Traverse City Record-Eagle

September 14, 2013

Ag Forum: Welcoming a new fruit educator

BY NIKKI ROTHWELL Special to the Record-Eagle
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — The Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center (NWMHRC) is pleased to announce a new member to their team: Emily Pochubay.

Emily will fill the fruit educator role at the NWMHRC and will be working with growers across northwest Michigan as well as with fruit growers throughout the state. She will coordinate extension educational programming on pest management and horticulture in tree fruit, primarily tart and sweet cherries, apples, and wine grapes.

This position will also work across disciplines on a breadth of basic and applied research projects. Emily will provide leadership in the horticultural management of tree and small fruits and management of pests and other plant stressors of the fruit industry centered in northwest Michigan. She will participate in teams to support statewide outreach activities directed toward the state’s fruit industry. Because the link of extension and research is vital at field research stations, Emily will develop and maintain an applied research program centered in northern Michigan and will coordinate site-specific research with other MSU researchers.

Emily completed her Bachelor of Science in Entomology from Michigan State University in 2009. After graduation, Emily worked as a research aide in the Organic Pest Management Lab (www.opm.msu.edu) directed by Dr. Matt Grieshop. She assisted Dr. Grieshop and many graduate students with several tree fruit and greenhouse pest management projects. Her dedication to pest management research led to three grant-funded projects that supported Emily’s graduate program at MSU.

Her graduate work on biologically-based pest management in greenhouse crops provided the industry with insights on techniques for introducing predators to manage key greenhouse pests. Emily worked closely with MSU researchers, extension educators, and growers of greenhouse crops throughout her degree program and she has presented her findings at conferences across the country. She received several awards throughout her graduate degree including the Academic Achievement Graduate Assistantship from MSU, the Joseph H. Camin Fellowship from Ohio State University, and the Paul Wooley award for outstanding achievement in her master’s program from the Department of Entomology at MSU.

After graduating in 2012 with her Master of Science in Entomology, Emily transitioned into a research technician position in the Organic Pest Management Lab. In this role, she assisted in and led research experiments in tree fruit and high tunnel grown raspberries and sweet cherries. Some projects Emily contributed to include the Solid-Set Canopy Delivery System project (www.canopydelivery.msu.edu) — an ongoing multi-state effort investigating the development, installation, and use of micro-sprinklers in orchards, two-spotted spider mite management using predators in high tunnel grown raspberries, and a monitoring study of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug predators in Michigan.

Throughout her time in the Organic Pest Management Lab, Emily mentored several undergraduate student researchers who are now taking the lead on research projects at MSU.

“Emily brings a terrific set of skills to the IPM position,” said Mark Miezio, President of the NWMHR Foundation Board, “We are pleased that we found a person that has a solid pest management background, which will help her hit the ground running next field season. We are also appreciative of MSU’s commitment to the Northwest Station and think Emily will great a great addition to our team.”

Welcome Emily!