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Fall 2017 Review!

We made it! Our fall semester is behind us, and we are ready to start anew. Let’s take a look on what happened this semester…

Three new students joined the program: Amanda Long, Michael Gonzalez, and Susan Swatzfager. Let’s get to know them!

Amanda Long

Amanda graduated from Florida Southern College with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts in Music. She will be working for Dr. Peterson in the Environmental Horticulture Department. She heard about the DPM program at the 2016 American Phytopathological Society meeting. She met Dr. Hodges and was intrigued by the broad, multi-disciplinary nature of the program. She also interned with Syngenta this summer as the Citrus Soil Assay Lab Manager where they processed over 1,700 soil samples to provide FL citrus growers with Phytophthora and root mass data.


In her spare time…“I enjoy playing the piano. I studied classical piano performance at Florida Southern College and I’ve been playing for 17 years. I also enjoy running, and I’m currently training for my 9th half marathon.”


Susan Swartzfager

Susan graduated in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Education and Communications. She taught agriculture and science for 30 years. She taught middle and high school students in Citrus, Volusia, and Sumter counties throughout her career. Her father suggested the agriculture major and her mom encouraged her to go back for her maters in Agriculture Education in 2007. Dr. Myer was a tremendous influence in her career working with agriscience projects and was steering her towards the DPM program. Dr. Osborn also influenced her decision to apply to the DPM program and taught her children at UF!


Fun facts about Susan… “I have a small greenhouse from which I sell Hoya species plants and cuttings to people in the U.S., Canada and Europe. I love growing Hoya spp. (Asclepiads, milkweed family). I carry on the tradition that my grandmother, Genieve Hall McDonald, began in the middle to late 1950’s of growing, cross breeding and selling Hoya. She also worked with the University of Florida with growing her Hoya and reporting to them on growth habit, seed pods and viability of seed after pods pop open. My children grew up on the family farm. Two children are Agriculture teachers and one is a police officer. I am a “Granny” four times over! My grandchildren are joys that range in age from 1 to 4 years in age. I am a native Floridian however I grew up in Alaska, Japan, Okinawa, and Germany. My father was an Army veteran.”

Michael Gonzalez

Michael received a Bachelor of Science in Horticultural Science Specialization in Organic Crop Production and a Master of Science in Entomology with focus on Integrated Pest Management at UF. He will be working with Dr. Oscar Liburd in the Small Fruit and Vegetable IPM Lab. He heard about the DPM program throughout his time in the Entomology. He joined the program because he wanted to focus his education on hands-on plant diagnostics. He wants to own a farm one day, and the multi-disciplinary comprehensive curriculum of the program is perfect for him.

Fun fact about Michael… “Poochie Life!! Furry family!! I love my dogs!”



Our DPM Seminar Series: Career Pathways was a success! We had many great speakers including some DPM Alumni as well as UF Entomology Alumni.

We had our first DPM Alumni reunion!

The Integrated Plant Medicine class had many field trips throughout the semester! Remember the Naples, FL one? It was fun until Irma came…

Our students Cory Penca and Matt Borden received 2nd place in their competition sections at ESA!

Of course, can’t forget about the solar eclipse!

And lastly…our lovely Fall 2017 DPM graduates, Dr. Morgan Byron and Dr. Lisbeth Espinoza! We are so proud of you!

Thank you for all the faculty and staff for always supporting program. To our fearless leader, Dr. Amanda Hodges, thank you for everything you do for us!

See you next semester!