Noelle is learning more about sustainable farming in her M.S. degree

The best part of her Horticulture master's program is conducting applied field research on campus and on vegetable growers' farms.

Noelle Connors is studying the use of mechanical cultivation to manage weeds in organic vegetable systems through her Horticulture master's program. Specifically, she helps test different cultivation tools in carrots, onions, and squash to determine when different tools are most effective, and how growers can kill more weeds without harming the crop.

Why did you choose Horticulture as your advanced degree?

I studied environmental studies in my undergrad at Hamilton College, and during that time I started working on different organic farms. I was interested in learning more about sustainable farming, and the science behind agricultural management. I chose Horticulture specifically because I enjoyed working with vegetables and I wanted to learn more about them.

What has been the best experience in grad school so far?

The best experience in grad school so far has been doing field research at the Horticulture farm. It’s exciting to design an experiment and be able to test it in the field. It has also been fun to work with different growers to conduct similar experiments on their farms, which helps us gather more data and learn from the farmers about how they manage their vegetable farms.

What is the best selling point about Horticulture and your choice to study it at MSU that you would like others to know?

Horticulture is exciting because there’s so many different aspects to it, and I get to work alongside people studying vegetables, flowering plants, fruits and Christmas trees.

MSU is a great place to learn about all of these different areas of research because the professors and other students are so passionate about their work. I’ve enjoyed classes in everything from computational plant sciences and genetics to more applied classes like soil fertility management. 

What are your future plans (i.e. – what would be your ideal job after you graduate)?

After graduation, I plan to continue studying Horticulture in a Ph.D. program. Ultimately, I hope to teach or work in agricultural research.

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