Dr. Rebecca Barocco

Featured in: DPM Fall 2017 Newsletter

Q: Describe your academic background?
A: I obtained a BS degree in Horticulture at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville in the fall of 2009. After graduating, I spent some time in the plant pathology department in Arkansas and then worked on a small CSA farm before deciding to pursue the DPM program from 2012-2016.

Q: What is your current occupation and how has your DPM degree aid-ed you in the tasks and responsibilities associated with your position?
A: My current position is a Post-doctoral Associate in plant pathology at the UF/IFAS NFREC in Quincy, FL. I am part of the agronomy and plant pathology team working on carinata and peanut research. One of our current projects is to develop high-throughput phenotyping methods using imagery and computer vision. This data combined with other agronomic and disease management trials will ideally discover the best cultivars and management strategies for growing carinata in the Southeast. The imagery techniques we develop for carinata will be then be translated for use in peanut research in the summer. Because the DPM program is integrated across a variety of fields in applied crop science, it was a great preparation for my current position. Although I am technically in the plant pathology department, I am part of a cross-discipline team in field research. The DPM program also allowed me to take a variety of electives in GIS, precision agriculture, and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), which are directly relevant to my current position. Continue reading

Dr. Tina Bond

Featured in: DPM Newsletter Summer 2017

Q: Describe your academic background?
A: My background is in turf, ornamentals and aquatics. I obtained a BS in Agriculture from the University of Delaware where I majored in Plant Science with a Concentration in Ornamental Horticulture.

Q: What is your current occupation and how has your DPM degree aided you in the tasks and responsibilities associated with your position?
A: I currently work for Helena Products Group as a Product Specialist. I support Helena’s adjuvant and Value Added product lines in all specialty markets across the U.S. Some of my responsibilities include product registration and label amendments, new product development, and technical support. The markets I support are forestry, aquatics, IVM, golf, greenhouse/nursery, and turf/ornamentals (basically anything that isn’t Ag). Since I travel the country, it is important to be able to look at an issue in the field and be able to help in a va-riety of situations. I’ve looked at forestry tracks in Weed, CA, to bermudagrass lawns hit by extreme weather in Greenville, Texas, to aquatic weed pressures in Coeur d’Alene, ID, to fertility issues in my own front yard in Florida. From weed identification to pesticide application and everything in between, I use the knowledge I obtained in the Plant Medicine Program in all aspects of my job, every single day. Continue reading

Dr. Tatiana Sanchez


Featured in: DPM Newsletter Spring 2017

Q: Describe your academic background?
A: I completed my Bachelor’s in Biology at the Military University in Colombia. After graduation, I worked for about a year as a research assistant and then as a science teacher until I decided to apply to grad school. I completed my Doctorate in Plant Medicine and my Postdoc in Plant Pathology, both at UF.

Q: What is your current occupation and how has your DPM degree aided you in the tasks and responsibilities associated with your position?
A: I currently work with UF/IFAS Extension as the Commercial Horticulture Extension Agent for Alachua County. I help small and large growers identifying and resolving a number of issues that affect crop production in vegetables, ornamentals, fruits, nuts, and sod farms. The DPM degree helps me on a daily basis as I use all the disciplines we learned during the doctorate to help growers troubleshoot nutritional prob-lems, pest and disease management among others. The pesticide research conducted during my degree provided me with an understanding of the application, the handling, and the risks of pesticides. This knowledge allowed me to quickly assume the responsibility for the pesticide and licensing training for the public, commercial, and limited pesticide licenses in the county. Continue reading

Dr. Stacy Strickland

By Nicole Casuso | DPM Fall 2016 Newsletter

Q: Describe your academic background?
A: B.S. in biology and chemistry from Valdosta State University (GA). I grew up on a farm in Georgia. It was in my childhood that I learned animal husbandry. My work today includes, cow-calf management as well as crop production.

Q: What is your current occupation and how has your DPM degree aided you in the tasks and responsibilities associated with your position?
A: I’m currently the County Extension Director of Osceola County. I have been an Extension Agent since graduation also serving as the Extension Director of Hernando and Sumter Counties simultaneously. I would encourage DPM students to look at Extension as a potential career. I enjoy bringing the newest agricultural
techniques and technologies to our producers in Florida. The training in the DPM program has proven extremely valuable to those producers. On a daily basis, I use the knowledge gained through the DPM program in plant pathology, entomology, and weed science. I currently supervise 35 individuals. You may think I didn’t learn leadership in the DPM program, but there were always electives. As an elective, I had Extension Administration taught by Dr. Nick Place. Nick would later become the Dean of IFAS Extension. Continue reading

Dr. Clay Pederson

by Nicole Casuso | DPM Summer 2016 Newsletter

Q: Please describe your academic background.
A: Being a Gator through and through, I received my undergraduate and DPM degree at The Great University of Florida. My undergrad studies were in Plant Science with an em-phasis in Plant Pathology and a specialization in Biotechnology.

Q: What is your current occupation and how has your DPM degree aided you in the tasks and responsibilities associated with your position?
A: Currently I am the Farm Manager for the Black Gold Farms’ Florida location. The farm is in Live Oak, FL and is the largest chipping potato farm in the state. However, I just accepted a new job as Manag-ing Director of Agromillora Florida, and will start this new endeavor on August 1st. Agromillora has a new citrus tissue culture lab and greenhouse that just became operational this year. The facility is located in Wildwood, FL. The all-encompassing interdisciplinary training by the DPM program provided me a tremendous leg up in the pro-duction Ag industry. Growing a successful crop requires knowledge in all aspects of plant care from soils, fertility, water and disease management and beyond. This type of education is exactly what the DPM program provides. Continue reading

Dr. Rafael (Andy) Vega

by Nicole Casuso | DPM Spring 2016 Newsletter

Q. Briefly describe your academic background.
A. I received my B.S. degree in Computer Engineering from Northeastern University. Since I had received my degree in a very different field of science, I completed pre-requisite coursework at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, prior to enrolling in the DPM Program.

Q. What is your current occupation and how has your DPM degree aided you the tasks and responsibilities asso-ciated with your position?
A. I currently work as a Crop Consultant, Research Manager, and equal partner of New England Fruit Consultants (NEFCON). Our private company serves five states in the Northeast including Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York’s Hudson Valley, and Vermont. NEFCON provides consulting services for over 5000 acres of tree fruit. I provide consultations for roughly 2000 acres of fruit trees such as apples, peaches, etc. My DPM background in insect identification diagnosis is used on a daily basis. Inset toxicology and a thorough understanding of their metabolic pathways has been especially useful. Key plant pathology concepts and methods that I learned during the disease clinic internship is invaluable with my job. I do approximately 80% of the initial diagnosis. Additional comprehension of disease control and management is critical. Fundamental knowledge of herbicide interactions and their efficacy also plays an important role in the field. Most of the problems we see in orchards are abiotic, due to cultural practices, phytotoxicity, or deficiencies. Currently, I am in my 6th growing season and the diverse skill set I have from my DPM degree continues to give me a competitive advantage in the field. Overall, I enjoy the immediate impact and substantial influence my advice can have at the commercial level. Continue reading

Dr. George Fox

Dr. George Fox

Featured in DPM Newsletter Fall 2015

Dr. Fox is now working with the USDA, specifically with APHIS International Services. He will be serving as a Foreign Service Officer, stationed internationally to represent US agricultural interests. Upon completion of an intensive training program, Dr. Fox expects to be headquartered at a U.S. Embassy in 2016. Expertise and practical knowledge of plant pests and diseases, earned by becoming a Doctor of Plant Medicine at UF, helped Dr. Fox secure high-level employment with APHIS.

An interview with Tomás Chiconela

Tomás Chiconela
by Nicole Casuso | DPM Newsletter Fall 2015

Q. Please describe your academic background.
A. I received my B.Sc. degree in Agronomy at the Faculty of Agronomy and Forestry Engineering of Eduardo Mondlane University, in Maputo, Mozambique. Then, I moved to South Africa, where I obtained my M.Sc. degree in Agriculture (Weed Science) at the University of Orange Free State. Afterwards, I was awarded a Ford Foundation scholarship to pursue DPM program at UF. Immediately after my DPM graduation in 2006, I enrolled in the Agronomy (Weed Science) PhD Program at the same University and completed that degree in 2008.

Q. What is your current occupation and how has your DPM degree aided you in the duties and obligations associated with your position?
A. Currently, I am Dean of the Faculty of Agronomy and Forestry Engineering of Eduardo Mondlane University. I was appointed to this position after heading the Department of Plant Production and Protection (twice), and the Department of Plant Protection, after the first department got split in two (Department of Plant Production, and Department of Plant Protection). Despite my administrative responsibility, my DPM degree has allowed me to teach several courses both at graduate and postgraduate levels. Similarly, it also allows me to supervise students working in different thematic areas. Continue reading

An interview with Sam Glucksman

Sam Gluckman
by Nicole Casuso | DPM Newsletter Summer 2015
Q. Please describe your academic background.
A. I received my B.S. in Botany at the University of Florida in 2007. I then enrolled in the DPM Program and completed my degree in August 2011.

Q. What is your current occupation and how has your DPM degree aided you in the tasks and
responsibilities associated with your position?
A. Crop Management Specialist-Account Manager with Glades Crop Care, Inc. My DPM degree has aided me in my current occupation by giving me the knowledge and skill set for identifying and controlling pests, diseases, and other issues that affect plant health. My internships with the Doctor of Plant Medicine Clinical Trials and the UF Plant Disease Clinic have contributed greatly to my success as a principle investigator for large scale grower demonstrations, and field diagnosis of pests and diseases. Continue reading

An interview with Dr. Leroy Whilby

Dr. Leroy Whilby
by Nicole Casuso | DPM Newsletter Spring 2015

Q. Please describe your academic background.
A. My general agricultural studies began at the College of Agriculture in Portland, Jamaica where I received my A.Sc. I then worked for a few years as an inspector before pursuing a B.S. in Plant Science at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. My graduate studies began in 2001 at Florida A & M University in Tallahassee, FL where I conducted research studies in agroforestry. At the conclusion of my M.S. in Plant Science at FAMU, I received the FAMU Graduate Feeder Program Fellowship, which assisted me in acquiring the DPM degree from the University of Florida.

Q. What is your current occupation and how has your DPM degree aided you in the tasks and responsibilities associated with your position?
A. I currently serve as the State Survey Coordinator for the Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) Program under FDACSDPI. My DPM degree gave me a broad spectrum of knowledge on pathogens, nematodes, entomology, and agronomy. The DPM program enhanced my ability to apply a diverse knowledge base within CAPS while also enabling me to make rapid and holistic assessments.