This summer, I worked in Dr. Masoud Hashemi’s lab with PhD candidate Arthur Siller and Plant & Soil Science masters student Jasper Cowley. Due to Masoud’s role as Crops, Dairy, Livestock, Equine Extension Team Leader and my past experience being in vegetable growing, this research opportunity gave me a plethora of new experiences, and helped me to dive into an unfamiliar world. Additionally, this position not only enabled me to assist Arthur with many research projects pertaining to alternative forages, but I was also able to interact with local farmers, and more deeply understand the community education work that is at the heart of extension programming.
My summer consisted of lots of hands-on farming work in which I planted, weeded, and harvested our experiments. In total, Arthur managed six different projects, and I was able to assist with all of them in some way or another. I spent a lot of my time preparing for, and managing year one of our experiment testing the viability of crabgrass as a summer forage in New England. I was able to read the existing literature and research on crabgrass, have a full understanding of the experimental design, plant the experiment, participate in its harvest, and am now able to partake in further data analysis. The summer scholars program gave me a really great introduction to agricultural research, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to learn as much as I did.