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Luke Joseph

Luke Joseph
Project Title: 
Investigating the Effects of Photosynthetically Active Radiation on Chlorophyll Content in Butternut Squash
Program Year: 
Chemical Engineering
Clem Clay

Throughout the summer, I had the privilege of working with the UMass Extension program on their Dual-Use Solar and Agriculture initiative under the leadership of Sam Glaze-Corcoran. My primary task involved conducting field maintenance for climate sensors across multiple farm sites as a part of a large-scale agrovoltaics study. I played an active role in assembly, installation, and troubleshooting climate sensors for data collection at three distinct farm sites within Massachusetts: Grafton, Monson, and Hadley. As my internship progressed, I shifted my attention to devising original research with data captured from Grafton, MA, investigating the effects of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) on chlorophyll content in butternut squash, Cucurbita moschata. By creating a unique experimental design setup and analyzing large sets of data captured from the field, I was able to discover valuable insights on the behavior of plants under varying light conditions in an agrovoltaic environment. From this experience, I recognized the significant potential of agrovolatic farming, not just as an innovative technique in agriculture, but as a progressive concept that promotes sustainable and efficient land use. A sincere thank you to Sam Glaze-Corcoran for her mentorship in experimental design relating to agricultural and biological research. Additionally, many thanks to my supervisor, Clem Clay, and the entire UMass Extension Dual-Use Research team for their consistent support and guidance.