Jeff grew up on a farm and “loved agriculture even before I took my first job at RAREC.” He started working as a teenager, bicycling to the 305-acre Rutgers Agricultural Research & Extension Center after school.
Jeff completed his first summer internship at RAREC while attending Cumberland County College, before transferring to the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences to complete his degree.
As a summer farm intern, Jeff jokes that he “worked for everyone and with every crop.” He planted, weeded, irrigated, and harvested. Jeff put up fences, drove tractors, and transplanted bell peppers using the “water wheel” to assess plant diseases with Professor Steve Johnston. Jeff’s experiences spanned growing and evaluating potatoes for their chip qualities with Professor Mel Henninger and controlling pests on minor crops with IR-4 Research Director Melissa Bonham.
While working for Professor Johnston, Jeff discovered that “Plant Pathology is what I love.” Professor Henninger taught Jeff about research trials, collecting and analyzing data, and “how to have fun while working.” Research Director Melissa Bonham gave Jeff the background in plant protection practices that would be very valuable to his future. All three of Jeff’s Rutgers mentors contributed to his success as a student and plant pathologist.
His intern summers at RAREC provided Jeff with great experiences and strong recommendations when he applied to the University of Georgia for a fully funded Plant Pathology graduate assistantship. He recently completed his M.S. and has landed a job managing a large blueberry farm in Georgia.
And it all started at RAREC! “RAREC gave me the knowledge, contacts, experience, and mental conditioning that I needed to not only pursue but achieve my goals as a plant pathologist. It is good to have a place to work that you love to go to every day but even better when the place you work for loves you back.”
Education: Masters of Science, Plant Pathology
Hometown: Upper Deerfield, NJ
Internship: Rutgers Agricultural Research & Extension Center
Position After Graduation: Farm Manager, Blueberries