Mary Provance-Bowley - 2007-2008
Mary Provance-Bowley earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Plant Science (Option in Turfgrass) with Highest Honors in 2006 from Cook College, Rutgers. She enrolled in the Graduate Department of Plant Biology at Rutgers, immediately following her graduation in 2006. Currently, Mary is a post-qualifying doctoral candidate and intends to complete the requirements toward her degree in the Fall of 2009. Her research has concentrated on silicon soil nutrition as a method of suppressing fungal diseases and insect herbivory of grasses in both turf and wheat. She has worked under the direction of Dr. Joseph Heckman, a Soil Fertility Specialist, for the past four years. Her preference in research is conducting field studies.
Following graduation, Mary plans to pursue a career in research and development within the private sector in the areas of grain and turf disease management. Her future goal is to do consulting work for the turf industry in nutrient management for suppression of disease.Cynthia Frasier - 2005-2006
Cynthia Frasier received her B.S. in Plant Science/research in 2000 with honors from Cook College. While hiking the Appalachian Trail the following year she had a lot of time to think and decided that she would like to pursue a graduate degree. She returned to Rutgers in 2001 as a Ph.D. student in the Plant Biology and Pathology graduate program.
Her interest in ethnobotany, conservation, and biodiversity led her to work in the lab of Dr. Lena Struwe where she focuses on the systematics of a tropical plant genus, Strychnos. These plants have been used in preparing dart poisons, clearing muddy water, and are most famous as the commercial source of the lethal alkaloid, strychnine. Cynthia has developed a molecular phylogeny of the genus that she will use to study the evolution of wood anatomical characters and Strychnos’ biogeographic history. Following the completion of her degree, Cynthia plans to stay active in research that may eventually influence the creation of environmental policies that better protect an area’s natural resources.Robert Shortell - 2004-2005
Robert Shortell is the first recepient of the Emma Lausten Graduate Assistantship. Rob was first enrolled as a math/engineering major at NJIT; however, he was drawn to the outdoors and gardening and came to the realization that he would achieve greater success in school with a major that suited his interest. Rob discovered Cook College and decided to embark on a Plant Science/research degree at Rutgers. He absolutely loved it and graduated with high honors in 2004. He decided to further his education at looked to Cook College once again.
Today he is enrolled as a Ph.D. student in the graduate program of Plant Biology. Rob is studying turgrass breeding under Dr. Stacy Bonos. His research focuses on various aspects of Kentucky bluegrass breeding and characterization and is currently working on identifying novel resistance traits within the species, with particular interest in the inheritance of drought tolerance. Upon completion of his degree, Rob would like to get more involved in extension education since he enjoys teaching in field settings where he can clearly show the consequences of a particular action. Rob believes there is also something special about teaching people who really care.