What do you do in your current role with the University of Missouri?
I am the horticulture specialist serving the east-central region of Missouri based in Ste. Genevieve County. I cover the 17 counties in the east-central region. I am comfortable teaching most horticulture topics, but my favorites are fruits and vegetables, and of course, anything pumpkin related! I teach programs for both commercial and homeowners. I also coordinate a couple of Extension Master Gardener groups.
How long have you worked in this position?
I have worked for MU Extension since 2008. I just celebrated my 14th anniversary.
What is your favorite part about the work you do?
I am continually learning something new about horticulture from the questions that come in or from visits with producers. I enjoy working with homeowners and commercial growers to solve their problems and teach them about horticulture.
How are you helping MU A&E Extension reach our #2xAg2030 goal?
By working with homeowners and commercial growers, I help to increase their understanding of good horticulture practices — fertilizing according to the soil test, using pesticides responsibly, and identifying problems. This helps increase horticulture production while protecting Missouri’s natural resources.
What is something your CAFNR and MU Extension teammates may not know about you?
I have lots of hobbies. One that most people know about is my obsession with pumpkins. I grow over 200 varieties. However, not many people know that I love to research my genealogy. One interesting tidbit is that I have ancestors who were some of the first settlers in Ste. Genevieve County, even though both of my parents are from Illinois.
What is your hometown, place of high school graduation and degrees/universities?
I am originally from Perry County and graduated from Perryville High School. My bachelor’s degree is from College of the Ozarks in agriculture with an emphasis in horticulture, and my master’s degree is from Southern Illinois University in plant and soil science.