Archive for the “Grad program” Category

David Harris, Chrystal Stewart and Fred Gouker

David Harris, Chrystal Stewart and Fred Gouker

Some recent awards and recognitions:

Crystal Stewart, Cornell Cooperative Extension Regional Agriculture Specialist with the Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program, was awarded an Achievement Award at the Annual Meeting of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) held in Mobile, Alabama on July 22. The Achievement Award is presented to those agricultural agents that have been working in their field for less than 10 years but in that short time have made significant contributions to their profession.

Fred Gouker, PhD candidate in the Graduate Field of Plant Breeding and Genetics and member of Larry Smart’s lab was a co-winner of the Best Student Poster at the International Poplar and Willow Symposium VI July 21-23 in Vancouver, BC for his paper entitled Analysis of phenotypic and genetic diversity of a Salix purpurea association mapping population.

David Harris, a rising senior majoring in Plant Science with a minor in East Asian Studies received the Long Island Flower Growers Association (LIFGA) Scholarship. Harris’s career goal is to work for an international company that plans on expanding production or sales into Asia.

Update [2014-08-02] from Marvin Pritts: At the American Society for Horticultural Science meetings in Orlando this week, Terence Robinson received the Outstanding Extension Educator Award and Bill Miller delivered the B.Y. Morrison lecture. Also, Mary Meyer, Department of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota (M.S. Cornell, 73), delivered the presidential address.

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From Thomas Björkman:

On May 30, faculty, staff and students gathered at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva for the annual awards celebration:

Meredith Persico and Alan Lakso

Meredith Persico (left) is a junior Viticulture major at Cornell who will be doing a viticulture research project at the Station this summer thanks to a Shaulis scholarship. This scholarship was established in memory of Geneva viticulture professor renowned for developing the principles and practices of vine balance. Professor Alan Lakso introduced her on his last official day of work after more than 40 years on the faculty.







Benjamin Gutierrez

Ben Gutierrez (right) was awarded the Perrine scholarship to support his graduate studies. Ben in a PhD student with Susan Brown and Ganyuan Zhong, studying the genetics of antioxidants in apples. The Perrine Endowment was created to support students’ research in pomology.









Bill Srmack

Bill Srmack was recognized for 40 years of service at the Station. He has been with the clonal repository since just before it was officially founded! He now is responsible for maintaining the thousands of accessions in the orchard of the national germplasm collection. Here he receives congratulations from PGRU Research Leader Ganyuan Zhong and curator Thomas Chao.

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franny-with-diplomaWhether you were there or you missed out, you’ll want to check out Carol Grove‘s album from the Plant Science Breakfast and Degree Ceremony.

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Paya with art installation

Paya with Tower Rd. art installation

A Graduate Field of Horticulture PhD candidate has created a work of art along Tower Road to celebrate commencement and say thank you to the friends, family and fellow students who helped him through his time at Cornell.

“I’ve never done anything like this before,” says Alex Paya, who titled his work “Let the Bridges We Burn Light Our Way.”

After more than four months of planning and securing permissions, Paya and fellow horticulture grad student Miles Schwartz-Sax spent 12 hours Saturday stretching the yellow, orange and red banners from branches in the oak trees to the ground adjacent to Minns Garden and Plant Science Building.

Paya says he was inspired in part by the feeling he gets walking through underground tunnels at airports. “I love corridors – the way they lead you on – and I love trees,” says Paya, whose dissertation explores the belowground interactions of tree roots from different species. “So my intent was to create a space to lead people forward only in a more natural setting.

“I tried to create something novel, interesting and festive – with the fall colors contrasting with the background of spring,” he adds.

The installation is ephemeral. Paya plans to remove the banners in early June.

Paya would also like to thank fellow students in the Graduate Field of Horticulture Juana Munra Ucis, Marie Zwetsloot, Adam Karl, and Sonam Sherpa for their contributions to the project.

Paya with Tower Rd. art installation


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If you missed two recent Department of Horticulture seminars by PhD candidates in the Graduate Field of Horticulture, they are available online:

Gonzalo Villarino: High throughput RNA sequencing elucidates novel responses of Petunia hybrida to salt stress


Alex Paya: Does neighbor identity affect the belowground growth and physiology of trees?


The Department of Horticulture seminar series is on hiatus until fall. But you can view previous seminars on the Cornell Horticulture YouTube channel’s Seminar playlist.

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PAX_Key_color2From Mark Bridgen, Professor and Pi Alpha Xi advisor:

Pi Alpha Xi (PAX), the national honor society for horticulture, inducted new members on April 23, 2014. Only the best students in the plant sciences are invited to join this national honor society.

Pi Alpha Xi was founded in 1923 at Cornell University and is the Alpha Chapter. Originally, it was the national honor society for floriculture, landscape horticulture and ornamental horticulture. In recent years it has changed and now honors excellence in all of horticulture.

Since its founding, PAX has grown to 36 chapters at baccalaureate-granting institutions. Its mission is to promote scholarship, fellowship, professional leadership, and the enrichment of human life through plants.

PAX was very active at Cornell University for many years, peaking in the 1970s. But the chapter went dormant for several years until its revival in 2013. This semester, the students hosted and organized a weekend bus trip to visit three major gardens in the Brandywine Valley: Longwood Gardens, Winterthur Gardens, and Chanticleer Gardens. The students also participated in the ROOTED project on campus and have organized a “Wellness Day” activity.

During the induction ceremony, honor cords of cerulean blue and Nile green (the society’s colors) were presented to graduating senior and graduate student members to wear during commencement: Rowan Bateman, Matthew Bond, Justin Kondrat, Madeline Olberg, Miles Schwartz-Sax, and Elizabeth Simpson.

Learn more about Pi Alpha Xi at the American Society for Horticultural Science website.

2014 Pi Alpha Xi  inductees

Front Row (L to R): Patrick McLoughlin, Andrew Harner, Jason Gregory, Jonathan Namanworth, Joshua Kaste, Danielle Park, Justin Kondrat, Sarah Odell

Back Row (L to R): Bryan Denig, Adam Karl, Miles Schwartz-Sax, Jeffrey Janusz , Christian Lesage, Kaitlyn Anderson, Dr. Mark Bridgen, Advisor

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From Grant Thompson, President, Society of Horticulture for Graduate Students (SoHo)

Outreach day poster. Click for larger view
Larger view.

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If you missed Monday’s seminar, Soils in the Urban Environment: A Long Term Evaluation of the Scoop & Dump Remediation Strategy with Miles Sax, MPS/PGL Program Graduate Field of Horticulture, it’s available online.

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Society of Horticulture for Graduate Students (SoHo) spent a chilly but not totally unpleasant Tuesday afternoon pruning apple trees at Cornell Orchards. The Cornell Orchards retail store remains open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

SoHo pruning at Cornell Orchards

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chili_cookoffFrom horticulture grad student Adam Karl:

The Plant Sciences Chili Cook-Off will be held in Emerson 135 on Friday, March 21, 4 to 6:30 p.m. The Departments of Crop and Soil Science, Horticulture, Plant Biology, Plant Breeding, and Plant Pathology should assemble their best chili chefs in three categories:

  • Meat
  • Vegetarian
  • Wild-Card (contains at least one non-traditional chili ingredient)

Students, Faculty, and Staff are all welcome to participate! To enter the contest, email chili entries to me (Adam Karl,

Please include the following info:

  • names of cooks
  • category
  • name of chili

Registration deadline is Friday, March 14. We only have room for 20 chili entrants – so don’t delay registering!

There will be prizes for the winners of each chili category.

We look forward to sampling some chili with you!

The Chili and Games team

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