
Research Focus: Biology and management of silver scurf disease of potato
Start Date: Summer 2022


Dr. Louie Nottingham, Horticultural Crops Entomologist

Molly Sayles (Wenatchee) – Ph.D. student
Research Focus: Advancing Extension Programs for Pear IPM and Development of Novel Monitoring Techniques
Start Date: Fall 2021

Small Fruit Horticulture

Dr. Lisa Wasko DeVetter, Horticulture Department

Kayla Brouwer – M.S. student
Research Focus: Pollination of highbush blueberries
Start Date: Spring 2022

Alexandre Dias da Silva

Alexandre Dias da Silva – Visiting Ph.D. student
Research Focus: Understanding the timing of calcium accumulation in raspberries to better inform calcium fertilizer programs
Start Date: Spring 2022

Salena Helmreich  – Ph.D. student in Entomology (co-advisor)
Research Focus: Pollination of highbush blueberry and wild bees
Start Date:  Fall 2021

Laura Webb – M.S. in Ag student
Research Focus: Optimizing plant care in a changing climate
Start Date: Spring 2023

Ben Weiss – M.S. student
Research Focus: Hydromulching in berry crops
Start Date: Spring 2023

Soil Health

Dr. Deirdre Griffin LaHue, Crop and Soil Sciences Department

Madeline Desjardins

Madeline Desjardins – Ph.D. student
Research Focus: Soil health impacts of biosolids amendments, cover cropping, and grazing in dryland systems of central Washington.
Start Date: Summer 2021

Evan Domsic

Evan Domsic – Ph.D. student
Research Focus: Relationships between soil health & quinoa nutritional quality.
Start Date: Summer 2021

Kwabena Sarpong – Ph.D. student
Reseach Focus: Assessing soil health and the relevancy of soil health indicators across major specialty crops in Washington state.
Start Date: Spring 2020

Annah Young – M.S. in Ag student
Research topic: Impacts of perennial grains on soil health
Start date: Spring 2022

Soils & Water

Dr. Gabriel LaHue, Crop and Soil Sciences Department

Paul Martinez

Paul Martinez – Ph.D. student
Research Focus: Impacts of soil health management practices on the physical and chemical properties of soils and on grain quality.
Start Date: Fall 2022

Jessica Mulvey – M.S. in Ag student
Research Focus: Biofortification and ex-situ conservation for crop micronutrient content
Start Date: Spring 2021

Harmony Varner

Harmony Varner – M.S. in Ag student
Research Focus: Evaluating the potential of farmer-led experimentation to address localized and emerging water management challenges in agriculture.
Start Date: Summer 2021

Chloe Waters – M.S. in Ag student
Research Focus: Critical soil and plant tissue thresholds to guide nitrogen management
Start Date: Spring 2023

Claire Yost

Claire Yost – M.S. in Ag student
Research Focus: Deficit irrigation in cider apples.
Start Date: Fall 2022

Vegetable Horticulture

Dr. Carol Miles, Horticulture Department

Seth Brawner

Seth Brawner – M.S. student
Research Focus: Mechanized hedging and harvest of cider apples.
Start Date: Fall 2022

Alex Cornwall

Alex Cornwall – Ph.D. student
Research Focus: Identifying Lactuca sp. with genetic barcoding and taxonomy and gene exploration of wild relatives of Lactuca sativa.
Start Date: Fall 2020

Julie Figgins

Julie Figgins – M.S. in Ag student
Research Focus: Protein-rich Wholesome Popping Beans to Enhance Agricultural production, Nutrition and Sustainability.
Start Date: Spring 2022

Ann Kowenstrot

Ann Kowenstrot – M.S. in Ag student
Research Focus: Rhubarb Research in Alaska and Recommended Varieties for Commercial Production
Start Date: Fall 2021

Srijana Shrestha –  Ph.D. studentResearch Focus: Developing tea plant propagation methods for nursery production in Washington.Start Date: Fall 2022

Vegetable Seed Pathology

Dr. Lindsey du Toit, Plant Pathology Department

Stephanie Crane

Stephanie Crane – M.S. in Ag student
Research Focus: Management of Pseudomonas syringae pv. aptata in table beet and Swiss chard.
Start Date: Spring 2020

Marilen Nampijja – Ph.D. student
Research Focus: Management of Pseudomonas syringae pv. aptata in table beet and Swiss chard seed production.
Start Date: Spring 2020

Zephyr Papin-Tillery

Zephyr Papin-Tillery – M.S. in Ag student
Research Focus:
Start Date: Summer 2022

Kayla Spawton – Ph.D. student
Research Focus: The ecology and management of Stemphylium leaf spot of spinach.
Start Date: Fall 2018

Sustainable Seed Systems Lab

Dr. Kevin Murphy, Crop and Soil Sciences Department

Rachel Breslauer – Ph.D. student
Research Focus: Dissecting contributions of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa willd) and buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench) to agroecosystem and human health
Start Date: Fall 2019

WSU Breadlab

Dr. Stephen Jones, Crop and Soil Sciences

Merri Metcalfe – Ph.D. student
Research Focus: Accessibility, quality, and affordability of grain-based products from Western Washington with an emphasis on making nutritional food more available within our communities.
Start Date: Fall 2018

Robin Morgan – Ph.D. student
Research Focus: Exploring the intersections between breeding and baking.
Start Date: Fall 2018

Louie Prager – Ph.D. student
Research Focus: Breeding colored barley for malting, with a focus on varieties for organic agriculture.
Start Date: Summer 2020

Laura Valli – Ph.D. student
Research Focus: The agronomic and social aspects of rye in western Washington.
Start Date: Spring 2019

Completed Students

Ana Vida Alcala – Ph.D. (2013)
Dissertation Title: Management of Damping-off in Organic Vegetable Production in the Pacific Northwest.

Travis Alexander – Ph.D. (2018)
Dissertation Title: The postharvest quality implications of mechanically harvesting cider apples for growers and hard cider makers.

Matthew Arrington – Ph.D. (Fall 2017)
Dissertation Title: Optimization of pollination and fruit set in blueberry: Flower morphology, alternative pollinators, and nutrient supplementation

Abigail Attavar – M.S. (Spring 2019)
Thesis Title: Testing the field germination of Green Leaf and Cos lettuce seeds in cold conditions, in four locations across the U.S.

Kelly Ann Atterberry – M.S. (2015)
Thesis Title: Nutrition Education and School Garden Projects with K–12 Students to Promote Consumption of Dry Beans.

Alex Batson – Ph.D. (2022)
Dissertation Title: The genetic basis of pathogenicity to spinach of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. spinaciae.

Abby Beissinger – M.S. (Fall 2016)
Thesis Title: Proactive Approaches for Managing Potato virus Y in Western Washington.

Tessa Belo

Tessa Belo – M.S. (Spring 2022)
Thesis Title: <!–Impacts of irrigation and fertilization practices on bacterial diseases in onion bulb crops.–>

Amit Bhasin – M.S. (2020)
Thesis Title: Evaluating and optimizing fertilizer sources/rates in Organic Blueberry production in central Washington.

Alec Blume – M.S. in Ag (Summer 2022)
Thesis Title: Impact of soil fumigants on potato microbial communities

Callie Bolton – M.S. (2011)
Thesis Title: Organic Weed Control in a Newly Established Vineyard.

Brook Brouwer – Ph.D. (2015)
Dissertation Title: Plant breeding for regional food systems: investigating craft malt, disease resistance and production potential of barley and dry beans in western Washington.

Louisa Brouwer (Winkler)

Louisa Brouwer (neé Winkler) – Ph.D. (2015)
Dissertation Title: Building the genetic, agronomic and economic foundations for expansion of oat cultivation in western Washington.

Fairuz Buajaila – Ph.D. (2018)
Dissertation Title: Comparing poultry manure to commercial mineral fertilizers for nutrition and fruit quality of grafted and non-grafted tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L) in high tunnels.

Yixin Cai – M.S. (2020)
Thesis Title: Machine harvesting comparison and optimization of machine harvest intervals in fresh market blueberry.

Shannon Carmody – M.S. (2017)
Thesis Title: Management of the seedborne phase of light leaf spot (Cylindrosporium concentricum) and white leaf spot (Pseudocercosporella capsellae) in brassica crops.

Eric Christianson – M.S. (2014)
Thesis Title: Screening carrot germplasm for resistance to Xanthomonas hortorum pv. carotae.

Charles Coslor – M.S. (2013)
Thesis Title: Effects of Neonicotinoids on Adult and Immature Drosophila suzukii in the Laboratory and in an Experimental Blueberry Field.

Jeremy Cowan – Ph.D. (2014)
Dissertation Title: Impacts of High Tunnels and Bio-Degradable Mulch Systems on Tomato Yield and Quality.

Jamie Cummings – M.S. (2007)
Thesis Title: Evaluation of organic seed treatments for control of seedling blight/damping-off pathogens of spinach.

Sahar Dabirian – M.S. (Spring 2017)
Thesis Title: Optimizing watermelon grafting to control Verticillium wilt in Washington.

Pinki Devi – Ph.D. (2021)
Dissertation Focus: Propagation methods to increase the grafting success of watermelon and rootstock resistance to Verticillium dahliae.

Yushan (Sherry) Duan – M.S. (2012)
Thesis Title: Benefits of Cane Burning to Red Raspberry in the Pacific Northwest.

Jeffery Endelman – Ph.D. (2013)
Dissertation Title: Advances in Barley Genomics: Association analysis, Breeding values, and Consensus mapping.

Billie Juan Espejo – M.S. in Ag (2019)
Thesis Title: The development of bioassays to test antifungal activity of bacterial strains against Pythium aphanidermatum on cucumber

Weixin Gan – M.S. (2019)
Thesis Title: The growth conditions and cultivation management of tissue culture seedings of crabapple.

Emily Gatch – Ph.D. (2013)
Dissertation Title: Increasing the Capacity for Spinach Seed Production in the United States by Promoting Soil Suppression of Fusarium Wilt.

Shuresh Ghimire – Ph.D. (2018)
Dissertation Title: Efficacy of different biodegradable mulches on pumpkin yield and quality, and mulch biodegradability in Northwest Washington.

Jessica Gigot – Ph.D.
Dissertation Title: Root Health Management in Raspberries (Ph.D., 2011)
Thesis Title: Transmission of Phytophthora infestans on Volunteer Potato Tubers (M.S., 2006)

Charlene Grahn – M.S. (2015)
Thesis Title: Direct market production of baby-leaf salad greens during spring and fall seasons in Western Washington.

Ziduan (Paul) Han – M.S. (2014)
Thesis Title: Assessing the damage potential of the root lesion nematode Pratylenchus penetrans on raspberry varieties.

Pablo Hernandez-Perez – M.S. (2005)
Thesis Title: Management of seedborne Stemphylium botryosum and Cladosporium variabile causing leaf spot of spinach seed crops in western Washington.

Karen Hills – Ph.D. (2013)
Dissertation Title: Improvement of Small Grains Grown in Western Washington.

Sacha Johnson – M.S. (2012)
Thesis Title: Grafting Vegetables for Resistance to Verticillium dahliae.

Aiden Kendall

Aidan Kendall – M.S. (Spring 2022)
Research Focus: Developing resource-efficient cider apple production systems.

Qianwen Lu – Ph.D. (Spring 2022)
Dissertation Title: Advancing Floricane Raspberry Nutrient Management in the Pacific Northwest.

Brenda Madrid

Brenda Madrid – M.S. (2022)
Thesis Title: <!–Research Focus: Application of biodegradable plastic mulches and alternative plasticulture practices for June-bearing strawberry in western Washington.–>

Molly McIlquham

Molly McIlquham – M.S. (Spring 2022)
Thesis Title: Calibrating Soil Health Metrics for Washington State’s Primary Wine Grape Growing Region.

Yao Mu – M.S. in Ag (Spring 2019)
Thesis Title: Testing new crops for production potential in Northwest Washington.

Jennifer Niem – M.S. (2011)
Thesis Title: Effects of flooding on survival of Sclerotinia and Verticillium in potato field soils of western Washington.

Lucas Patzek – Ph.D. (2012)
Dissertation Title: Root Disease and Nitrogen Use Efficiency in Cereal/Vegetable Production Systems in Washington.

Marianne Powell – M.S. (2012)
Thesis Title: Biodegradable Mulches for Specialty Crops Produced Under Protective Covers.

Wiharti Purba – Ph.D. (Fall 2018)
Dissertation title:

Rachel Rudolph – Ph.D. (Fall 2017)
Dissertation Title: Management strategies for Phytophthora rubi andPratylenchus penetrans in floricane red raspberry in the Pacific Northwest

Amy Salamone – M.S. (2013)
Thesis Title: Effects of Temporary Flooding Rotations on Rhizoctonia solani AG-3 and on Soil Bacterial Communities in Western Washington

Cheyenne Sloan

Cheyenne Sloan – M.S. (2021)
Thesis Title: Nitrogen Supply from Soil Organic Matter: Predictors and Implications for Nutrient Management in Northern Highbush Blueberry

Ryan Solemslie – M.S. (2020)
Thesis Title: Cold season tolerance and prevalence of seedling blights in sweet corn in the Columbia Basin of Washington.

Alexandra Valeria Swidergal – M.S. in Ag (Fall 2015)
Thesis Title: Techniques for Evaluating Verticillium Wilt Resistance in Rootstocks Potentially Useful for Tomato Grafting

Robin Taylor – M.S. (2016)
Thesis Title: Quantification of Food Policy Groups within the Puget Sound Region.

Toby Una – M.S. (2021)
Thesis Title: Winter Cover Crop Suitability for Improved Soil Health in Northwestern Washington

Xuechun May Wang

Xuechun “May” Wang – M.S. (Spring 2022)
Thesis Title: Soil-biodegradable mulch in a double cropped strawberry and lettuce system and implications on splash dispersal of Botrytis cinerea.

John Weber – M.S. (2017)
Thesis Title: Management of white mold in sunflower seed crops in the semi-arid Columbia Basin of central Washington.

Jesse Wimer – M.S. (2015)
Thesis Title: Grafting Watermelons to Manage Verticillium Wilt in Washington State.

Caitlin Price Youngquist – Ph.D. (2014)
Dissertation Title: Agricultural use and community acceptance of biosolids compost produced at a rural waste water treatment plant.

Huan Zhang – Ph.D. (June 2020)
Dissertation Title: Studying the application of biodegradable mulches in tissue culture red raspberry.