UGA Horticulture Department

Jesse Lafian receives scholarship from the landscape Architecture Foundation

Jesse Lafian

Jesse Lafian

Jesse Lafian received the ‘2017 Rain Bird Intelligent Use of Water Scholarship’ from the  Landscape Architecture Foundation. Jesse Lafian is a senior Horticulture student at the University of Georgia (UGA) and the founder of Reservoir, a startup company that is developing a patent-pending tensiometer that can measure how much water in the soil is available to plants. This technology will help landscapers and farmers conserve water, reduce agro-chemical pollution, and increase profits by improving irrigation management. Jesse has raised $13,500 from grants and built a small-scale laboratory prototype with his mentor Dr. Marc van Iersel, a UGA Horticulture Professor and irrigation-sensor expert. In addition to this scholarship, Jesse has recently won the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences ‘Fabricate’ entrepreneur competition as well as the ‘Next Top Entrepreneur’ competition organized by the Terry College of Business.  Jesse plans to secure more funding to complete R&D on the tensiometer after his upcoming graduation. Aside from school and work, he enjoys drumming, hiking, and riding his 1980 Kawasaki motorcycle.

 

 

van Iersel Horticultural Physiology Lab Receives GRA Grant

LEDs of different colors are used to study spectral effects on plant growth and physiology.

Dr. Marc van Iersel’s Horticultural Physiology Lab has received a $60,000 grant from the Georgia Research Alliance to continue their collaboration with Dr. Mark Haidekker’s photonics lab in UGA’s College of Engineering, and PhytoSynthetix. This long-standing collaboration is focused on the development of energy-efficient, cost-effective methods for supplemental lighting in controlled environment agriculture. We focus on integrating plant physiology and engineering to develop lighting approaches to specifically apply supplemental light when it can be used most efficiently. Given that the energy costs to provide supplemental lighting can be as much as 30% of the total production costs, reduced energy use can have a big impact on the greenhouse industry.

David Berle named Outstanding Practitioner of the Year by Gulf-South Summit

Our own industrious colleague, David Berle, associate professor of horticulture and director of the UGArden, has been named the 2017 Service-Learning Practitioner of the Year by the Gulf-South Summit on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement through Higher Education. This award recognizes Berle’s sustained record of engaging students in community-based learning through service-learning projects and courses, as well as his development and leadership of the student-run UGArden, and his role in supporting the institutionalization of service-learning at UGA. Berle was recognized with a plaque and cash award at the Summit in Greensboro, NC in March.  If you are visiting campus for graduation or campus orientation visits, stop by the UGArden to see the amazing things happening there. 2500 South Milledge Ave, Athens, GA. just past the State Botanical Gardens of Georgia.

Photo: David Berle (R) accepting the award from Gulf-South Summit awards chair Kristin Harper.(L).

PhD student Shuyang Zhen’s research highlighted on ISHS website

Shuyang, collecting data in the greenhouse

PhD student Shuyang Zhen’s research on the effects of far-red light on photosynthetic efficiency is highlighted on the website of the International Society for Horticultural Science. Shuyang presented some of her research on this topic at the 2016 ISHS lighting symposium in East Lansing, MI, where she won the student competition. Her work has shown that plants can use light from LEDs more efficiently if the light is supplemented with far-red light and has important practical applications for the design of grow lights. She works in the horticultural physiology lab under the guidance of Dr. Marc van Iersel. Great work done by a great student!

Five Hort/PBGG Graduate Students Awarded at the Southern Region ASHS Meeting

Congratulations are in order for five of our graduates students whom have been recognized for their research at the the 2017 Southern Region meeting of the American Society for Horticultural Science. The annual meeting was held in Mobile, Alabama this past February, 2017. Awardees included:

Mary Sutton (Outstanding Undergrad paper Award) Texture Evaluations of Southern Highbush and Rabbiteye Blueberry Varieties. Catherine Belisle(Outstanding MS paper Award) Peaches in Georgia: Finding out what Consumer Want,  Suzanne Stone (Outstanding PhD paper award) The Impact of Weeding, Planting Density and Growth Habit on Watermelon Yield in an Organic System, Lauren Redpath (Outstanding MS poster competition) Microscopic Analysis of Cold Hardiness in Southern Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L. interspecific hybrid) Floral Buds., and Bruno Casamali (Outstanding PhD student award), UGA was represented well at this meeting, and the students are to be commended for their fine research endeavors,

An Overview of Horticulture Undergraduates at UGA: 2000-2016

One of the most enjoyable tasks I undertake every semester since 2000 is to interview our exiting undergraduate students.  We should all take pride in the quality of our graduates; they are quite impressive. Part of the interview is spent collecting information on our students—where they come from, why they came—and part is spent gaining student insight into our departmental strengths and weaknesses. Below is a PDF document summary of the data collected from the interviews and the second link is a graphic of the statewide distribution.  Data Summary 2016 (002),   Graduate_origin_2016.

 

 

Students participate in Georgia Organics Conference

More than 20 UGA students, including 9 from the Horticulture Dept., attended the 20th annual Georgia Organics Conference held in Atlanta from Feb 17-18th. Undergraduate and graduate students presented research posters, attended educational sessions and participated in talks ranging from ‘Seed Varieties for Organic Growers’, ‘Management of Disease and Pests in Squash Production’ and ‘Cool Season Vegetables Under High Tunnels’. Scholarships were provided by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, The Hartel Family and Horticulture Professors Berle, Knauft and O’Connell.

Students in attendance included: Taylor Cotton*, Emma Courson, Lindsay Davies*, Noelle Joy Fuller, Theekshana Jayalath*, Teri Raskusin, Sara Schwartz, Suzanne Stone and Jean O’Hara Yost *recently graduated

Horticulture senior Jesse Lafian wins CAES entrepreneurship competition

BroderandLafian

UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Joe Broder congratulates fourth-year horticulture student Jesse Lafian, whose smart irrigation business, Reservoir, won the grand prize in CAES’s inaugural FABricate entrepreneurship competition.

Jesse Lafian, a senior undergraduate in the horticulture department, won the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ Fabricate entrepreneurship competition. Jesse has been working a novel type of soil moisture sensor that can help farmers and landscapers track the irrigation needs of their plants. The ultimate goal is to integrate the soil moisture sensor with an irrigation controller, so that plants can be irrigated automatically when needed. He plans to bring this product to market through his company Reservoir, LLC.

Dr. Marc van Iersel has served as one of Jesse’s mentor and the horticultural physiology lab has helped him with testing prototypes of the irrigation controller.

Great job, Jesse!

 

For the full story, see this link.

Gray Simpson Named Horticulture Department Outstanding Senior

Gray Simpson has been chosen by the faculty to be the departmental Outstanding Senior. Gray has distinguished himself by receiving several noteworthy awards: Greenhouse Product News Intern of the Year,  American Floral Endowment Vic and Margaret Ball Internship at Metrolina Greenhouses, Sidney B. Meadows Scholarship, and the most prestigious scholarship offered by the Garden Club of Georgia. He is the Horticulture Vice President and has efficiently grown plants for sale and coordinated the efforts of numerous student to hold a very successful Plant Sale.  He also was the Production Coordinator for the Pi Alpha Xi Poinsettia sale.  Congratulations Gray, and Well done!

 

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