With presentations ranging from alternative control measures for fire blight to identification of single amino acids virus symptoms on grape, the 2018 CornellAgritech Research Symposium, held June 29 in Geneva NY, illustrated the many ways in which graduate student research is making important contributions to agriculture in New York State and beyond.
The Symposium’s keynote speaker, Pam Marrone PhD, founder of Marrone Bio Innovations and member of Cornell’s Board of Trustees, described her childhood fascination with gypsy moths, how it led to academic training in entomology, and her career in industry working on development of biological control of agricultural pests. Her many achievements include research on corn rootworm at Monsanto that contributed to development Bt toxin-based control measures, and her subsequent founding of AgraQuest and Marrone Bio Innovations. Through her story, she effectively communicated the many variables involved in development of successful commercial ventures and products, as well as her strong conviction in the potential of biological products for effective pest control in conventional and organic farming systems.
The first session of the symposium focused on student research supported by Extension and Outreach Assistantships. Topics ranged from evaluating consumer perception of kale and other leafy greens, opportunities and challenges for developing instructional videos for extension educations, experiences with master gardener training, and efforts to increase graduate student diversity at Cornell. In combination with the presentations on laboratory and field research, the extension and outreach work highlights the commitment of SIPS graduate students to both fundamental advances in foundational knowledge as well as the communication of these findings to a variety of stakeholders.