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Jessica Ellis

Summer Scholar 2020 - Jessica Ellis
Project Title: 
New England Grape Survey
Program Year: 
Horticultural Science
Elsa Petit

This project is focused on understanding the needs of grape growers throughout New England. It involves the development and implementation of a survey with questions designed to obtain a comprehensive knowledge of the New England grape-growing industry and to help determine the support and educational resources growers need most.


With the guidance of my supervisor, Elsa Petit, I was able to assemble a survey that will help us understand the circumstances of grape growers all across New England. After many brainstorming sessions, we narrowed down the most important information we wanted to know. I created and rephrased question that will allow us to obtain information in the easiest way possible for the growers to respond and for the researchers to review, keeping in mind which questions should be shown for respective growers as they share with us information about their particular situations. I was able to cultivate a nuanced understanding of Qualtrics, an online survey tool, and keep our survey looking clean and inviting despite the considerable wealth of information we are collecting.


Every chance I get to work with Elsa, I feel myself opening up to new inspirations for my future. Our interests align in a special way and her belief in my capabilities is one of the biggest blessings in my life. Beyond her personal mentorship, however, her guidance on this project has opened my eyes to the complexities of grape growing and deeply familiarized me with the many options that are available to growers. Our questions span the topics of variety, cultivation, purpose, pests, pathogens, treatment, and so much more -- my perspective of this industry has changed in a very tangible way. I know now more than ever that I would love to be a part of a grape growing operation, aiding growers in the retention of their vineyard health and production. I feel that this comprehensive exposure to the grape growing industry has fueled my enthusiasm for my involvement in this area and I’m excited to see where my newfound knowledge will take me.