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K-State Today

May 17, 2013

Careers in agricultural sciences, plant pathology are focus of June 12 program in Manhattan

Submitted by Mary Lou Peter

Undergraduate college and high school students are invited to attend a free program Wednesday, June 12, in Manhattan to learn about the array of career possibilities in plant pathology and agricultural sciences in general.

"Many students — even if they really enjoy science — do not know about the many careers available in the agricultural sciences," said Chris Little, assistant professor in plant pathology. "They often have not been exposed to the career paths that they can begin while in college and even in high school."

Little is coordinating the program, which is planned as part of a meeting of the North Central Division of the American Phytopathological Society from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Manhattan. Students will meet at the hotel. Transportation will be provided to the field tours and K-State's Throckmorton Plant Sciences Center for lunch and afternoon lab tours and activities, before returning to the hotel. A complimentary box lunch will be provided for students who register by June 3. Students can register by contacting Stephanie Alvord-Albanese at stepha1@ksu.edu or 785-532-6176. Students should include their name and/or faculty or student advisor's name, email address, telephone number and mailing address. The student's school, year in school and name of academic advisor are also requested.

Students will tour research fields in the morning and hear presentations about wheat genetics and diseases and research on big bluestem grass, which is not only forage for livestock, but has shown potential as a biofuel for the future.

After lunch, the students will move into K-State labs to hear about the plant disease diagnostic lab — including a plant disease show and tell and diagnostic technologies; microscopy, cytogenetics and how that pertains to chromosome visualization and engineering; a look at microscopy and fungal imaging using the examples of rice blast disease infected and non-infected plants; and resistant versus susceptible.  

The students will also get an up close view of viruses in plants and their symptoms; a microscopic view of insect vectors; a demonstration of the use of a gene gun and a discussion about genetically-modified organisms. The afternoon will wrap up with a look at the destructive disease, wheat rust and view a demonstration on how scientists are using genetics to combat the disease.

A flier about the free career day is available online.