Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Plant and Animal Science
Office Location: CANR 225
Office Phone: (518) 255-5647
Office Hours: Mon & Wed 12-3; Thurs 11-12
Areas of Expertise: Greenhouse Production, Nursery Production, Alternative Substrates, Root Growth, Biochar, Fruit Science, Soil Science, Interior Plants and Floriculture
Courses Taught: ORHT 321 – Herbaceous Plant Materials, AGRN 251 – Fruit Science
About Lesley: My love for horticulture began in high school with my very first job – working at a local greenhouse and nursery retail center near my hometown in Michigan. I loved working outside, caring for plants and learning all I could to help customers choose plants best suited for their environmental conditions. At the time, I didn’t know horticulture was a degree option but I’m so glad I found it at Michigan State.
I graduated from Michigan State University in 2010 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Horticulture with a specialization in Landscape Design. While working on my degree there, I was able to work part-time jobs at MSU’s research greenhouses and therapy gardens. I really enjoyed the research side of plants, testing new cultivars light and nutrient needs, as well as helping graduate students with their experiments such as growing stevia. After graduating, I joined the Horticulture Department at North Carolina State University to work on a Master’s degree in Alternative Greenhouse Substrates and their effects on root growth. My research group developed the mini-horhizotron to track root growth of floriculture crops, a very cool device.
I graduated with my M.S. in 2013 and stayed on at NCSU for my Ph.D. continuing to work in Alternative Substrates but changing my focus to biochar. I worked extensively on the chemical and physical properties of biochar produced from wood chips and rice hulls, even producing my own biochar with a Top-Lit Updraft Gasifier crafted by the Bio & Ag Engineering Dept at NCSU. After receiving my Ph.D., I moved to New Mexico to start my new teaching and research job as an Assistant Professor of Agricultural Science at Eastern New Mexico University. Managing water use of horticultural crops was the biggest project I worked on while I was at ENMU, being in the desert and all.
After my brother was diagnosed with cancer, I started to feel the need to be closer to family, so after two years at ENMU I accepted this position at SUNY Cobleskill in 2018. I am very excited to be here, not only because I’m closer to family, but because I get to be surrounded by students who show such interest and passion for plants and the environment!
Curriculum Vitae: Ph.D., North Carolina State University, Horticultural Science with Soil Science minor, 2016 under the direction of Drs. Brian E. Jackson and William C. Fonteno
Dissertation title: Physical and Chemical Analyses of Two Biochars Produced from Pine Wood Chips and Rice Hulls and Their Effects on Container Substrates
M.S., North Carolina State University, Horticultural Science, Horticultural Substrates 2013 under the direction of Dr. Brian E. Jackson
Thesis title: Rhizometrics: Novel Techniques to Observe and Measure Root Growth of Container-Grown Crops B.S., Michigan State University, Horticulture specializing in Landscape Design 2010
Professional Conferences: International Society for Horticultural Science – Growing Media Symposium, August 2017, Portland, OR. Oral and Poster Presentation.
American Society for Horticultural Science Conference, August 2015, New Orleans, LA. Poster Presentation
International Plant Propagators’ Society Southern Region Conference, October 2014, Hickory, NC. Oral Presentation