Meet some of PPEM's 2022 Ph.D., M.S., Intercollege, and World Campus graduates, as well as undergraduates who minored in Plant Pathology and/or Mushroom Science and Technology or who worked in PPEM labs.

Graduate Program

Tyler McFeaters

M.S., Plant Pathology; International Ag & Development

Tyler McFeaters has accepted a position as a research technologist at Penn State.

McFeaters' thesis is titled "Field-Scale Spatial Distribution and Genotypic Diversity of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum in Soybeans." His research included studying the population genetics and epidemiology of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, the causal, fungal pathogen of white mold in soybean. His project focused on determining the field-scale distribution of S. sclerotiorum and genotyping approximately 300 isolates. Pennsylvanian S. sclerotiorum populations were compared to Brazilian and New York populations. The findings are important in developing management strategies for white mold in soybeans and reducing the risk of fungicide resistance. Another aspect of his research was the validation of the Sporecaster mobile application for use by Northeast U.S. soybean growers. The Sporecaster mobile application is a forecasting tool developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that helps growers make in-season fungicide application decisions. The app's models were found to be accurate in predicting white mold disease incidence, which provides growers a great resource when timing preventative fungicide applications.

When asked about insight for prospective students, McFeaters responded, "The Penn State PPEM Department is a very friendly environment where you will be surrounded by many great faculty, staff, and students always looking to give a helping hand! I would recommend finding an advisor who is a great fit for your personality and allows you to work on a project you are passionate about. My time at Penn State has opened many career opportunities for my future and has been a true blessing."

Alexander Varaksa

M.S., Plant Pathology

Alexander Varaksa has accepted a position as a biological science technician at USDA Agricultural Research Service.

Varaksa's thesis is titled "Assessing Grapevine Leafroll Disease Impact in Commercial Vineyards Throughout Pennsylvania." His research involved conducting disease testing to determine the incidence and spread of grapevine leafroll disease (GLD) in Pennsylvania commercial vineyards from 2018 to 2021, assessing GLD impact in four Pennsylvania vineyards and attempting to correlate vineyard specific weather conditions with GLD impact using regression statistics.

In 2020, Varaksa was vice president of the Plant Pathology Association. 

When asked about insight for prospective students, Varaksa responded, "There are many great faculty and students in the department. Take the time to find the perfect environment for you."

Undergraduate Program

Ian Finn

Mushroom Science and Technology Minor
B.S., Food Science

Meet the 2021 Graduates

Meet PPEM's 2021 Ph.D., M.S., and World Campus graduates, as well as undergraduates who minored in Plant Pathology and/or Mushroom Science and Technology or who worked in PPEM labs.

Meet the 2020 Graduates

Meet PPEM's 2020 Ph.D., M.S., and World Campus graduates, as well as undergraduates who minored in Plant Pathology and/or Mushroom Science and Technology or who worked in PPEM labs.

Meet the 2019 Graduates

Meet PPEM's 2019 Ph.D., M.S., and World Campus graduates, as well as undergraduates who minored in Plant Pathology and/or Mushroom Science and Technology or who worked in PPEM labs.

Meet the 2018 Graduates

Meet PPEM's 2018 Ph.D., M.S., and World Campus graduates, as well as undergraduates who minored in Plant Pathology and/or Mushroom Science and Technology or who worked in PPEM labs.

Meet the 2017 Graduates

Meet some of PPEM's 2017 Ph.D., M.S., Intercollege, and World Campus graduates, as well as undergraduates who minored in Plant Pathology and/or Mushroom Science and Technology or who worked in PPEM labs.

Meet the 2016 Graduates

Meet PPEM's 2016 Ph.D., M.S., and World Campus graduates, as well as undergraduates who minored in Plant Pathology and/or Mushroom Science and Technology or who worked in PPEM labs.

Photos of 2017 Graduates

Photos of 2017 PPEM Ph.D., M.S., Intercollege, and World Campus graduates, as well as undergraduates who minored in Plant Pathology and/or Mushroom Science and Technology or who worked in PPEM labs.

Photos of 2016 Graduates

Photos of 2016 PPEM Ph.D., M.S., and World Campus graduates, as well as undergraduates who minored in Plant Pathology and/or Mushroom Science and Technology or who worked in PPEM labs.

Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology

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