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.
Q: What prompted you to pursue your present career and where are you located?
A: I have always enjoyed growing a crop. The satisfaction of seeing something grow from a seed to a harvested product is a benefit you don’t get in many careers. Through the years, however, I learned that I enjoyed helping peo-ple and a business grow just as much as growing a plant. This is what led me to my current position as well as my new job. I am still able to see plants grow and develop, but am able to have a greater impact on the big picture. I am currently moving to Ocala, FL.
Q: What made you choose to enroll in the DPM program?
A: At the time it was the only interdisciplinary plant health practitioner program. The DPM program offered a course of training unlike anything else available.
Q: From a personal standpoint, how has your DPM degree influenced you?
A: The education and training provided by the DPM program has provided me with a unique skill set that has opened many doors for me. Besides the education, the networking opportunities through internships, seminars, guest lectures and travel is actually how I received my first job offers after graduation. I would strongly encourage all current DPM students to take advantage of this great net-working opportunity.
Q: Are there any challenges that your DPM degree has helped you overcome?
A: There is a main theme that I learned from the program that has helped me in many situations. The DPM pro-gram taught me to look at problems from a wide angle view. Focusing on the whole picture/problem instead of one particular aspect of the problem mirrors the interdisciplinary education taught by the program.
Q: What interested you to become part of the External Advisory Committee?
A: The chance to help the program that helped me get to where I am today is what interested me in participating. I truly believe in the DPM program and feel that it is an answer to many of the challenges the agricultural industry faces today. Being part of the DPM program does not stop when you graduate and for it to remain successful it is all of our duties to continue to promote our extraordinary degree.