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Former Student Profile: Jessica Gigot

J_GigotJessica Gigot

Employer: Visiting Professor of Sustainable Agriculture, WWU Fairhaven College; Science Faculty, Northwest Indian College (2011-2017); Owner, Harmony Fields
Degree/Program: MS, Vegetable Pathology; PhD, Small Fruit Horticulture (2011)
Thesis/Dissertation: Root Health Management in Raspberries.

What you do in your current work?

I am a teacher, farmer and writer.

What was it like being a graduate student at WSU Mount Vernon NWREC?

I enjoyed working is such a dynamic agricultural valley. Being at WSU MV NWREC allows you a lot of opportunity to develop competency in lab, greenhouse and field work. There is also opportunity to see the direct application of your work through fields days and consistent grower involvement in the Center’s research and extension activities. While it is a small community of students compared to the Pullman campus, all of the staff and faculty are very friendly and supportive. This is a beautiful, rural place that offers students the opportunity to focus on their work and be immersed in progressive, working agricultural region.

How did being a graduate student at an R&E Center prepare you for your current employment?

This experience gave me a lot of outreach and research skills and it increased my familiarity and connection to national and global agricultural/food systems issues.

What advice you do have for prospective graduate students at WSU Mount Vernon?

It is important to come into your program with a clear project and area of focus. You should be encouraged to reach out to and learn from the community of faculty, students, growers and other stakeholders that utilize this valuable center. Be prepared to be self-reliant and independently motivated in order to string together the experiential makeup of your graduate program. Working at WSU Mount Vernon gives you a real taste of the research and extension life and don’t shy away from getting involved in all the events and program this place has to offer. While you may not have all the comforts of the main campus, this is a unique experience that can help learn about current state and potential futures of agriculture in Washington and beyond.