My graduate research is focused on morphological and genetic identification of endophytic and pathogenic fungi of cold hardy grapes grown here in the Midwest. The ultimate goal of my graduate research is to help determine and establish best practices for viticulturist that grow in our particular growing climate.
Hometown: Bemidji, MN
What is plant pathology to you?
Plant pathology is a way in which I can use plants and fungi to invent, transform, create and destroy for a living. For me, that is exactly the life I want to live.
Why did you decide to attend graduate school at the University of Minnesota? Tell us about your path to Plant Pathology.
My path to plant pathology at UMN was a rather direct one. I knew going into my undergraduate studies at Augsburg University that I wanted to do something involving plants but was unsure of what. I quickly introduced myself to the only exclusive plant professor on campus which lead to me conducting 3 years of research on brown stem rot of soybean under my mentor at Augsburg. I knew after that I wanted conduct plant pathology research as a career. Following undergrad, I gained some agricultural industry research experience at the UMN start-up Caylxt and thereafter gained government research experience at the UMN/USDA Cereal Disease Laboratory. During my time as a researcher at CDL, I realized I wanted to research pathogens of woody plant species and I started going to departmental seminars accordingly. Eventually, this lead me to meeting my now advisor and joining the UMN forest pathology lab. Attending UMN was an obvious choice for me to stay close to family and I particularly love a good strong Minnesota winter.
What do you hope to accomplish in your time at the University of Minnesota, and what are your goals for the future?
A lot. First and foremost, I want my graduate research to positively impact the kindling midwestern grape and wine industry by providing stakeholders with data-backed best practices. I also hope to become efficient in my research, a passionate student, a caring teacher, a role-model for underrepresented people, and an entertaining public science communicator.
What are some of your favorite hobbies?
I am an energetic individual and enjoy many various physical activities such as dancing, biking, longboarding, and snowboarding. Having once been a bike mechanic, I like getting my hands dirty by tweaking my own or sometimes other people's bikes or boards. On occasion I enjoy more sedentary activities like watching TV or gaming—The Legend of Zelda is my all time favorite series.
Department of Plant Pathology | 495 Borlaug Hall 1991 Upper Buford Circle | St. Paul, MN 55108 (612) 625-8200 | Fax: (612) 625-9728 | firstname.lastname@example.org