Dr. Gillett-Kaufman

Featured in: DPM Newsletter Fall 2016

Dr. Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman is an Associ-ate Extension Scientist in the UF Entomology and Nematology Department and has been working at UF for the past 12 years. Her appointment is 70% Extension, 20% teaching, and 10% research.
Dr. Gillett-Kaufman coordinates many of the online outreach activities in the Entomology and Nematology department including the department newsletter, social media pages, and the Featured Creatures website. In addition, Dr. Gillett-Kaufman teaches an undergraduate course, a study abroad course in Italy, and two graduate courses:

  • IPM 4254: Landscape IPM: Ornamentals and Turf
  • ALS 4404: Insects in Italy: The Role of Entomology in Art, History, and our Future (co-taught with Dr. Phillip Kaufman)
  • ENY 5405: Insect Vectors of Plant Pathogens
  • ALS 6046: Grant Writing (co-taught with Dr. Jaret Daniels)

Dr. Gillett-Kaufman’s current research is focused on insect pests of olive in Florida and developing IPM programs for olive production in Florida. You can check out one of her EDIS publications on olive pests here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1046.
When asked what she enjoys most about her job, Dr. Gillett-Kaufman replied, “Learning new things and meeting new people. In my position I get to learn about and work on new and different topics all the time, it keeps things interesting.”

Before serving in her current role as Associate Extension Scientist, Dr. Gillett-Kaufman worked at the USDA-ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE) in Gainesville as an insect molecular biologist. She worked at the USDA-ARS CMAVE while she was pursuing her undergraduate and graduate degrees at UF. She received her B.S. in Agricultural Education and Communication in 1998, an M.S. in Plant Pathology in 2001, and a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology with a specialization in entomology in 2003. When asked what inspired her to pursue a career in IPM/Entomology Dr. Gillett-Kaufman shared the following, “I was involved in FFA and 4-H in high school and I always had an interest in agriculture and science, but what got me interested in IPM was an experience in an FFA extemporaneous public speaking event. I happened to pull out of a hat the topic IPM and through preparing my speech for the contest I learned about IPM and became really interested.”

Dr. Gillett-Kaufman is supportive of the DPM program and DPM students. She currently serves on the committees of three DPM students: Morgan Byron, Eleanor Phillips, and Rebecca Rabinowitz. Dr. Gillett-Kaufman stated that she appreciates the interdisciplinary nature of the DPM program curriculum and believes that it provides students with a more holistic view of problems in the field. She thinks this type of training prepares students well for future careers in agriculture and being able to solve problems.

Dr. Gillett-Kaufman was asked to share a few words of advice for our student readers. She encourages all to, “Take as many opportunities as you can to be better writers and public speakers. Strong communication skills are extremely important and are always something that can be improved.” She also advises students to participate in international travel like the upcoming DPM Program trip to Ecuador.
“Visiting other countries, especially developing countries helps you understand why your science is important and how your science contributes to others around the world.”