Featured in: DPM Newsletter Summer 2015
Dr. Jason Smith is the Co-Director of Emerging Threats to Forests Research Team, Associate Professor of Forest Pathology, and State Forest Health Extension Specialist at the University of Florida. Dr. Smith has been employed at UF since 2006.
The focus of his research program is to provide a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms and biology of interactions between tree hosts, pathogens, their vectors and the environment to reduce the impact of disease on trees in the context of global change. Current research focuses on: 1.) Exotic tree disease detection and management; 2.) Phylogeography and pathogenicity of tree pathogens; and 3.) Management of diseases affecting rare, endangered or relict tree species in a changing climate. In addition to serving as the Principal Investigator of the Forest Pathology Laboratory, Dr. Smith teaches several graduate and undergraduate courses and carries out forest health extension activities including advanced tree diagnostic services.
Professionally, Dr. Smith is active in the American Phytopathological Society, American Conifer Society, and serves as associate editor of the journal Forest Pathology.
Dr. Smith’s career combines academia and extension. The pursuit of these combined interests stemmed from his enjoyment of the research/problem solving interface. Additionally, his passion for education echoes in his extensive involvement at UF and with the DPM Program. Dr. Smith has served on the supervisory committees of several DPM students, including: Keumchul Shin, Don Spence, Carmen Collazo, Lacey Mount, Lanette Sobel, and Greg Kramer.
In response to the question: “How would you qualify the effectiveness of the DPM program at training students for careers in academia and extension?”, Dr. Smith stated, “My experience has been that DPM students fare quite well post-graduation. I am amazed at the diversity of career paths that are available and how readily DPM graduates obtain these positions.” Dr. Smith also offers a few words of wisdom for his students:
“One must remember that graduate school is about more than receiving another diploma. To be successful, you need to really embrace your discipline and go beyond the minimal expectations for graduation. Try to take every opportunity you can to experience new things and acquire new skills.”