Available Internships

Branch Experiment Stations – Experiential Learning Initiative

Food Product and Process Development at the Food Innovation Center

Faculty Mentor Name: Ryan Graebner

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021

BES Faculty Mentor Name: Sarah Masoni

BES Facility Name: Food Innovation Center

Location (town name) of BES Facility: Portland, OR

Short Project Description: 

Working closely with the product and process development team at the Food Innovation Center, you will help develop novel food products and learn the basics of food formulation with hands on experience.  You will be immersed in the day to day activities of our team, and be responsible for learning bench top formulation, nutrition database labeling, lab analysis including pH, water activity and brix.  We will include you in daily strategy  meetings and you will learn about how to work with a team of dedicated professionals innovating in the food space.  Every day is different in our labs, so you may not have a specific research project, you will have many.  You can have a project of your choosing to work on through out the summer, so that you can report back at the end of your internship.

Student Responsibilities: 

Food recipe conversions from volumetric measurements to scale/weight based formulas

Project Objectives: 

Our team works on benchtop formulations of food products for many different commercial clients.  We are hired by small food processors to develop new ideas that may have and make them a reality.  It is our responsibility to become their food scientist, to make sure that their food that we develop is safe for consumption and follows food safety guidelines, tastes good and looks good.  We help you clients to learn about the food industry so that when they leave our service, they are confident in the product that we have developed for them and they can go out and manufacture and sell the products successfully.  Our objective is to make sure that our clients are successful based upon the work that we are hired by them to complete.

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

  • General food lab experience.   
  • Understanding of food safety related issues for food production.  Microsoft Office, Powerpoint, Word, Excel.
  • Able to lift 25 pounds
  • Supplies procurement at local grocery and supply stores
  • Drivers license and car preferred
  • Maybe required to travel over night if we have an out of town project.  Travel expenses reimbursed
  • Ability to follow a recipe preferred
  • General kitchen skills

Student Learning Outcomes:

At the end of your internship you will be able to formulate a food product, with a clear understanding of formulation. You will be able to perform general laboratory analysis pH, water activity and brix analysis

Specific Duration Details: June 21, 2021 through September 3, 2021

Student Hourly Salary: $15.00/hour    

Expected Hours/Week: maximum 40 hours per week

Hourly Working Parameters: We generally work 8 am - 5:00 pm Monday thru Friday. Rare exceptions we would have evening and weekend events, and possibly may travel to a location.

Housing Benefit: Food Innovation Center does not provide housing

Special Considerations: No

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: No

Medical Food Production for Treatment of Metabolic Disease

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021

BES Faculty Mentor Name: David Stone

BES Station Name: Food Innovation Center

Location (town name) of BES Station:  Portland, OR

Short Project Description: 

The intern would assist Dr. Stone with the production of a medical syrup and dosing with an experimental compound for the treatment of a metabolic disorder.  This project is the result of a collaboration between the Food Innovation Center and Oregon Health and Science University and part of a multi-year NIH grant.  The experimental compound is being assessed on patients (mostly children) that have an ultra-rare disease.  The syrup-compound mixture is shipped to locations across Canada and the U.S.

Student Responsibilities: 

The intern would work in a hygienic zone, following a food safety plan and specific formulation guidelines.  Syrup production involves precision in weighing ingredients, formulating and processing the syrup.  Dosing involves mixing the experimental compound and bottling and labeling.  Student would also be responsible for cleaning/sanitizing protocols, as well as distribution to OHSU's Research Pharmacy.  Student would also rotate with the other FIC project cores (product development, sensory and consumer evaluation and food safety) to learn about the entire FIC mission.

Project Objectives: 

  • Assist with development of medical syrup for distribution to patients enrolled in a clinical trial.
  • Assist with bottling and tracking of samples for distribution to OHSU Research Pharmacy.
  • Following established protocols for food safety, cleaning and sanitizing.

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

Detail-oriented; QA?QC-oriented;  ability to follow SOPs, dependable.  Advanced undergraduate experience preferred.  Basic wet-lab skills preferred.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Following and building formulation spec sheets
  • Medical food regulations and background
  • Food safety knowledge, including food safety plans
  • Cleaning and sanitizing experience and background
  • pH and ATP testing
  • QA/QC skill-building background

Specific Duration Details: Summer

Student Hourly Salary: Negotiable   

Expected Hours/Week: Negotiable

Hourly Working Parameters: 

Housing Benefit: 

Special Considerations: No

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: Yes

Sensory and Consumer Research/Testing

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022

BES Faculty Mentor Name: Aimee Hasenbeck and Ann Colonna

BES Station Name: Food Innovation Center

Location (town name) of BES Station: Portland, OR

Short Project Description: 

The Sensory Intern will be assisting the Sensory Program Manager, Sensory Specialist and other Sensory Program Staff with all aspects of sensory testing.  Sensory tests are typically conducted at the FIC laboratory complex in Portland; however, occassionally tests will take place off-site. The laboratory complex includes a reception area, 10 booths and a staging area, a focus room, observation area and a commercial kitchen.  The student intern will gain excellent real world, hands-on skills in dealing with clients and administering sensory tests from beginning to end.  Students will be responsible for reporting these results to FIC staff upon completion of their internship.

Student Responsibilities: 

Duties will include: meeting with clients to discuss overall testing objectives, putting together a budget and formal proposal, building screeners in Qualtrics, performing a full category review with the sensory team and client, emailing and calling for the recruitment of consumers from an existing database using Microsoft Access, Microsoft Outlook and Qualtrics, advertising through social media, preparing the test ballot in the data acquisition system Compusense, potentially working with the Institutional Review Board on consent forms, preparing the test design and serving order, printing labels, making copies, coding of serving materials, food sample preparation, serving food samples to consumers, clean up of the sensory reception facilities post-test, analyzing testing results and preparing a full report for the client.

Project Objectives: 

The student will be expected to help with all aspects of consumer testing, from the initial contact with the client to the final report. Examples of some of our typical project objectives include:

  • determining consumer preference for products
  • assessing differences between products
  • testing consumer perception of product concepts
  • gathering qualitative feedback from consumers on various product aspects

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

Preferred skills/ experience include individuals who are highly detailed oriented; interested in consumer research/ sensory science/data analysis/  food science/ marketing and/or psychology; competent in Microsoft Office suite; comfortable speaking to groups from the general public, possesses basic food preparation skills; and most importantly, has the desire to learn more about sensory science.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Student will leave the internship with knowledge of sensory science.  They will gain experience in contacting clients, designing, executing, analyzing and reporting sensory research.

Specific Duration Details:

Student Hourly Salary: $15.00/hour    

Expected Hours/Week: 40 hours per week in Summer and 20 hours per week during Fall, Winter, Spring , depending on our client and grant workload at time of the internship.

Hourly Working Parameters: On rare occasions, we might conduct a test on weekends or after work hours. However, hours will most often fall within Monday to Friday 8am-5pm, and off-hours would be communicated well in advance.

Housing Benefit: No housing benefit will be provided

Special Considerations: No

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: No

Sustainable horticulture

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021

BES Faculty Mentor Name: Scott Lukas

BES Station Name: Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center

Location (town name) of BES Station: Hermiston

Short Project Description: 

The internship will be located at the Oregon State University (OSU), Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center (HAREC), Integrative Horticulture Lab (IHL).  HAREC is located in Hermiston, OR at the center of 450,000 acres of high-yielding, diverse irrigated cropland in Oregon and Washington's Columbia Basin.

The student will engage in multiple projects over the season but will have the opportunity to choose the project of his/her interest to satisfy the writing/poster requirements of the Branch Experiment Station (BES) program.  Projects will likely include: 1) research to optimize blueberry production with biochar, 2)  characterization of soil physical properties to enhance nutrient and water inputs, 3) a study to assess and quantify nitrate leaching in the soil profile in an onion production system, and 4) water utilization of industrial hemp.  Throughout the season, the student can emphasize a project of interest but will have responsibilities for managing the field maintenance program of other ongoing experiments.

Student Responsibilities: 

This internship opportunity will be conducting field-based research and data collection, which focuses on fostering environmental stewardship while maintaining competitive vegetable production outputs.  Research programs are primarily based in the field setting.  The student will acquire knowledge in field production systems, experimental design, and data collection in row crops and will work closely with other students, and report directly to the principal investigator.

Project Objectives: 

The objectives of this opportunity are to: 1) build applied research skills in agricultural crop science; 2) engage collaboratively with other students and scientists; 3) learn about crop production while fostering environmental sustainability.

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

The Integrative Horticulture Lab (IHL) is seeking a student who has an interest in developing research-based methods to improve food crop sustainability in large scale production systems.  The student is expected to work 40 hours per week, but will have the flexibility for time off and work scheduling.

Previous experience working outdoors is desired, as this opportunity will be primarily working in the elements outdoors in an agricultural setting.  Laboratory work will be coupled with fieldwork with some projects.  The intern must be able to work independently and as part of a team, and will report and work closely with the project director to ensure goals are met. 

Previous experience in topics related to crop production, soil science, nutrient management, weed science, and data collection are desired, but not required.  The student may be asked to assist in data entry and to draw conclusions to interpret results.  This internship is designed to be a learning experience for the student to provide educational diversity to aid in a more informed career / academic path.  A strong drive to learn and to think creatively is desired.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • A student completing this opportunity will be expected to have a working knowledge of field-based research skills in irrigated cropping systems.  The internship will provide opportunities to set up research trials, manage experiments, collect data, and data processing leading to a final poster report.  
  • Students will learn practical work skills, that are translatable to future educational and professional opportunities.  
  • Students will learn to collaborate and work with a team of researchers to learn science firsthand.  
  • Previous students in the Sustainable Horticulture internship program have leveraged their experience to apply to graduate school and scientific positions.  The program will closely work as a team, which will provide letters of recommendation opportunities.

Specific Duration Details: Summer term 2021, but will accept students prior to summer and can stay after if desired. 

Student Hourly Salary: $14.00/hour    

Expected Hours/Week: 40

Hourly Working Parameters: Normal work schedule

Housing Benefit: No housing benefit, but we will help find housing for the intern.

Special Considerations: No

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: Yes

Using drone collected multispectral imagery to improve horticultural production

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021, Spring 2022

BES Faculty Mentor Name: Lloyd Nackley

BES Station Name: NWREC

Location (town name) of BES Station: Aurora (near Portland)

Short Project Description: 

We use our remotely piloted aerial system (RPAS) aka drone to fly over orchard, nursery, and vegetable crops and collect multispectral data. The wavelengths we collect are RGB, IR and near-IR. We are seeking a student assistant to help with the data collection and analysis. This project is expected to take place at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora, OR, near Portland, where our RPAS pilot will fly the experiments on station, and the BES student researcher will analyze the data. If COVID protocols or other situations arise the work can been done entirely remotely through shared image folders and remote analysis. The project aims to correlate images collected by the drone with images collected by our sensors on the ground. In addition to learning about remote sensing in agriculture, there will be opportunities to learn about irrigation management, plant ecophysiology, plant responses to drought stress and cultural practices that affect plant growth.

Student Responsibilities: 

the student will be expected to check in daily with project leaders, gather data, analyze data, and present weekly reports to the team. the student will be responsible for maintaining a safe and professional workspace, and support the project leadership with horticultural and technical aspects of project management.   If the student desires, we will support their pilot licensing so they can fly the drone too. This is not a requirement.

Project Objectives: 

the project is designed to develop a crop water stress index for orchard and nursery production systems. A crop water stress index provides farmers with a sensor-based threshold that can inform irrigation management.

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

  • familiarity with ARC GIS or other remote sensing mapping and database software management.
  • familiarity with remote sensing in agriculture.
  • familiarity with Microsoft office suite

Student Learning Outcomes:

a student will gain in-depth experience with remote sensing, drone collected imagery, horticultural production practices, report presentations.

Specific Duration Details:

Student Hourly Salary: $14.00/hour    

Expected Hours/Week: minimum 10 hrs a week.  Maximum 40 (during summer) and max 20 if hired during school terms.

Hourly Working Parameters: flexible working hours. will not be expected to work outside of normal business hours.

Housing Benefit: housing is not available.

Special Considerations: Yes

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: Yes

Weed Management in Semi-Arid Wheat Production Systems to Conserve Water and Reduce Herbicide-Resistant Weeds

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021, Fall 2021

BES Faculty Mentor Name: Judit Barroso

BES Station Name: Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center (CBARC)

Location (town name) of BES Station: Pendleton

Short Project Description: 

Since herbicides were launched in 1974, weed control has been based on herbicides as its main tool. Although, this tool worked fantastically for several decades, agriculture nowadays is being threaten due to the increase of herbicide-resistant weeds. New weed control strategies are needed to extend the life expectancy of herbicides, reduce reliance on herbicides, and maintain sustainability in semi-arid cropping systems.

Many growers are using tillage to solve the problem of having herbicide-resistant weeds. However, scientists from the semi-arid Pacific Northwest (PNW) have demonstrated that frequent tillage produces serious soil erosion. No-till and minimum tillage agriculture have shown to reduce soil erosion but the herbicide resistance is challenging this type of farming, particularly the no-till agriculture. No-till growers are in urgent need of more tools to help control weeds.

This project will concentrate on two main goals: 1) Evaluate the potential benefits of harvest weed seed control (HWSC) to reduce weed infestations and protect yields in wheat-production systems in the PNW. In Australia, those practices are successfully controlling weeds, but we do not know their efficacy in the USA, and 2) Evaluate the importance of post-harvest weed control. In the semi-arid region of eastern Oregon, Russian thistle (Salsola tragus), Kochia (Bassia scoparia), and prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola) are three important weed species that can regrow after harvest and use a significant amount of water. However, the importance of post-harvest weed control to preserve soil water and reduce the soil seed bank has not been explored adequately and some growers are skeptical of their benefits.

Student Responsibilities: 

For this project, the student will be expected to spend about 20 hours per week outdoors and about 20 hours per week indoors.
Among the different tasks where the student is expected to help are:

  1. Collect ten weed plants per species from wheat fields near CBARC once per week before and during harvest season.
  2. In the same fields, collect weed seeds from trays located around five individual weed plants per species once per week before and during harvest season.
  3. Evaluate seed production and seed retention of the collected plants (point 1) in the lab.
  4. Participate in weed samplings.
  5. Help with growth chamber studies to compare biological wilting points of Russian thistle, kochia, prickly lettuce, spring wheat, and winter wheat.
  6. Help with greenhouse studies to evaluate the potential for each of the mentioned species to use soil water.
  7. Help with two field studies to measure the change in soil water below each species.
  8. Help to analyze data and interpret results.

Project Objectives: 

The main goal of this project is to evaluate:

1) The potential benefits of HWSC to reduce weed infestations and protect yields in wheat-production systems of the PNW.
Particular sub-objectives are:
1.1. Evaluate the seed retention, seed height, and seed production of important weed species at harvest.
1.2. Evaluation of weed infestation and crop yield after harvesting with chaff spreaders and without them.
1.2. Evaluation of the weed seed fate pre-harvest and at harvest (inside of the combine).

2) The importance of post-harvest weed control.
  The particular sub-objectives are:
2.1. Evaluate the potential of Russian thistle, kochia, and prickly lettuce to use soil water in a pot study and in the field.
2.2. Compare the biological wilting point of the mentioned species with spring wheat and winter wheat.

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

  • An interest in agronomy and/or in weed science is desirable.
  • Knowledge of Excel and  programs will help to develop some of the activities but it is not required.

Student Learning Outcomes:

The student can expect to learn:

  • To recognize important weed species in dryland.
  • To be familiar with seeds of different weed species.
  • New practices to control weeds in wheat cropping systems.
  • Weed competition through soil water relations.
  • Differences between research conducted in a growth chamber or greenhouse and research in the field.
  • Some notions to analyze data and interpret results.

Specific Duration Details:

Student Hourly Salary: $14.00/hour    

Expected Hours/Week: I hope for a maximum and minimum of 40h but the minimum can be reduced if need it by the student.

Hourly Working Parameters: Sporadically the work might be expected outside of that range, if the day is going to be very hot and we need to work for several hours outside.

Housing Benefit: 

Special Considerations: Yes

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: Yes

Determine effects of new smoke-mitigating biofilms on wine grape berry growth and composition

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021

BES Faculty Mentor Name: Alexander Levin

BES Station Name: Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center   

Location (town name) of BES Station: Central Point (near Medford)

Short Project Description: 

Volatile compounds released during wildfire events have had devastating effects on Oregon's wine grape crop in recent years. However, growers have few options for preventing this damage. Fortunately, food-grade biofilms that have been developed for other fruit problems (e.g., prevention of cracking in cherries) hold promise in potentially mitigating smoke damage to wine grapes. This preliminary experiment will test several new biofilm formulations for their suitability in preventing smoke damage in wine grapes. The first step is to determine whether or not the films themselves negatively impact wine grape berry growth and composition. The incumbent intern will work closely with on- and off-campus researchers to screen new biofilms. Biofilms will be applied to wine grapes just before the ripening period (July), and fruit growth and composition at harvest (September). The results of the work will guide future research and development of biofilms for smoke damage mitigation.

Student Responsibilities: 

  • Field work: collecting leaves for analysis, operating a pressure chamber to take water status measurements, assisting in measurement of gas exchange, sampling berries for analysis
  • Lab work: preparing leaf samples for analysis, leaf sugar quantification assays, preparing berry samples for analysis, measuring pH/sugar/acidity in berry juice
  • Data analysis: recording and organizing collected data, statistical analysis

Project Objectives: 

Identify and mark treatment plots in research vineyard block. Apply biofilm spray treatments with backpack sprayer at two times before ripening period (early and late July). Harvest fruit from treatment plots in September and quantify berry size and composition. Analyze data to determine any treatment effects and report.

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

Basic proficiency with MS Office suite (i.e. Word, Excel, and Powerpoint). Basic laboratory skills such as weighing, counting, pipetting, and data recording/entry. Experience working outdoors in an agricultural setting (e.g., early morning hours or during hottest part of day). Some specifics below:

  • Field work: ability to stand for long periods of time, ability to lift up to 50 lbs., ability to work outside in varying weather conditions, experience with agriculture or field work is a plus
  • Lab work: pipetting, operating a balance, labelling/organization
  • Data analysis: some statistical knowledge preferred

Student Learning Outcomes:

In general, the student intern will learn the basics of agricultural experimentation, including design, execution, and reporting. Besides the project described herein, the student intern will also be intimately involved in other laboratory research projects and work closely with other station personnel. In the field, intern will learn proper techniques for treatment application, as well as sampling and data collection. In the lab, intern will also learn wet chemistry skills such as pipetting, titration, spectrophotometry, and refractometry. Finally, student will learn basic analysis and summary techniques that will culminate in a presentation of research results. Some specific points are listed below:

  • Field work: operating a pressure chamber, proper field sample collection
  • Lab work: operating pH meter/centrifuge/refractometer/titrator/microplate reader, leaf sugar quantification assay
  • Viticulture: grapevine structure and function, vineyard practices, interpretation of gas exchange data, interpretation of vine water status data, interpretation of leaf sugar data
  • Data analysis: R statistical software, preparation and presentation of data, interpretation of statistical analysis, technical writing/drafting of scientific manuscript

Specific Duration Details: Summer term (June to September)   

Student Hourly Salary: $12.5.00/hour    

Expected Hours/Week: 30-40 hours per week.

Hourly Working Parameters: 

8:30-arrive at station; review literature, record data, prepare materials for field work
9:30-depart the station for field site
10:00-arrive at field site; collect leaf/berry samples
11:30-collect water status and/or gas exchange measurements
2:00-return to station
2:30-prepare/store leaf samples and juice berries for analysis
3:00-conduct chemical analysis of berries (sugar, pH, acidity)
4:00-enter data from berry analysis
4:30-end of day

Housing Benefit: 

Special Considerations: Yes

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: Yes

Effects of trace mineral injections on measures of performance and trace mineral status of heifers and their calves.

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021, Fall 2021

BES Faculty Mentor Name: Juliana Ranches

BES Station Name: Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center; EOARC

Location (town name) of BES Station: Burns

Short Project Description: 

The objective of this study is to investigate the effects of  injectable trace minerals (ITM) provided to heifers and their calves at calving (birth) and at turnout (summer grazing), two challenging events that coincide with periods where cattle are routinely managed. Thus, we hypothesized that heifers and their calves receiving ITM at calving (birth) and at turnout will have better mineral and antioxidant status prior to the next breeding season (heifers) and weaning (calves) which will result in improved pregnancy rates and improved weaning and post-weaning performance when compared to heifers and calves not receiving ITM.

By providing the heifers with ITM at calving we believe that we will rapidly replenish their mineral stores. In addition, we will boost the newborn calf's mineral status at birth and in the following months, which is important because at this phase the calf is highly dependent on the dams' milk, which is a poor source of trace minerals.

By providing a second dose of ITM at turnout, we believe we will boost mineral status of both heifers and calves at a time that is environmentally challenging for both, and will better prepare them for the upcoming breeding season (heifers) and weaning (calves). We will then evaluate calf performance post weaning.

Student Responsibilities: 

The student will be responsible for:

  • daily cattle feeding and intake measuring;
  • cattle handling;
  • feed sample collection and processing;
  • cleaning cattle pens (IF NEEDED);
  • data entry;

The student will assist with:

  • sample collections, such as body weight, blood, and liver samples;
  • blood sample processing and organization;

Project Objectives: 

The main objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of ITM injections on calf performance and mineral status from birth to post-weaning.

A second objective of this study is to evaluate the reproductive performance of these calves' dams (heifers) when receiving two trace minerals injections prior to the breeding season.

* The student will be engaged with the post weaning evaluation phase of this study, which consists of evaluating calf performance, (feed intake, body weight gain) and as well as collecting blood samples for evaluation of metabolic markers such as cortisol and enzymatic activity.

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

  • Experience with cattle handling and management.
  • Ability to frequently lift and/or carry up to 50 pounds.
  • Self-motivated.
  • Experience living or working in rural/remote locations.
  • General knowledge of computers and skills used in word processing and data entry.
  • Ability to carry out tasks independently and part of a team.
  • Ability to work irregular hours, early mornings under adverse field conditions (wind, rain, snow, mud - IF NEEDED).

Student Learning Outcomes:

It is expected the students working in this study will gain knowledge related to:

  • mineral nutrition,
  • beef cattle trace mineral requirements;
  • mineral status of beef cattle and how to access it.
  • research design and development.

This study will also provide the opportunity to closely work with cattle, improving animal handling ability. Additionally, the student will have the opportunity to learn how to collect and process samples such as blood and liver.

Specific Duration Details:

This study is currently underway, however we expect the student to be available for it from mid-August to end of September.

NOTE: This study at some point will overlap with another study in this list: "Mineral supplementation of pre-weaned calves: What is the current recommendation?" and therefore, the student will be expected to work in both studies.

Student Hourly Salary: $14.25/hour    

Expected Hours/Week: 16 - 20 hours.

Hourly Working Parameters: Working during weekends will be required. Additionally, during summer most of the activity will being around 6:30 - 7:00 am.
It is very unlikely that any activity in the field will be conducted during afternoons.

Housing Benefit: The EOARC provides shared housing at no cost.

Special Considerations: No

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: Yes

Mineral supplementation of pre-weaned calves: What is the current recommendation?

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021, Fall 2021

BES Faculty Mentor Name: Juliana Ranches

BES Station Name: Eastern Oregon Agricultural Center; EOARC

Location (town name) of BES Station: Burns

Short Project Description: 

The importance of mineral nutrition for beef cattle has been extensively studied, however, the mineral nutrition of pre-weaned calves, which has been shown to have the same importance as mineral nutrition of mature cattle, has not been studied at the same extent. In fact, most of the work conducted to evaluate the mineral supplementation and status of beef calves have used levels greater than the current recommendations for mature cattle. The nutritional guidelines used in most of the studies are provided by the National Research Committee (NRC) published in the book Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle (referred as NRC), which is now in its eighth revised edition (NRC, 2016). Since its first edition in 1945, the NRC has an entire section dedicated to mineral nutrition, which has been updated over the years. However, the requirements are only estimated for mature cattle, and a section focusing on mineral nutrition of calves prior to weaning has never ever been published.

In a recent study we observed that calves supplemented with trace minerals (Cu, Mn, Se, and Zn) prior to weaning fail to improve their mineral status at weaning when supplemented the double of the NRC (2016) recommendation for mature cattle. Further, calves at weaning we considered Cu and Se deficient, suggesting that pre-weaned calves and mature cattle have different mineral requirements.

Therefore, we hypothesized that the mineral requirements of calves prior to weaning are greater than the current NRC (2016) recommendations for mature cattle. Further, calves supplemented at NRC (2016) recommended levels are more likely to develop mineral deficiencies at weaning, which could result in poor health and performance in the post-weaning phase.

Thus, the objective of this study is to evaluate mineral status at weaning and subsequent performance of calves supplemented prior to weaning, with limit-fed supplements fortified with trace minerals at the NRC (2016) recommendation or five times above the current NRC (2016) recommendation.

Student Responsibilities: 

The student will be responsible for:

  • study treatment preparation = weigh mineral supplements;
  • daily cattle feeding and intake measuring;
  • cattle handling;
  • feed sample collection and processing;
  • cleaning cattle pens (IF NEEDED);
  • data entry;

The student will assist with:

  • sample collections, such as body weight, blood, and liver samples;
  • blood sample processing and organization;

Project Objectives: 

The main objective of this study is to evaluate two levels of trace mineral supplementation for calves prior to weaning and further evaluate calf performance after weaning.

* The student will be engaged with calf supplementation prior to weaning and with the post weaning evaluation phase of this study, which consists of evaluating calf performance, (feed intake, body weight gain) and as well as collecting blood samples for evaluation of metabolic markers such as cortisol and enzymatic activity

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

  • Experience with cattle handling and management.
  • Ability to frequently lift and/or carry up to 50 pounds.
  • Self-motivated.
  • Experience living or working in rural/remote locations.
  • General knowledge of computers and skills used in word processing and data entry.
  • Ability to carry out tasks independently and part of a team.
  • Ability to work irregular hours, early mornings under adverse field conditions (wind, rain, snow, mud - IF NEEDED).

Student Learning Outcomes:

It is expected the students working in this study will gain knowledge related to:

  • mineral nutrition,
  • beef cattle trace mineral requirements;
  • mineral status of beef cattle and how to access it.
  • research design and development.

This study will also provide the opportunity to closely work with cattle, improving animal handling ability. Additionally, the student will have the opportunity to learn how to collect and process samples such as blood and liver.

Specific Duration Details:

This study will begin mid-July and will end in early November.
This study will overlap with other studies listed here: "Effects of trace mineral injections on measures of performance and trace mineral status of heifers and their calves"  and "Evaluation of GPS-activated shock collars use on cattle performance, behavior, and welfare". Therefore the student will be expected to work in both studies.

Student Hourly Salary: $14.25/hour    

Expected Hours/Week: 16 -20h

Hourly Working Parameters: Working during weekends will be required. Additionally, during summer most of the activity will being around 6:30 - 7:00 am.
It is very unlikely that any activity in the field will be conducted during afternoons.

Housing Benefit: The EOARC provides shared housing at no cost.

Special Considerations: No

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: Yes

Evaluation of GPS-activated shock collars use on cattle performance, behavior, and welfare

Project Term Availability: Fall 2021

BES Faculty Mentor Name: Juliana Ranches   

BES Station Name: Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center; EOARC

Location (town name) of BES Station: Burns

Short Project Description: 

Virtual fencing can be defined as a structure serving as an enclosure, a barrier, or a boundary without a physical barrier.  Animals in virtual fencing receive an auditory warning cue followed by an electric stimulus if they trespass the determined boundary. A study conducted in Europe, demonstrated that virtual fences are effective at keeping cattle at designated locations after they were trained to respond to the GPS-activated shock collars.

The use of virtual fence as a management tool for beef cattle seems promising, particularly for cattle raised on rangelands. However, as with any new technology, it raises several questions, including how it affects cattle welfare and performance, especially because of the use of electric stimuli. Cattle is highly susceptible to changes in routine, novel situations or environment. When cattle are expose to a novel environment or situation (i.e. stressors) makers such as cortisol and acute phase proteins (haptoglobin and ceruloplasmin) tend to increase. The increase of such markers is often associated with reduced performance, poor welfare, compromised health and inability to fight diseases, as well as increased mortality.

The use of GPS- activated shock collars can be categorized as a novel situation for cattle. Therefore, following the presented rationale, it is possible that the use of such device could increase the levels of cortisol and acute proteins in cattle, which could negatively impact cattle performance, behavior and health and welfare. Therefore, the objective of the proposed project is to evaluate how the use of GPS-activated shock collars affects cattle performance, behavior, and welfare.

Student Responsibilities: 

The student will be responsible for:

  • daily cattle feeding and intake measuring;
  • cattle handling;
  • feed sample collection and processing;
  • cattle behavioral observations;
  • GPS data collection;
  • data sorting and entry;

The student will assist with:

  • sample collections, such as body weight and blood;
  •  blood sample processing and organization;

Project Objectives: 

The objective of this study is to evaluate cattle performance, behavior and welfare when using GPS-activated shock collars. We hypothesized that even though the use of GPS-activated shock collars use may increase the cortisol and acute phase protein concentrations, this increase will be transient and will not negatively impact cattle performance, behavior, or welfare when compared to cattle in an electric fence management or when using collars that will not employ any management (control).

*The student will be engaged with the evaluation of use of GPS activated shock collars, collecting cattle behavior data as we'll as blood samples for analysis of biomarkers.

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

  • Experience with cattle handling and management.
  • Ability to frequently lift and/or carry up to 50 pounds.
  • Self-motivated.
  • Experience living or working in rural/remote locations.
  • General knowledge of computers and skills used in word processing and data entry.
  • Ability to carry out tasks independently and part of a team.
  • Ability to work irregular hours, early mornings under adverse field conditions (wind, rain, snow, mud - IF NEEDED).

Student Learning Outcomes:

It is expected the students working in this study will gain knowledge related to:

  • cattle behavior;
  • cattle welfare;
  • research design and development.

This study will also provide the opportunity to closely work with cattle, improving animal handling ability. Additionally, the student will have the opportunity to learn how to collect and process samples such as blood.

Specific Duration Details:

This study will start at the beginning of November and finish at the end of November.

NOTE: This study at some point will overlap with another study in this list: "Mineral supplementation of pre-weaned calves: What is the current recommendation?" and therefore, the student will be expected to work in both studies.

Student Hourly Salary: $14.25/hour    

Expected Hours/Week: 16-20h

Hourly Working Parameters: Working during weekends will be required. Additionally, most of the activity will being around 6:30 - 7:00 am.
It is very unlikely that any activity in the field will be conducted during afternoons.

Housing Benefit: The EOARC provides shared housing at no cost.

Special Considerations: No

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: Yes

Effects of biotin and vitamin B12 supplementation on performance of beef cows and their calves.

Project Term Availability: Winter 2022, Spring 2022

BES Faculty Mentor Name: Juliana Ranches

BES Station Name: Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center; EOARC

Location (town name) of BES Station: Burns

Short Project Description: 

In cattle, biotin as well as B12 are essential cofactors for enzymes (Pyruvate carboxylase, propionyl-CoA carboxylase, acetyl-CoA carboxylase, and beta-methylcrotonyl-CoA) required for gluconeogenesis, lipogenesis, fatty acid synthesis, and amino acid degradation. Therefore, biotin and B12 are both required in extremely important steps of energy metabolism of ruminants. Although, ruminants are capable of synthesizing vitamin B, supplementation with vitamin B has resulted in improved performance, as well as increased milk production in beef and dairy cattle. Therefore, hypothesized that supplementation of biotin and vitamin B12 prior to calving and during early lactation will affect energy metabolism of cows, resulting in greater milk production which will result in greater weaning weights and offspring performance.

Student Responsibilities: 

The student will be responsible for:

  • treatment preparation = weigh vitamin supplements;
  • daily cattle feeding and intake measuring;
  • cattle handling;
  • feed sample collection and processing;
  • data entry;

The student will assist with:

  • sample collections, such as body weight, blood, and liver samples;
  • blood sample processing and organization;

Project Objectives: 

The objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of supplementation of biotin and vitamin B12 on performance of cows and their calves.

*The student will be engaged with the  supplementation phase of the study, which will be responsible for supplementing cows daily. Additionally, will assist with sample collections every 30 days.

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

  • Experience with cattle handling and management.
  • Ability to frequently lift and/or carry up to 50 pounds.
  • Self-motivated.
  • Experience living or working in rural/remote locations.
  • General knowledge of computers and skills used in word processing and data entry.
  • Ability to carry out tasks independently and part of a team.
  • Ability to work irregular hours, early mornings under adverse field conditions (wind, rain, snow, mud - IF NEEDED).

Student Learning Outcomes:

It is expected the students working in this study will gain knowledge related to:

  • vitamin nutrition,
  • beef cattle vitamin requirements;  
  • research design and development.

This study will also provide the opportunity to closely work with cattle, improving animal handling ability. Additionally, the student will have the opportunity to learn how to collect and process samples such as blood and liver.

Specific Duration Details: The study will begin in early January (2022) and will end in mid- April.

Student Hourly Salary: $14.25/hour

Expected Hours/Week: 16-20h

Hourly Working Parameters: Working during weekends will be required. Additionally, most of the activity will being around 6:30 - 7:00 am.
It is very unlikely that any activity in the field will be conducted during afternoons.

Housing Benefit: The EOARC provides shared housing at no cost.

Special Considerations: No

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: Yes

Practices associated with blackspot bruise susceptibility in potato

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021, Fall 2021 

BES Faculty Mentor Name: Aymeric Goyer  

BES Station Name: HAREC 

Location (town name) of BES Station: Hermiston

Short Project Description: 

Blackspot in potato is an internal tissue discoloration that occurs during handling and transport of potato tubers. Blackspot is cosmetically undesirable and represents a huge economic cost for the potato industry. Blackspot susceptibility is determined in part by the biochemical potential to synthesize blackspot pigments. The biochemical potential to synthesize blackspot pigments is dependent on an enzyme, polyphenol oxidase (PPO), and its substrates. PPO catalyzes the oxidation of phenols to form compounds called quinones. The quinones can then polymerize to form dark pigments called melanins. Tyrosine, and to a lesser extent chlorogenic acid, have been shown to be major precursors of blackspot pigments in potato. In this project, we are investigating the effect of plant maturity at harvest and nitrogen fertilization on the amount of tyrosine and chlorogenic acid.

Student Responsibilities: 

  • Processing of potato tubers (cutting, freezing, lyophilizing, grinding)
  • Methanolic extraction of tyrosine and chlorogenic acid
  • Preparation of HPLC vials with methanolic extracts
  • Preparation of solvents/buffers
  • Preparation of standards
  • Preparation of injection sequences in the software Chromeleon
  • Peak integration using the software Chromeleon
  • Quantification using a standard curve
  • Reports in Excel
  • General lab housekeeping

Project Objectives: 

The objectives of this project are to quantify the amount of tyrosine and chlorogenic acid in potato tubers, and to evaluate correlation between tyrosine and chlorogenic acid content and plant maturity level and nitrogen fertilization levels.

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

  • Good communication
  • Punctual
  • Enthusiastic
  • Basic chemistry

Student Learning Outcomes:

The student will learn the fundamentals of plant metabolite analysis, from extraction to detection and quantification. The student will learn the fundamentals of High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and will become familiar with a state-of-the-art HPLC instrument. The student will learn about the biochemistry of blackspot bruising in potato, and the economic losses that are associated with it.

Specific Duration Details:

Student Hourly Salary: $14.00/hour    

Expected Hours/Week: 40 hrs in Summer, 20hrs in Fall   

Hourly Working Parameters: 

Housing Benefit: 

Special Considerations: Yes

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: No

Testing genes that have the potential to provide resistance to PVY

Project Term Availability: Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022

BES Faculty Mentor Name: Aymeric Goyer

BES Station Name: HAREC

Location (town name) of BES Station: Hermiston

Short Project Description: 

Potato and Potato Virus Y (PVY) engage in a constant warfare. Potatoes have a first layer of defense against viruses called RNA silencing. Pathogenic viruses like PVY broke this first defense system. In response, potato has developed a second layer of defense that involves receptor proteins that are able to recognize specific PVY proteins. Upon recognition, a cascade of molecular and cellular events occurs to prevent virus multiplication, virus cell-to-cell movement, and virus transport throughout the plant. PVY has in turn evolved a counter-counter-defense mechanism to achieve survival. We have recently shown how necrotic strains of PVY are capable of breaking resistance. Necrotic strains are now dominating growers' fields in the Pacific Northwest. It is therefore urgent to find ways to break PVY's counter-counter-defense mechanism. This requires potato scientists to identify genes that can fulfill this function. Toward this goal, our lab has identified a set of candidate genes that have the potential to provide resistance to necrotic strains of PVY. This project will test the ability of these genes to provide resistance to PVY.

Student Responsibilities: 

  • Preparation of soil mixture
  • Propagation of potato plantlets in tissue culture
  • Transfer of tissue culture plantlets to soil in pots
  • Growth management of potato plants
  • Mechanical virus inoculation of potato plants
  • Leaf sample collection
  • Grinding of leaf tissue for nucleic acid extraction
  • Data collection and analysis in Excel
  • General lab housekeeping

Project Objectives: 

We have generated plants in which genes are produced (i.e. overexpressed) in larger quantities than normal, enabling us to assess the importance of these genes in the resistance response to PVY. We will test the response (i.e. resistance vs. susceptibility) of these plants to various strains of PVY.

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

  • Good communication
  • Punctual
  • Enthusiastic

Student Learning Outcomes:

The student will learn the fundamentals of plant tissue culture, and plant growth and disease management as well as molecular tools for virus detection. The student will also learn scientific experimental design, and data collection and analysis.

Specific Duration Details:

Student Hourly Salary: $14.00/hour    

Expected Hours/Week: 20

Hourly Working Parameters: 

Housing Benefit: 

Special Considerations: No

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: No

Monitoring and Restoration of Biocultural Rangeland Resources

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021

BES Faculty Mentor Name: Bryan Endress

BES Station Name: Union Experiment Station

Location (town name) of BES Station: Union, Oregon   

Short Project Description: 

A diverse group of stakeholders rely on, and benefit from, healthy rangelands across Oregon and the interior West. Native forbs are a critical component of rangelands, and are important for maintaining rangeland health and productivity; they make up a significant portion of plant diversity, and are an important nectar source for pollinators. In addition, forbs increase forage quality and season of use for livestock and wildlife, and help stabilize soil and maintain soil health. Forbs have been identified as a priority for restoration because of their role in supporting the important ecosystem services that rangelands provide. Despite their recognized importance, forbs remain one of the least studied groups of plants in western North American rangelands, and research on forb ecology, management and restoration lags far behind that of grass and shrub species. This hinders the development of best practices to manage rangelands to ensure the continued production of ecosystem services that forbs help support, and limits incorporating forbs into many rangeland restoration efforts- a key priority need across the interior West.

For Native American tribes and communities, rangeland forbs also provide important food, medicinal, and cultural resources. Many rangeland forbs are considered First Foods, and  have sustained tribal people since time immemorial. First Foods are essential to the ongoing culture of tribes and play a fundamental role in health, diet, well-being and cultural identity. Their importance is often clearly articulated; for example, the Department of Natural Resources of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) considers First Foods to be the minimum ecological products necessary to sustain CTUIR subsistence and cultural needs. In fact, their mission reflects this, and the sustained natural production of First Foods, many of which are rangeland forbs, guides their management efforts across 6.4 million acres throughout eastern Oregon and Washington. However, because of our limited knowledge on forb ecology, management and restoration, key concerns and challenges regarding these critically important cultural food resources have gone unaddressed for many years.

This collaborative project has two objectives. The first is to develop cost-effective survey and monitoring protocols that accurately measure and account for presence, abundance, and richness ecologically and culturally important rangeland forbs. Second, we seek to Identify and develop plant propagation and establishment methodologies for ecologically and culturally important summer-dormant geophytes, a key, yet understudied, component of western rangelands. Project collaborators include CTUIR and the USDA Forest Service.

Student Responsibilities: 

The student will be involve in sveral aspects of the research throughout the summer, including: 1) Field work and data collection, 2) analyses and interpretation of monitoring data, 3) data entry and management, 4) report writing, 5) participation in planning and coordination meetings with project partners. Throughout the summer approximately 65% of time will be focused on field data collection, and 35% on other tasks.

Project Objectives: 

Objective 1: develop cost-effective survey and monitoring protocols that accurately measure and account for the presence, abundance, and richness of biocultural rangeland resources

Objective 2: Identify and develop plant propagation and establishment methodologies for ecologically and culturally important summer-dormant geophytes.

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

Academic training: coursework in ecology and natural resource management as well as completion of a Diversty, Power and Discrimination Bacc Core course (e.g. AG301 or related) is preferred, but not required.

Additional skills/experience:  ability to work long days under difficult conditions (heat, steep slopes); ability to work independently as well as part of a collaborative team.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. Collect,  analyze and evaluate natural resource data to meet project goals and objectives.
  2. Create the basics of a monitoring plan, including data elements collected and methodology chosen to meet land management objectives.
  3. Experience project development and implementation within a collaborative, participatory framework.

Specific Duration Details:

Student Hourly Salary: $13.00-15.00/hour depending on experience   

Expected Hours/Week: 40 hours a week throughout

Hourly Working Parameters: Our general summer schedule is four 10-hour days: Monday-Thursday 6:00 AM- 4:30 PM.

Housing Benefit: Free housing may be available at Starkey Experimental Forest and Range.

Special Considerations: No

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: No

Long-term Forage Production of Perennials Effects on Soil Health under Limited and Competing Water Resources in Eastern Oregon

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

BES Faculty Mentor Name: Guojie Wang  

BES Station Name: Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center-Union Station  

Location (town name) of BES Station: Union

Short Project Description: 

The field study was initiated in 2016 at Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center at Union Station. The field plots were laid out as split-plot design with four replications. Irrigation treatments were the whole plot. Within each irrigation treatment, perennial forage species were seeded as subplot.
Irrigation treatments: 4
    1) Whole season irrigation from May 1 to September 15;
    2) Late season water shortage irrigation from May 1 to August 1;
    3) Middle and late season water shortage irrigation from May 1 to June 15;
    4) No irrigation at all.
Perennial forage species: 20
    1) Perennial cool season grasses with low yield: crested wheatgrass, bluebunch wheatgrass, intermediate wheatgrass, Idaho fescue, and great basin wildrye;
    2) Perennial cool season grasses with high yield: ochardgrass, meadow brome, tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, and timothy;
    3) Perennial legumes: purple blossom alfalfa, yellow blossom alfalfa, birdsfoot trefoil, sainfoin, and cicer milkvetch;
    4) Perennial warm season grasses: big bluestem, indiangrass, and three switchgrass cultivars (Dacotah, Sunburst, and Cave-in-Rock).
The final field plots number were 4 (irrigation treatments) × 20 (perennial forage species) × 4 (replications) = 320.
    We have already collected five years forage yield data. In the last year of this project, we will collect soil samples in each plot in May and June of 2021 to quantify the soil health improvement of perennial forage production system. The soil health parameters will include soil organic matter content, soil nutrients, and pH with four depths: 0-6', 6-12', 12-24', and 24-36'.

Student Responsibilities: 

The intern will be responsible for 1) searching each forage species information indoor and writing a literature review about the selected 20 perennial forage species, 2) managing forage plots including pest control, irrigation, and fertilization, 3) monitoring forage plots including species developmental stages, height, density, and production, 4) collecting forage and soil samples, 5) grinding forage samples, 6) inputting and analyzing the collected data, and 7) interpreting results, making a poster, and finishing a scientific report.

Project Objectives: 

The research goal is to quantify long-term perennial forage production system efficiency and potential under limited irrigation water situation. The specific objectives are:

  1. Evaluate the perennial forage species yield and its stability
  2. Document the perennial forage species maturity timing and its variability
  3. Analyze the perennial forage quality related to maturity timing
  4. Assess stand longevity of different perennial forage species and
  5. Quantify soil health improvement with different perennial forage species over six years under limited and competing water resources in eastern Oregon.

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

The expectations to the intern from project mentor is to 1) communicate with mentor, summer tech, graduate student, and other personnel effectively and work together efficiently; 2) perform the necessary daily tasks the intern responsible for smoothly with help from mentor and other personnel; 3) meet deadlines for this internship program midterm report and final poster presentation; 4) learn new scientific and practical knowledge daily and actively by asking questions, searching internets, and other means.   

Student Learning Outcomes:

The leaning outcomes of this internship is to 1) have hands-on opportunities in agriculture related activities, such as field measurement, seeding, fertilization, weed control, and irrigation; 2) have scientific training such as experimental design, data collection, field monitoring, and results interpretation; 3) interact with local producers and scientists and have a broader perspective on agriculture production through field tours and producers' meetings.

Specific Duration Details:

Student Hourly Salary: $15.00/hour    

Expected Hours/Week:

For this project, the student intern will be expected to spend 25-35 hours per week outdoors and up to 15 hours per week in an indoor lab that depending on the time of the season, these hours can vary widely.  

Hourly Working Parameters: 

This project deals with seeding, irrigating, raising, and harvesting forages. These duties will need to be completed in a timely manner. Intern may need to work in the early morning, late afternoon and/or weekends to complete the necessary field work    

Housing Benefit:

A room in a trailer house, located on site, will be assigned to the intern to use during the internship with no charge to the intern. Intern may/may not share the trailer house with other interns. Necessary cleaning and housekeeping work need to be done on intern's side. Rooms are available on a first come-first serve basis.

Special Considerations: No

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: Yes

Plant Pathology Research at Southern Oregon

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021

BES Faculty Mentor Name: Achala KC

BES Station Name: Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center  

Location (town name) of BES Station: Central Point, OR

Short Project Description: 

In plant pathology lab at SOREC, we research on diseases of pears and wine grapes towards developing disease management programs. The microorganisms causing disease on these crops may vary from fungus, bacteria, or virus. We have several ongoing projects that involve isolation, identification, and collection of these microorganisms. The undergraduate student will work on a project related to the management of gray mold storage rot in pears. Gray mold is a fungal disease caused by Botrytis cinerea. In commercial production system, one of the common management practices for this disease is application of chemical fungicides. When fungicides are used frequently, the pathogens tend to develop resistance against these fungicides. This result in ineffective use of pesticides and increased cost of production for growers. In our lab, we collect B. cinerea isolates from pear orchards and monitor their fungicide resistance development. The undergraduate student will assist a post-doctoral research associate in this project while handling the activities independently.

To familiarize students with the project, they will have opportunities to initial training and supervision on following protocols and running equipment. To assist with student’s project goals, progress, and timelines, there will be periodic meeting and constant mentoring throughout the project period. Besides the main project, the students will have opportunities to participate in other plant pathology research if desired by the student.

Student Responsibilities: 

Student's day-to-day responsibilities will include: preparing culture media, culturing fungal isolates in the artificial media, harvesting fungal spores, counting spores under the microscope, organizing the isolate inventory, data collection, data entry and management, and preliminary data analysis.

Project Objectives: 

To monitor fungicide resistance development in Botrytis cinera isolates collected from pear orchards.   

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

  • Skills in Microsoft office suite, especially Excel and Word
  • Ability to work independently as well as part of a team
  • Ability to follow instructions and protocols
  • Familiarity with lab research is preferred but not required

Student Learning Outcomes:

The student should expect to learn skills in sterilization techniques. Since the larger part of this project involves preparing artificial media and reagents using sterilizer, culturing isolates of fungus in a sterilized media under a laminar flow hood, surface sterilizing of the utensils using incinerators etc., the student will gain skills in sterilization techniques.

The student will also gain a valuable research experience. Since the student will be involved in a part of larger disease management project, they will gain experience in designing and implementing a research trial, following protocols, data collection, management, analysis, and result interpretation.

Specific Duration Details: None, as long as it is in the summer term.

Student Hourly Salary: $15.00/hour    

Expected Hours/Week: 30 to 40 hours per week

Hourly Working Parameters: The student is not expected to work on weekends and/or outside of 8am - 5 pm.

Housing Benefit: 

Special Considerations: Yes

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: Yes

Research Intern on Multi-Crop, Soil, Water and Climate Studies - Klamath Basin Research & Extension Center

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021

BES Faculty Mentor Name:Brian A. Charlton and Biswanath Dari

BES Station Name: Klamath Basin Research & Extension Center (KBREC)  

Location (town name) of BES Station: Klamath Falls, OR

Short Project Description: 

The multiple research opportunities at KBREC which are available includes: (1) industrial hemp deficit irrigation trials, (2) dandelion seed germinating trial, (3) potato variety trials and seed potato production, (4) winter and spring cereal grain crops (wheat and barley) variety testing trials, (5) seeding rate fertilizer testing trials, (6) industrial hemp deficit irrigation trials and (7) direct and indirect involvement with scholarly activities such as data collection, arrangement, analysis, literature search etc.), (8) be part of a Grazing Practice survey. Intern will have opportunities to work with Project Leaders in each of these area as time and situation permit.

Student Responsibilities: 

Intern will collect and read insect trapping cards weekly. Insect identification for psyllids, leafhoppers, tuber moth, and aphids will be counted and disseminated to producers via a weekly newsletter. Intern will learn to visually detect potato viruses and confirm results using field diagnostic kits. The intern will be involved in  data collection such as plant emergence, vigor, plant height, maturity, harvesting etc. for various on-going and new research projects. Intern will gain experience in calculating irrigation times and amounts for deficit irrigation trials. Forage sample collection, weighing and grinding of samples will also help to gain experiences in this research field. Intern will have opportunity to operate farm machinery as research trial needs dictate. Data entry and summaries will be performed as appropriate. Intern will be guided by tenure track faculty in their future career direction and professional development.

Project Objectives: 

Learn research field plot technique, analyze and interpret data, broad understanding of agronomic disciplines - pathology, entomology, soil science, etc. Intern will work closely with project leaders and independently as appropriate. Intern will work in varying conditions both indoors and outdoors including inclement weather. Q15 also provides more detail of expectations.   

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

Good communication skills, know how to work in an interdisciplinary team, ability to operate farm machinery, and eagerness to learn are preferred skills. Intern will need to obtain ATV and forklift certification. We will provide the training necessary to obtain these certifications if Intern doesn't already possess them. We provide on-site job training so experience isn't necessary.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Intern will learn how to design various field plot arrangements and management, basic data entry and statistical analysis. Intern will learn basic insect identification, disease diagnosis, irrigation scheduling, weed identification, etc. Intern will also have opportunities to analyze soil sample results and interpret nutritional status of sample. Intern will learn how to supervise weather data in the field of agriculture   

Specific Duration Details: May 2021 to August 2021

Student Hourly Salary: $14.50/hour    

Expected Hours/Week: 40 hrs. per week, may occasionally exceed during peak rouging events. It can be less hours per week if students have other activities in summer.

Hourly Working Parameters: Intern may occasionally need to irrigate on weekends or under frost events. It will be supervised and well taken care by someone/supervisor.     

Housing Benefit: On-site housing is available if needed.

Special Considerations: No

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: Yes

Applied plant disease management in the dryland wheat production system

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022

BES Faculty Mentor Name: Christina Hagerty 

BES Station Name: CBARC 

Location (town name) of BES Station: Pendleton

Short Project Description: 

The Pendleton Cereal Pathology lab is focused on serving the producers and stakeholders of high quality Oregon wheat. Our is to conduct relevant, practical, and applied research on the biology and control of plant-pathogenic fungi and nematodes that limit yields of dryland wheat production in the Inland Pacific Northwest. We work with many pathogens including Soilborne wheat mosaic virus, Fusarium crown rot, rust, Septoria leaf blotch, Eyespot, and nematodes including Cereal cyst nematode and Root lesion nematode. Ultimately, these pests hurt profitability for farmers; our research effort is to develop affordable solutions to help farmers. Our lab is focused on many solutions including: identifying sources of genetic resistance to pests of interest, trialing seed treatments, and testing fungicides. We are also working to understand pathogen/nematode dynamics, variety blends, and fungicide resistance.

Student Responsibilities: 

For this project, the student intern will be expected to spend 20-35 hours per week outdoors and up to 20 hours per week in an indoor lab/greenhouse.

The intern will be working directly with other lab members to develop project work plans as part of a general research effort in the program. We can accommodate if the student has specific interests (e.g. Seeking lab experience? Seeking field work experience? Seeking data management experience?), as there are many projects going on in the program.

Project Objectives: 

  1. Help prepare for research plot harvest. Manage plots maps and label harvest bags
  2. Sample plants from research plots, evaluate for root mass and disease
  3. Help harvest plots
  4. Weigh grain from harvested plots and enter data
  5. Help maintain a clean and safe working environment

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

Required skills: Timeliness, good attitude, attention to detail, able to work in hot/dry/dusty conditions. Work will be challenging but gratifying.

Interest in science/agronomy and farm experience is desirable.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Hands on field experience
  • Basic mechanics of farm equipment
  • Safe loading of equipment for field site operations.

If the student has interest in publishing, we have had three previous BES interns co-author peer-reviewed publications

Specific Duration Details:

Student Hourly Salary: $15.00/hour    

Expected Hours/Week: 30-45

Hourly Working Parameters: We usually work from 7:30A - 4P
If temps are foretasted to exceed 100F, we sometimes work from 6A-2:30P to avoid the heat of the day.

Housing Benefit: 

Special Considerations: Yes

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: Yes

Food Safety Project at the Food Innovation Center

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021

BES Faculty Mentor Name:Jovana Kovacevic

BES Station Name: Food Innovation Center

Location (town name) of BES Station: Portland

Short Project Description: 

The primary focus of the Food Microbiology Research Laboratory at the Oregon State University- Food Innovation Center is the application of molecular methods and genomics in food safety. In particular, we research how these methods and tools can be used to improve pathogen tracing, to advance our understanding of pathogen behavior and contamination events in the farm-to-fork chain, and to aid the development of targeted interventions.

Foodborne pathogens represent a large economic burden to the food industry and a significant health risk to the general population. The individual selected to work in the lab or remotely will assist with food microbiology research projects in our program, including working with Listeria and/or Vibrio species, and projects related to food safety outreach to food industry.

Student Responsibilities: 

In-person day to day activities may include preparing microbiological media, keeping the lab stocked and clean, assisting in data collection and analyses, and assisting with presentation and manuscript preparation. Remote activities may include data organization and analyses, creating factsheets, infographics, and other supplemental materials, and attending webinars and writing summaries on topics that are current and relevant to food safety issues.

For this project, the student intern will be expected to spend 25 to 35 h per week working on the project. If working in the lab, the student intern will receive training required to work in a biosafety level 1 and 2 microbiology laboratories, and will be expected to handle potentially pathogenic microorganisms, such as Listeria monocytogenes and Vibrio parahaemolyticus. The student intern will also be involved in developing and updating standard operating procedures (SOPs) and writing of abstracts/posters for participation in seminars and/or conferences. At the end of the internship, the student will give a presentation of their project to FIC staff, FIC graduate students, and invited guests.

Project Objectives: 

The project that the student will participate in will investigate multiple facets of working in the field of food microbiology. For example, the student intern will assist with characterization of L. monocytogenes isolated from dairy environments and/or V. parahaemolyticus isolated from seafood environments. Research findings will be translated into industry relevant extension factsheets and publications.

Specific objectives include:
1)    Determine L. monocytogenes and/or V. parahaemolyticus tolerance to various stresses, including cold temperatures and/or acidic conditions.
2)    Screen isolates for antibiotic and sanitizer resistance. Antibiotics to be screened include 10 different antibiotics of clinical relevance. Sanitizers to be screened will be commercially available products used in the food industry.
3)    Assist with the development of extension materials.

The research findings and developed extension materials will supplement the current research and outreach activities performed in the lab by graduate students and research assistants.

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

Previous microbiology laboratory experience and application of aseptic techniques is preferred.  Experience and interest in bioinformatics, and advanced writing skills are desirable.

Student Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this position, the intern should expect to have gained experience with aseptic technique, preparing microbiological media, using an autoclave, micropipetting, working with microorganisms, and data organization and analyses related to food microbiology and food safety outreach. The intern will also gain experience in scientific writing, preparing extension-style publications, and website design and maintenance.

Specific Duration Details:

Student Hourly Salary: $15.00/hour    

Expected Hours/Week: 25-35 h/week

Hourly Working Parameters: For lab-based projects, occasionally, the intern may have to come on a weekend to read results, or refrigerate their experiments; however, this will depend on student's experimental planning and time management. Overall, weekend work is discouraged.

Housing Benefit: 

Special Considerations: Yes

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: No

Body Size and Dispersal of Moths from a Local to Continental Scale

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021

BES Faculty Mentor Name: Stuart Reitz

BES Station Name: Malheur Experiment Station 

Location (town name) of BES Station: Ontario, OR

Short Project Description: 

Greater body size may be correlated with greater dispersal ability in flying animals such as birds, bats, butterflies and moths. The Malheur Experiment Station is uniquely situated to test the hypothesis that body size is correlated with dispersal distance of three moth species with radically different dispersal behaviors. This project integrates three research projects currently conducted by the Reitz lab.

The potato tuberworm, Phthorimaea operculella, is an invasive pest of solanaceous crops, especially potato. It has been present in the Pacific Northwest for less than 20 years. It is considered to be a weak flyer so that its global spread has largely been a result of human-assisted transport. Individuals are thought to fly less than 250 meters.  

The Douglas fir tussock moth, Orgyia pseudotsugata, is native to mountain forests of the western US. Populations are found in specific mountain areas. The closest breeding ground to the Malheur Experiment Station is a site near Hells Canyon. Males may disperse 200 km from their breeding ground and are commonly collected around Ontario, OR in July and August.

The fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, is a highly invasive moth species and destructive agricultural pest. It breeds year round in tropical and subtropical areas of the Americas, but each summer, individuals disperse northward across the US. Individuals may fly several hundred kilometers (>1,600 km). We are collaborating with colleagues across the southern US to obtain specimens from different geographic areas.

For the project, we will position pheromone traps at different distances from population sources of each species (different distances from potato fields in Malheur County for the potato tuberworm; from Hells Canyon to Malheur County for the Douglas fir tussock moth; from Malheur County to other locations across the North America for the fall armyworm. Colleagues will provide specimens from other areas. Pheromone traps attract male moths by releasing synthetic female sex pheromones. We will compare wing length and body size of specimens from different locations. Although the hypothesis that dispersal distance is related to wing size is intuitively appealing, other aspects of each species ecology and life history may affect the results.

Student Responsibilities: 

  1. The student will be responsible for setting up and monitoring pheromone traps, and collecting insects from traps. This will include driving to field sites, proper handling of equipment, and collection of insects.
  2. The student will be responsible for measuring insect body dimensions, recording and summarizing data.
  3. The student will receive hands-on instruction in all of these methods from the faculty mentor (Stuart Reitz) and other personnel at the Experiment Station.

Project Objectives: 

  1. Collect male moths of three species using pheromone traps that attract males. Traps will be set up in specific locations from source populations of each species so we can determine if size of males is correlated with distance from source populations.
  2. Responsible for servicing traps on a weekly basis.
  3. Inventory supplies so that necessary supplies are on hand.
  4. Accurately follow protocols for measuring specimens.
  5. Accurately record and summarize data.
  6. Prepare a report of activities.

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

  1. Willingness to learn and ask questions.
  2. Interest in learning about insect biology, identification and ecology.
  3. Interest in learning digital imagery analysis
  4. Interest in learning scientific record keeping, data entry, and basics statistics for data analysis.
  5. Ability to use a stereomicroscope.
  6. Interest/ability to travel in remote locations.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. Insect identification skills.
  2. Introduction to insect chemical ecology and insect pheromones.
  3. Opportunity to explore agricultural and natural areas of southeast Oregon and southwest Idaho, including the Treasure Valley, Snake River Plain, Hells Canyon.
  4. Skill in the use of image analysis software (e.g., ImageJ, SigmaScan)
  5. Skill in the use of Google Earth and other spatial location software.
  6. Skill in setting up data files and recording data, using spreadsheets (Excel) for subsequent statistical analysis.
  7. Introduction to statistical analysis skills to summarize project data.

Specific Duration Details:

Student Hourly Salary: $12.00/hour    

Expected Hours/Week: 40

Hourly Working Parameters: No after hours work is expected  

Housing Benefit: 

Special Considerations: No

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: Yes

Insects of the Treasure Valley

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021, Fall 2021

BES Faculty Mentor Name: Stuart Reitz 

BES Station Name: Malheur Experiment Station  

Location (town name) of BES Station: Ontario, OR

Short Project Description: 

The Malheur Experiment Station maintains a reference collection of insect specimens from the Treasure Valley of eastern Oregon and western Idaho. The specimens are used to aid in the identification of insects in the region, including where and when they are likely to be found. The specimens are routinely used in presentations to schools and in other public events.

Through this project, we wish to expand the collection and make it more accessible. We are seeking a student with interests in learning about insect biology and identification and constructing relational databases.

We are looking to better organize and catalog the collection, and improve the collection's database. These improvements will make it easier to locate specimens within the collection and find information on the species in the collection. We wish to increase the public's knowledge by making the collection more accessible through the web. This would be accomplished by taking photographs of specimens and uploading them with appropriate content to a webpage on the Experiment Station's website.

We are interested in expanding the collection by having the student conduct collecting trips through different habitats in the region and appropriately curating specimens (pinning and preparing for display, recording collection information, and identifying specimens to an appropriate taxonomic level.) The project can be tailored to focus on any particular interests and/or aptitudes the student has.

Student Responsibilities: 

  1. To help gain familiarity with different groups of insects and improve our collection's information, the student will assist with sorting specimens and entering appropriate information for specimens in the collection's database.
  2. To expand the collection, the student will make collections, curate those specimens, and use appropriate identification resources to identify specimens.
  3. The student will use the Station's cameras and computers to photograph specimens and upload them to the station website.
  4. The student will receive hands-on instruction in all of these methods from the mentor (Stuart Reitz) and other personnel at the Experiment Station. The project is broad enough that it can be tailored to best suit the particular interests and aptitudes of the student.

Project Objectives: 

  1. Catalog the Malheur Experiment Station Insect Collection. The collection is reference collection of insect specimens from the Treasure Valley of eastern Oregon and western Idaho. We are looking to organize and catalog the collection, and improve the collection's database to make it easier to locate specimens in the collection and find information on the species in the collection.   
  2. Add specimens to the collection by using standard entomological collection techniques (e.g., sweep nets, beat sheets, black light trapping). Appropriately pinning specimens for display, recording collection information, and identifying specimens to an appropriate taxonomic level.
  3. Photographing specimens to display on the Malheur Experiment Station website.

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

  1. Willingness to learn and ask questions.
  2. Interest in learning about insect biology and identification.
  3. Interest in photography.
  4. Interest in learning database management
  5. Ability to use a stereomicroscope

Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. Insect identification skills, including collection and curation techniques
  2. Relational database skills
  3. Photography skills
  4. Webpage development and content skills

Specific Duration Details:

Student Hourly Salary: $12.00/hour    

Expected Hours/Week: 20 - 40

Hourly Working Parameters: No after hours work is expected

Housing Benefit: I can discuss housing options with interested students.

Special Considerations: No

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: Yes

Monitoring insecticide resistance in onion pests

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021

BES Faculty Mentor Name:Stuart Reitz

BES Station Name: Malheur Experiment Station

Location (town name) of BES Station: Ontario, OR

Short Project Description: 

Insecticide resistance is a key concern for all farmers. It is an especially critical issue for onion farmers, who have a limited set of insecticides to control onion thrips, the key pest of onions worldwide. Levels of resistance vary by location and time. Documenting the degree of resistance requires testing the response of different populations over time.

Through this project, we wish to establish baseline resistance profiles for commonly used insecticides in populations of onion thrips across the Treasure Valley of eastern Oregon and southwest Idaho, which is one of the nation's largest onion producing regions. The information from this project will help onion growers make informed decisions about their pest management programs.

Student Responsibilities: 

  1. The student will be responsible for collecting insects from specifically identified commercial onion fields. This will include driving to field sites, proper handling of plants and collection of insects.
  2. The student will be responsible for setting up experiments, monitoring their progress, and collecting, recording and summarizing data.
  3. The student may need to maintain colonies of thrips in the laboratory to generate sufficient numbers of test insects.
  4. The student will receive hands-on instruction in all of these methods from the mentor (Stuart Reitz) and other personnel at the Experiment Station.

Project Objectives: 

  1. Collect insects from the field.
  2. Set up simple toxicology experiments
  3. Monitor experiments and record data
  4. Characterize resistance levels in different onion thrips populations to commonly used insecticides.
  5. Prepare report on the project

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

  1. Willingness to learn and ask questions.
  2. Interest in learning about insect biology, identification and toxicology.
  3. Interest in preparing simple chemical solutions.
  4. Interest in establishing and monitoring insect bioassays.
  5. Interest in learning scientific record keeping, data entry and basics of logistic regression for data analysis.
  6. Ability to use a stereomicroscope.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. Insect identification skills, including collection and colony maintenance techniques.
  2. Skill in use of stereomicroscopes, basic chemical preparation, including use of micropipettes.
  3. Skill in establishing insect bioassays, using techniques for onion thrips developed in the Reitz lab.
  4. Introduction to logistic regression and other statistical analysis skills to summarize project data.

Specific Duration Details:

Student Hourly Salary: $12.00/hour    

Expected Hours/Week: 40

Hourly Working Parameters: No after hours work is anticipated. 

Housing Benefit: I can discuss housing options with interested students  

Special Considerations:Yes

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: Yes

Invasive Crayfish in Eastern Oregon

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021

BES Faculty Mentor Name: David Wooster

BES Station Name: Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center  

Location (town name) of BES Station: Hermiston

Short Project Description: 

Invasive crayfish have large, negative effects on freshwater ecosystems.  We will be examining the ecology and distribution of an invasive crayfish found in eastern Oregon, the rusty crayfish. The rusty crayfish has invaded the John Day River basin and will reach the Columbia River  in the next year or two. We will trap crayfish along the invasion front and determine characteristics of individuals at the front. We will also examine the diets of rusty crayfish. Work using stable isotopes and gene metabarcoding has been conducted on these crayfish to determine their diets. However, we hypothesize that cannibalism is a density-dependent means of population regulation and is an important component of rusty crayfish diet in areas where their densities are high. Cannibalism cannot be detected through stable isotopes or metabarcoding. Rusty crayfish will be collected and their diets will be determined through dissection. Red swamp crayfish have invaded a series of ponds in a wildlife management area. For this species, we are monitoring the abundance of this species and are trapping in nearby ponds and the Columbia River to detect whether they are spreading.

Student Responsibilities: 

The student will be responsible for all aspects of our work on invasive crayfish. This includes trapping crayfish and measuring a variety of environmental parameters in the field. The student must be able to handle live crayfish and should not have a problem with euthanizing invasive crayfish (through freezing).  The student must also be capable of dissecting crayfish and learning to identify gut contents. We will also bring live crayfish back to the laboratory to conduct behavioral experiments. The student will be responsible with feeding the crayfish and cleaning their tanks. From day-to-day the student will be spending time in the field and must be willing to work in hot conditions, wade in rivers, and handle live animals.  On non-field days, the student will be working in the laboratory at a dissection station as well as feeding crayfish and cleaning their tanks.

Project Objectives: 

The main objectives for the project are:

  1. Determine the makeup of the crayfish population at the invasion front (sex ratio, size, morphology).
  2. Determine whether cannibalism appears to be an important part of the diet of rusty crayfish in areas of high density.

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

Although helpful, no previous experience with insects is necessary. The intern must have a driver's license.

Student Learning Outcomes:

The student will learn a variety of field techniques including trap-setting and measuring stream flow velocity. The student will also learn how to enter data into a spreadsheet and use summary statistics and graphs to aid in interpreting data. The student will also learn dissection techniques, sample preservation, and care of crayfish in the laboratory.

Specific Duration Details:

Students may work more than 8 hours a day when doing fieldwork (but not more than 40 hours per week), or may start earlier than 8 AM or end later than 5 PM.

Student Hourly Salary: $14.00/hour    

Expected Hours/Week: Students will be expected to work 40 hours per week.

Hourly Working Parameters: On days involving field work, the student may be expected to work past 5pm. When working in the laboratory, the students hours will be 8am-5pm  

Housing Benefit: We will provide $150 a month in housing benefits.

Special Considerations: No

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: Yes

Enhancing beneficial invertebrate habitat in forests and orchards: Managing habitat for native bees and natural enemies

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021

BES Faculty Mentor Name: Sandy DeBano

BES Station Name: Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center  

Location (town name) of BES Station: Hermiston

Short Project Description: 

This project examines how habitat management in forests and orchards influence beneficial invertebrates, including native bees and invertebrate predators of crop pests.

Forests serve agriculture in numerous ways, including providing extensive rangeland habitat for livestock production and forest products. These rangelands also serve as important habitat for pollinators, including native bees which, in turn, are important crop pollinators. In fact, native bees are estimated to pollinate over $3 billion of crops in the US annually. Because of this, producers and land managers are interested in developing management plans that not only focus on forest and livestock production goals, but also on maximizing pollinator habitat in these areas. The student will be involved in a project that examines how forest thinning influences native bee communities.

Orchards are also key contributors to Oregon agriculture productivity. For example, in 2019, Washington and Oregon combined were responsible for nearly 80% of total sweet cherry production in the United States. The student will contribute to a project seeking to understand how cover-cropping and natural habitats affect beneficial invertebrate communities in eastern Oregon cherry orchards.

Student Responsibilities: 

The internship will involve both field and laboratory work. Field work may last all day and involve physical activities such as extensive walking to and among field sites while carrying up to 25 pounds of equipment, collecting bees and other insects using nets and other trapping techniques, and sampling plants and soils. It is anticipated that 50% of the intern's time will be spent in the field and the remaining time in the laboratory. Most field work will take place at remote locations that involve staying in field station housing or camping for up to a week at a time. Laboratory work will consist of preparing insect specimens for identification (e.g., washing, drying, pinning, and labeling specimens), organizing insect collections, cataloging plant specimens, and entering data into Excel. The intern may also be involved in soil sampling and other field sampling methods necessary to characterize study sites.

Project Objectives: 

The intern involved with this project will work on projects focused on how land management influence native bees in forests and orchards. Projects will take place at various locations in eastern Oregon. Specific objectives will be to:

  1. collect native bees and other beneficial invertebrates at various forested and orchard sites using nets and traps;
  2. sample blooming plants along transects at each site;
  3. prepare invertebrate specimens for identification by washing, drying, and pinning; and
  4. enter data into Excel spreadsheets following methods necessary to ensure targeted quality assurance and control.

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

Although helpful, no previous experience with insects or plants is necessary. The intern must have a driver's license.

Student Learning Outcomes:

The intern can expect to learn or further develop existing skills in vegetation and soil sampling, beneficial invertebrate sampling methods, laboratory techniques (including invertebrate and plant preparation and preservation), data entry and analysis, and presentation skills in the development of their final project.

Specific Duration Details:

Student Hourly Salary: $14.00/hour    

Expected Hours/Week: The student will be expected to work 40 hours a week.

Hourly Working Parameters: Students may work more than 8 hours a day when doing fieldwork (but not more than 40 hours per week), or may start earlier than 8 AM or end later than 5 PM. 

Housing Benefit: We will provide $150 a month in housing benefits.

Special Considerations: No

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: Yes

Tree Fruit Entomology

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021

BES Faculty Mentor Name: Christopher Adams

BES Station Name: Mid-Columbia Research and Extension Center 

Location (town name) of BES Station: Hood River

Short Project Description: 

The Adams Tree Fruit Entomology Lab, located at the Mid-Columbia Agricultural Research and Extension Center (MCAREC) in Hood River, has a number of research projects planned in both Pear and Sweet Cherry orchards. We are currently working on two invasive species that impact the tree fruit industry; the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) and Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD). Projects will include understanding and improving trapping and monitoring of these key insects. We are also investigating parasitoid wasps for control of these and other insect pests. Pear psylla is a key pest that pear growers must control. The primary control tactic is promotion and protection of a large complex of predators. We will be trying to understand how we can make this diverse beneficial complex more productive for growers. Western Cherry X Disease is a phytoplasma that lives and replicates in the vascular phloem of infected trees. It is vectored by several species of leafhoppers. We will be conducting leafhopper surveys to determine the species complex and the phenology of these insects in order to better time control measures. Other exciting projects are being developed and the candidate will have an opportunity to work on many novel projects.

Student Responsibilities: 

The student is expected to learn how to identify insect pests of tree fruit, their predators, and parasitoids. The Student will deploy and check insect monitoring traps and help to collect and process data. Much of this work will be outside in the fresh air, sunshine, and occasional wet weather, so students should enjoy being outside. Many of these studies will require insects to be identified and counted under the microscope, so quality time at the scope can also be expected.

Project Objectives: 

The objectives of all the lab's projects will be to collect insect related data, to better understand, and mitigate, the entomological challenges of fruit growers. It is our hope that students will see the many opportunities for potential tree fruit scientist, and come back to work in this field.

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

Working well with others, a positive attitude, attention to detail, love of insects.    

Student Learning Outcomes:

Students will see first-hand the challenges of growing quality fresh fruit. Students will gain experience in insect identification, experimental design, data collection and analysis, team work, and the beauty of the Hood River area.  

Specific Duration Details: summer filed season

Student Hourly Salary: $11.50/hour    

Expected Hours/Week: 35-40    

Hourly Working Parameters: not expected to work outside of work week 

Housing Benefit: no housing available

Special Considerations: No

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: Yes

Evaluating Imagery Analysis on Nitrogen fertilization for Potato Fields

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021, Fall 2021

BES Faculty Mentor Name: Ruijun Qin

BES Station Name: HAREC

Location (town name) of BES Station: Hermiston

Short Project Description: 

The Lower Columbia Basin is one of the most important potato production regions, accounting for 77% of potato acreage in Oregon and over 30% of potato acreage in Washington. The total potato field in the region is over 50,000 acres and the primary soils are coarse-textured soils from fine sand to sandy loam. Growers usually apply nearly 400 lbs nitrogen (N) per acre to achieve high potato productions. The N fertilizer is applied as broadcast-applied base-fertilizer, which is applied a few weeks before planting, starter fertilizer, which is applied during potato planting, and in-season application. The higher portion of N is in-season through the central pivot irrigation system after row closure for two months. The application intensity is weekly while the applicate rate varies with the potato-growing pattern. During the in-season fertilization period, growers take soil and plant samples weekly to understand crop nutrient status and decide the right amount of fertilizer to match the crop requirement. The potato N status monitoring is expensive and labor-consuming, and highly varied. Therefore, new sampling tools are always needed.

High-resolution aerial images provide high temporal and spatial resolution useful data for monitoring crop growth and development patterns. It shows the great potential in commercial potato fields, but the related data is quite limited. To fill the knowledge gap, we are conducting this project to compare the traditional sampling technique to the imagery analysis approach. This execution of this project might show an advanced monitoring technique for growers in deciding fertilization strategy, improving nitrogen use efficiency, and avoid excessive N input.

Student Responsibilities: 

The main work responsibility will be observing and measuring crop growth, take soil and plant samples, learning techniques for field measurement, conducting done image analysis, recording and processing data, and/or reporting project progress. Besides potato, the students may have the opportunity to participate in other projects such as winter/spring wheat, bluegrass, dry beans, and alfalfa, biochar, etc. The student is also encouraged to develop and test research ideas.

Project Objectives: 

  1. Evaluate the efficacy of imagery technique for N status monitoring to guide N fertilizer applications,
  2. Correlate the plant nitrate, soil N, and leaf greenness with the imaginary data based on small-scale research trials,
  3. evaluating the field performance of potato crops in response to different N rate.   

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

Applicable majors include soil and crop science, agronomy, horticulture, and other agriculture related majors. Applicants should be motivated, hardworking, team-player, and physically able to work in field conditions.

Student Learning Outcomes:

This project will provide good opportunities for students to gain experiences and knowledge in agricultural sciences through laboratory study and field trials. Particularly, the student will learn the potato sampling techniques and she/he will have a chance to learn drone imaging analysis. The student will also learn data analysis skills by correlating the drone image with the leaf nutrient concentration, and leaf greenness data. Based on the research findings, students will be able to develop project reports, presentations, and/or even publications with the supervision of a mentor and a postdoc. The student may also have the chance to gain experience in the commercial fields of the crop industry.

Specific Duration Details:

Student Hourly Salary: $15.00/hour    

Expected Hours/Week: around 40hrs/wk Summer, 20 hrs/wk Fall   

Hourly Working Parameters: It rarely happens.  

Housing Benefit: We might provide an  option to have a reasonably low rental cost for the students.

Special Considerations: No

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: Yes

Developing Adzuki bean in irrigated Cropping System of Columbia Basin

Project Term Availability: Summer 2021, Fall 2021

BES Faculty Mentor Name: Ruijun Qin 

BES Station Name: HAREC

Location (town name) of BES Station: Hermiston

Short Project Description: 

In the Columbia Basin region, growers can suffer from low profitability during the production of wheat and corn, which are planted for 2-3 years as the main rotational crops to potatoes or onions. Therefore, there is a need to introduce new crop species into the current cropping system to increase crop diversities and potentially increase growers' profits. Dry adzuki beans are believed to be a possible rotational crop because of rising demand in domestic and export markets. The inclusion of the dry beans will also benefit the current cropping system by fixing biological nitrogen, conserving water (reduced irrigation requirement), improving soil health, and suppressing pests and diseases. However, agronomic management practices need to be studied and developed for the crop. Through greenhouse studies and field trials, we aim to evaluate the adapted varieties and develop the optimum nutrient, water, and pest management practices. The execution of this project will benefit growers of the Columbia Basin by increased crop sustainability and new market development.

Student Responsibilities: 

The main work responsibility will be observing and measuring crop growth, take soil and plant samples, recording and processing data, and/or reporting project progress. Besides adzuki bean, the students may have the opportunity to participate in other projects such as potato, winter/spring wheat, bluegrass, dry beans, and alfalfa, fertilization, biochar, etc. The student is also encouraged to develop and test research ideas.

Project Objectives: 

This project will be based on field trials and laboratory incubation studies with the objectives of 1) evaluate the adapted adzuki bean varieties and 2) develop the optimum nutrient, water, and pest management practices.

Preferred Skills/Experience: 

Applicable majors include soil and crop science, agronomy, horticulture, ecology, and other agriculture-related majors. Applicants should be motivated, hardworking, team-player, and physically able to work in field conditions.  

Student Learning Outcomes:

This project will provide good opportunities for students to gain experiences and knowledge in agricultural sciences through laboratory study and field trials. Particularly, the student will have a chance to learn a new legume crop in the region. She/he will learn field measurement and observation on crop growth. Based on the research findings, students will be able to develop project reports, presentations, and/or publications with the supervision of a mentor and postdoc. The student may also have the chance to gain experience in the commercial fields of the crop industry.

Specific Duration Details:

Student Hourly Salary: $15.00/hour    

Expected Hours/Week: around 40hrs/wk Summer, 20 hrs/wk Fall

Hourly Working Parameters: No need to work overtime

Housing Benefit: We might provide an option to have a reasonably low rental cost for the student.

Special Considerations: No

Vehicle/Machinery Operation: Yes