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Small Fruit Horticulture Team

Lisa Wasko DeVetterLisa Wasko DeVetter, PhD

Lisa leads the state-wide SFH program and is based at the Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center in Mount Vernon, Washington.  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 grew 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 has developed a diverse research and extension program with an emphasis on maximizing productivity, fruit quality, and on-farm efficiencies, while ensuring the health of adjacent natural resources critical for small fruit crop production in the Pacific Northwest.

Phone: 360.848.6124
Twitter: Lisa DeVetter@WSU_SmallFruits
CV: DeVetter_CV_2017

Sean WatkinsonSean Watkinson, Technician/Scientific Assistant

Sean is originally from Texas, but calls Mount Vernon, Washington, home.  He has been with WSU for over twelve years and helps assists in all aspects of field, greenhouse, and laboratory work.


Current Students

Huan Zhang , PhD Student

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 is working on a project studying the application of biodegradable plastic mulches in tissue culture red raspberry and other specialty crops.  He is co-advised by both Drs. DeVetter and Carol Miles (Vegetable Horticulture).


Weixin Gan, MS Student

Weixin comes from Fujian, China, a place with green hills and clear waters and is famous for tea.  She finished her B.S in landscape architecture from Beijing Forestry University.  Her undergraduate thesis was about the growth conditions and cultivation management of tissue culture seedings of crabapple.  Having a strong interest in horticulture, she decided to study horticulture more deeply at WSU.  She began her graduate work at WSU with Dr. Lisa Wasko DeVetter in the fall of 2017.  The focus of her research is improving our understanding of how temperature impacts pollen germination and vigor among key commercial highbush blueberry cultivars.  She is also evaluating in-field practices that have potential to improve pollination and yields in highbush blueberry grown in western Washington, including pheromone application and modified honey bee hive densities.


Amit Bhasin, MS Student

Amit comes from the “Agricultural Hub of India”, Punjab.  He did his B.S. Agriculture majoring in Horticulture (2017) from Punjab Agricultural University, India.  His inclination towards agriculture started at a young age while planting vegetables with his grandfather.  Amit’s curiosity to explore and learn more about this arena led him to pursue a M.S at WSU.  In Amit’s free time, he loves to play Badminton.  His research focuses on evaluating and optimizing fertilizer sources/rates and nitrogen cut-off times in organic blueberry production in central Washington.  Amit’s advisors are Drs. Lisa DeVetter and Joan Davenport.


Qianwen Lu, PhD Student

Qianwen is from Nanjing, China, a charming metropolitan full of history and culture as well as modern arts. She achieved her BS in Forest Science from Nanjing Forestry University and participated in a one-year visiting student program at the University of Georgia. Her research interests are maintenance of soil health and remediation of contaminated soil and water. She will began her graduate work with Drs. Lisa DeVetter and Haiying Tao in the Fall of 2018. The focus of her research is blended and pelleted manure fertilizer in raspberry.


Yixin Cai, MS Student

Yixin is from Shanghai, China, a vibrant metropolis full of traditional and modern architecture. She received her BS degrees in Genetics and Plant Biology (GPB) and Molecular Toxicology from University of California, Berkeley. She worked in botanical garden and USDA laboratory in her senior year and found her interest in horticulture. She will begin her graduate study with Dr. Lisa DeVetter in the Spring of 2019. The focus of her research is to develop and test technologies and practices that allow for the mechanical harvest of fresh market blueberry with high fruit quality and high harvest efficiency.



Undergraduate Interns

Brenda Madrid, BS Student

Brenda was born in El Salvador, a very small country in Central America. Her family moved to Snohomish County when she was seven years old. When she started college, she thought that she would end up in the medicine field, but soon learned that agriculture was more fitting, and natural. Currently, Brenda is a student at WSU Everett pursuing a bachelors degree in Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Systems. After completing her undergraduate program, she hopes to either start graduate school or work in the field of fruit production. Her interest is in raspberry or blueberry cultivation. In her spare time, she tends to her garden where she grows a mix of berries, cut flowers and herbs. Brenda’s other interest include going on long hikes with her dog Leah.


Kyra Stensgaard, BS Student and Summer Timeslip

Kyra Stensgaard is a student at Western Washington University studying behavioral neuroscience. She will be starting her senior year this fall and continuing her undergraduate work in the Grimm lab at Western Washington University. This lab studies addiction behaviors to sucrose in a rat model (if you’re curious this research, she’d be more than happy to chat with you about it!). In Kyra’s spare time she likes to dance and play board games with friends. She works in the Small Fruit Horticulture program most of the time, but also works in the Soil Science program with Drs. Gabe and Deirdre Griffin LaHue. So far, she has really enjoyed working outside while still in the context of research. Kyra looks forward to working with and getting to know you all this summer!

Visiting Scholars

Nadia Bostan, Visiting Scholar

Nadia belongs to Swat Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pakistan known as the “Switzerland of Asia”.  She received her MS (Hons) in Horticulture in 2013 from the University of Agriculture Peshawar. Nadia has a strong agricultural family background and enjoyed a rich work experience in diverse livelihood sectors in Pakistan by working in the capacity as a Horticulturist, Field Facilitator, Trainer of Trainers and Enterprise Development Officer. Currently, she is pursuing her PhD degree in Horticulture from the University of Agriculture Peshawar and conducts her research at the Agriculture Research Institute Swat. Nadia continues her studies and research while serving the country as a Research Officer at the Agriculture Research Institute Swat. Her area of interest is developing production technologies for small fruit crops to cope with climate extremes. Her PhD work focuses on studying the effects of plant growth regulators (PGR), fertilizer application, and chilling levels under various shading intensities and shade net colors on fruit quality and runner production in strawberry.

Former Students

Rachel RudolphRachel Rudolph, PhD

Rachel is a former PhD student co-advised by Drs. DeVetter and Zasada (USDA ARS).  Her thesis work is titled, “Soil quality and management alternatives in red raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) in the Pacific Northwest”. Rachel graduated in December 2017 and is now an Assistant Extension Professor at the University of Kentucky.

Matthew ArringtonMatthew Arrington, PhD

Matt graduated from the SFH program with his PhD in December 2017.  His thesis title is, “Optimization of pollination and fruit set in northern highbush blueberry.” Matt now leads berry research at Plenty Unlimited.



VIDEO! Watch a video about Matt and his experiences at WSU-Mount Vernon.