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Spring 2016 PPEM Graduates

Posted: May 8, 2016

One Ph.D. Plant Pathology graduate, one Mushroom Science Technology minor graduate, and five iMPS Homeland Security graduates join PPEM alumni.
(L-R) Dr. Gretchen Kuldau, Willis Glass, and Dr. Catherine Cutter (Food Science) after the graduation ceremonies. Image: Gretchen Kuldau

(L-R) Dr. Gretchen Kuldau, Willis Glass, and Dr. Catherine Cutter (Food Science) after the graduation ceremonies. Image: Gretchen Kuldau

Sarah Bardsley Capasso, Ph.D. Plant Pathology

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Sarah Bardsley Capasso, of Bethel Township, PA, pursued a degree in plant pathology because she wanted to learn more about science and agriculture and get involved in applied research to potentially improve the lives of her community. Her dissertation titled, "Antibiotic resistance in Pennsylvania stone fruit orchards" focused on bacterial spot on stone fruit, the worst bacterial disease of peach and nectarines in the eastern U.S. fruit tree industry. Sarah enjoyed her experience working with the fruit tree growers of Pennsylvania.

When asked what advice she would offer to future graduate students, Sarah said, “Know your adviser’s expectations of you. Set goals. It’s not enough just to do lab work, but get involved in extracurricular activities where you can practice your leadership and team building skills.”

Sarah currently works as a postdoc with Drs. Kari Peter and María del Mar Jiménez Gasco at the Fruit Research and Extension Center examining storage rots of apples and the effect of pH on antibiotic sensitivity. She hopes to continue to use her degree to help improve plant disease management by making disease management strategies more effective, less costly, and safer for the environment, farmers, and consumers.

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Kim Riley, iMPS  Homeland Security-Agricultural Biosecurity and Food Defense

Kim Riley always wanted to attend Penn State and hopes to advance her career with her Penn State World Campus intercollege Master of Professional Studies (iMPS) in Homeland Security degree. However she admits to just “pure bragging rights.”

The intercollege Master of Professional Studies (iMPS) Homeland Security-Agricultural Biosecurity and Food Defense degree is an online program through World Campus. It offers flexibility and convenience, allowing one to connect with faculty apart from a classroom setting and to work full time while pursuing a degree.

Susan Menges Hurley, iMPS  Homeland Security-Agricultural Biosecurity and Food Defense

Susan desired to continuously educate and challenge herself, so her next step was to pursue a master's degree.  The Homeland Security program with the agricultural biosecurity and food defense option was an excellent fit.  Susan believes she has consequently solidified her place as a professional in her field and recommends this program to others, regardless of which Homeland Security option is selected.  She said that given the state of affairs in today’s world, “we need professionals who can be leaders in preventing, mitigating, and responding to threats of any kind.”

Amy Daffe, iMPS Homeland Security-Agricultural Biosecurity and Food Defense

Willis Glass, iMPS Homeland Security-Agricultural Biosecurity and Food Defense

Neal Williams, iMPS Homeland Security-Agricultural Biosecurity and Food Defense

Benjamin Nason, B.S. Horticulture, Mushroom Science Technology minor

Contact Information

Carolyn K. Boring
  • Graduate Program Coordinator
Phone: 814-865-7069