by Nicole Casuso | DPM Newsletter Spring 2014
Q. Can you give us insight on your academic background?
A. I received a Bachelor’s in Agricultural (Honors in Plant Protection) from Punjab Agricultural University, Punjab, India. The Punjab Agricultural University is Asia’s leading Agricultural University and is responsible for bringing the ‘Green Revolution’ in India. I then moved to United Kingdom and obtained a Master’s Degree in Crop Protection from University of Reading.
Q. What is your current profession?
A. I currently direct the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center’s Plant Diagnostic Center. Everybody here calls me ‘Plant Doctor’. I am an Assistant Professor of Plant Diagnostics and a State Plant Diagnostics Specialist. After being promoted to an Assistant Professor last year, I have become the first Tenure Track Assistant Professor in the United States with a Doctor of Plant Medicine degree.
Q. What previous involvement led to your present position? A. I held an instructor position (2008-2013) and an extension associate position (2007-2008) with the LSU AgCenter. Prior to joining the LSU AgCenter, I held a Post-Doctoral Associate position (2005 -2007) in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at the University of Florida. I became a Plant Doctor in 2004. Q. So what made you choose DPM?
A. I never wanted to focus on just one area related to plant health such as Plant Pathology or Entomology. I always wanted to do something different, but was never sure. Then I came to know about the DPM program and without any hesitation I called Dr. Agrios and the next thing I know, I was accepted to the program. Truly the intensity and the inter-disciplinary nature of the program attracted me to become a Plant Doctor.
Q. How do you feel your DPM degree has influenced you?
A. I love my career and it is because of the DPM program that I have been able to achieve so much in such a short time. The newly advanced Plant Diagnostic Center was known as Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic. It is because of the DPM training and experience that I was able to convert the Clinic to the Plant Diagnostic Center and provide our clients a one-stop shopping for all their plant health problems. Every day, I work with something new and different. You never know what kind of plant sample will walk into the Center. I believe that DPM has provided me with the training and confidence to fulfill the mission of my program. Go DPM!