Meet the Small Fruit Horticulture (SFH) Team
Lisa Wasko DeVetter leads the state-wide SFH program and is based out of the Mount Vernon Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center. Originally from Iowa, Lisa developed her agricultural interests while spending summers on her family’s farm and helping her grandmother cultivate a diverse farmyard garden. Her horticultural interests deepened as she engaged in international development projects at Iowa State University (ISU), which is where she also earned her BS in biology and horticulture. She continued studying at ISU and got her MS in both horticulture and soil science before continuing on to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for her PhD. Lisa joined WSU in 2014 and is developing a diverse research and extension program with an emphasis on maximizing productivity and fruit quality, as well as ensuring the health of adjacent natural resources critical for small fruit crop production in the Pacific Northwest.
Sean Watkinson (Technician/Scientific Assistant) is originally from Texas, but calls Mount Vernon, Washington, home. He has been with WSU for over ten years and helps assists in all aspects of field, greenhouse, and laboratory work.
Rachel Rudolph (PhD candidate) is kind of from everywhere, but grew up primarily in Bowling Green, Kentucky. She attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and received her B.S. degree in Environmental Studies. Shortly after graduating she joined the Peace Corps and spent the next three years in Paraguay doing environmental education in elementary schools and working with farm families. After coming back from South America, Rachel decided to go to graduate school for horticulture in part because of the gardening work she did while in Paraguay. She received her MS from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. Her master’s research focused on biofumigation performance of Brassicas in a green chile pepper rotation system. It was while doing her MS work that Rachel became interested in fumigation alternatives. She is now interested in exploring those alternative options in Washington with red raspberries. Other research interests include: cover crops, integrated pest management, and green manures.
Matthew Arrington (PhD candidate) was born and raised in Western Washington. Directly after high school, Matt spent two years as in Ecuador. After returning to the United States, he attended Brigham Young University as a pre-dental student and didn’t find the joys of horticulture until his third year. After a quick course correction, he graduated with a B.S. in Horticulture and proceeded to California for an internship in almond and pistachio production. He has spent the last two years with Oregon State University working with tree fruit at the Hood River Research Station. His M.S. (Horticulture) work has dealt with crop load management in commercial pear, including root pruning and chemical thinning with abscisic acid (ABA). Matt enjoys working with growers and is interested in increasing efficiency and productivity in horticultural crops. He is looking forward to branching out from tree fruits to blueberries grown in Washington in Spring 2015.
Huan Zhang (MS Student) is the newest addition to the SFH team and will start May 2017. Huan is from Xi’an, the most historical city in China. Not too many people know this city, but they definitely know the ‘Terra-Cotta Warriors’ at his hometown. Huan attended University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Northwest Agriculture & Forestry University and received his B.S. in Horticulture. He has been in horticulture fields for many years and worked for agronomy and plant pathology laboratories during his junior and senior years. However, he gradually realized that his real interest is in field fruit and vegetable production. For Huan’s MS, he will be working on a project studying the application of biodegradable mulches in tissue culture red raspberry.
Clara TeVelde (Bedlington) (Undergraduate Research Intern) was born and raised in Whatcom County on a seed potato farm. She is graduating from Washington State University this May with her B.S. in Integrated Plant Sciences. She has worked in small fruits since she was fifteen and has grown to love the industry. After this internship, she hopes to either go to graduate school or find a job related to agriculture in either Whatcom County or Skagit County. In her spare time she loves to grow a variety of dahlias and learn new things about plants.