Summer Entomology Internship with Driscoll Strawberry Associates, Inc. – By Carla Calvert Burkle

Carla BurkeFeatured: DPM Fall 2014 Newsletter Article

I had the privilege of working this summer as an Entomology Intern with Driscoll Strawberry Associates, Inc.’s Global Research and Development unit in Watsonville, CA. Driscoll’s is a family-owned company that began with Ed Reiter and Dick Driscoll growing ‘Sweet Briar’ strawberries in California’s Pajaro Valley in 1904. Driscoll’s has grown into a multi-national operation with production in 18 countries on 5 different continents and an annual revenue of $1-2 billion. Driscoll’s breeds their own varieties of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries which they Karla Burke grow and distribute in cooperation with private growers. Driscoll’s nationally recruits students for their internship program, and my multidisciplinary, applied Doctor of Plant Medicine training was a good fit for their objectives. I developed an integrated pest management applied research project with Driscoll’s Entomology Lead Dr. Michael Seagraves to support their ongoing efforts to control spotted wing drosophila. I assisted with weekly monitoring of western flower thrips and two-spotted spider mites in organic strawberry fields in the Salinas Valley, Driscoll and consulted with the breeding and plant pathology units as well. My internship was a challenging but rewarding opportunity to apply the extensive training I’ve received the last four years across the DPM disciplines of entomology and nematology, soil and water science, agronomy, horticulture, and plant pathology. Though I was an entomology intern, my multidisciplinary training facilitated a richer experience for both Driscoll’s and me.