Dr. Bonnie Wells

Why did you choose to enroll in the DPM program?

I ultimately chose to enroll in the DPM program because of its interdisciplinary nature and holistic approach to plant health management. I had plans to pursue a PhD in Plant Pathology, but I began to struggle with the idea of choosing one crop and one disease to focus my studies on. The DPM curriculum covered all the important factors that affect the health of all plants in our biodiverse environment, and that was very exciting to me! I also liked the fact that when training plant doctors, the program focused on holistic and integrated solutions that ensure the health of not only plants, but also people and the environment.

After graduation, what career paths/opportunities were available to you?

One of the many benefits of the DPM degree has been that the career opportunities were numerous after graduation. I had offers for employment from crop consulting firms, private industry and extension positions in Florida and beyond. What is your current occupation, and how has your DPM degree aided you in the tasks and responsibilities associated with your position?I am currently the Commercial Horticulture Extension Agent for UF/IFAS Extension in Brevard County. My clientele are predominantly in the turfgrass and ornamental production industry. The DPM degree was excellent preparation for my extension career, as it provided me a broad-based knowledge applicable to many different production scenarios as well as equipped me with the integrated management know-how to find sustainable solutions to plant health problems. Are there any challenges that your DPM degree has helped you overcome?When I found myself transferring to a different county within Extension due to family relocation, my employment responsibilities changed significantly from vegetable production agriculture to turfgrass and ornamental production horticulture. Although I had little experience with turf or ornamental plants, I was able to make an easy transition because the DPM degree prepared me with a vast base-knowledge of how to solve health problems across all plant species.

Do you have any advice for current DPM students?

Study hard but have fun doing it! Take every opportunity to enjoy the short time you have with your cohort. You will miss them all dearly one day!