We suspect it would take one very long blog post to cover Jennifer Grant’s career at Cornell, so we’ll hit some of the highlights and then focus on some fun. Thanks to some digging by Dr. Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, we’ve managed to gather, then try to squeeze, a few of Jen’s accomplishments into today’s post!
After receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Vermont, Jen took a position as the Ornamentals IPM Specialist at the new NYS IPM Program, 1989-1996. Next came her Ph.D in Entomology at Cornell in 2000.
Jen’s devotion to teaching, promoting, adoption of, and improvement of IPM remained constant through her years with the program, culminating in her role as Director from which she retired in May of 2020. While immersed in active research improving IPM, Jen took sole helm of a nationally respected program regrouping after some tough financial years.
Some of her accomplishments include helping to make NEWA (the Network for Environmental and Weather Applications) a reality in and beyond NY state; the creation of the EIQ evaluation method for pesticide use on golf courses (Environmental Impact Quotient), and co-authoring Reducing Chemical Use on Golf Course Turf: Redefining IPM. Later, she coordinated and cowrote the Best Management Practices for New York State Golf Courses, and organized development of the Cornell Commercial Turfgrass Guidelines. Working with an organic farming specialist, Jen developed comprehensive profiles for the class of products called ‘minimum-risk’ or FIFRA 25b.
Jen worked regionally as part of NEERA (Northeast Region Technical Committee on IPM), and her work garnered an Award for Excellence in IPM from the ESA Eastern (Entomology Society of America) in 2011. Jennifer’s obvious passion for encouraging others to find ways to incorporate IPM into their professions and lives has led to the development of strong relationships with individuals and organizations, to the benefit of the NYSIPM program. She worked with the NYS Departments of Agriculture and Markets; Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; and Environmental Conservation; state legislators; Cooperative Extension; Cornell and other faculty; and industry members to increase the adoption of IPM throughout NYS.
Throughout her years as a supervisor, coordinator, co-director, and as sole IPM director, Jennifer led IPM staff with a consistent strength and grace that inspired both a strong team cohesiveness and the best individual efforts. By expecting the best from her staff and caring for them as friends, Dr. Grant’s example must be considered as key to the program’s success.
More recently, Jen’s work found her included in a team award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Extension/Outreach Team Award for Protecting Pollinator Health by the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Numbers, like reductions in pesticide applications, show improvement, but so much of Jen’s passion for IPM changed minds. Her direct, yet congenial, way of providing information and encouragement has to be commended for the increase on IPM awareness statewide and nationally.
And gosh darn, we just really like her!
And now, some fond farewells!
“What a great leader! You have my vote!”
“Thank you, Jennifer for your legacy in IPM! You’re an amazing role model for so many of us. We will miss you so much.”
“Thank you for all you’ve contributed to NYS IPM. I wish you all the best in retirement. That first day you don’t have to check email: priceless!”
“Your impacts will continue to be felt at NYSIPM and around the state (and probably beyond) well into your retirement.”
“You’ve accomplished so much over your career and I can’t thank you enough for all your dedication to the NYS IPM program, for your guidance, support, and positive attitude.”
“I could not have imagined a more supportive, encouraging and thoughtful ‘boss’ until I came on board at NYSIPM.”
“During my time with the IPM Program, you constantly challenged me to think bigger, outside the box, and in ways that will lead to impacts. You coached me on how to navigate the diverse situations experienced as an IPM educator, and provided useful feedback that I carry with me. Your perspective and thoughtful approach continue to serve as a guide while I develop my own program.”
“Jen, the impact you have had on how and why we all approach IPM and pest management is immeasurable. You will be greatly missed.”
“The changes in technology, practices and perspectives have changed greatly in the 30+ years and in no small part because of the work you’ve done, leaving the world better than you found it (and you may be just getting started)!”
” ‘Thank you’s’ are not enough for all that you have done for each of us and for the NYS IPM Program.”
“It’s been fun working on projects with you—I always felt challenged to do my very best!”
“Congrats, Jennifer, on your retirement! I will miss you at future meetings.”
“I’ve learned so much from you both personally and professionally, and I’m lucky to consider you a mentor. I’m sad to see you go, but I’m reminded of your IPM work every day as it continues to ripple through the turf industry.”
“Congratulations on your retirement!”
“I’m grateful to have you as a friend and colleague. I’m sad to see you go but super excited for what lies ahead for you and the whole family.”
“I hope you have a fantastic retirement! Congratulations!”
“Your passion, knowledge, and leadership with IPM and turfgrass is an inspiration that will carry me through the rest of my career.”
“You sure accomplished a ton with your own bear hands! And you did even more as excellent leader and collaborator. It was a pleasure to work on your team!”
“All the best and will miss you as the director!”
“May you, Keith, and the girls continue to have a fulfilling next phase of life.”