NC State
Small Fruits

Our Team 2020-2021

From left to right: Back row: Emma Volk, Amanda Lay-Walters, Rania Hassan, Kiara McKenzie Perry, Kyle Freedman. Front row: Austin Wrenn, Mark Hoffmann, Sarah Barbee.

Team Lead: Mark Hoffmann

Areas of Expertise: Strawberry Production, Viticulture, Strawberry Propagation, Muscadine Production

Research Assistant and M.S. Student: Emma Volk

Thesis: Evaluation of weed and pathogen control of soil disinfestation with steam, CaO and Allyl-Isothiocyanate in strawberry

Communication Assistant: Amanda Lewis

Amanda joined our Team in September 2021.

PhD-Student: Kyle Freedman

Thesis: Developing Precise Indoor Vine Conditioning (PIVC) protocols. In collaboration with Ricardo Hernandez and Cristian Collado, NCSU

Master-Student: Amanda Lay-Walters

Thesis: Pre-plant fertilizer optimization for annual hill strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa cv. 'Camarosa') production systems in North Carolina

Master-Student: Austin Wrenn

Thesis: Substrate based performance of strawberry cultivars in greenhouse growing systems

Undergraduate Research Assistant Sarah Barbee

Sarah joined our group as a work-study student in April 2021.

Undergraduate Research Assistant Paige Mesecar

Paige joined our team in September 2021.


2018-2021: Rania Hassan. Rania was our outreach assistant for almost 3 years. Since August 2021, she works as Assistant to governor Coopers team.

2021: Kiara McKenzie-Perry. Kiara was a ASPIRE intern in our group in summer 2021 and assessed on root development of grapevine rootstocks under supplemental lights. Kiara is currently a senior honors sustainable land and food systems student at NC A&T.

2018-2020: Xiaonan Shi (Write Xiaonan an email). Xiaonan did graduate with an M.S. (Master Thesis) in June 2020 from our program. She achieved a B.S. in Horticulture in 2018 from the China Agriculture University in Beijing, one of the top 20 agriculture universities in the world. Xiaonan is currently pursuing a PhD in the controlled environments research group at NC State.

2018 – 2020: Tekan Rana (Write Tekan an email). Tekan joined our team in August 2018 and graduated in December 2020 with an MHS. He pursues a PhD at the Farcuh lab at University of Maryland.

2017- 2019: Owen Washam (Write Owen an email). Owen was the ‘good saint’ and the cornerstone of our laboratories for more than two years. Owen is pursues an M.S. in the Silva lab at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

2018: Abby Whitaker. Abby worked in our group as a full time technician in summer 2018. Today, she brings value to the NC Extension Service and to Rockingham Co. as extension livestock and forage agent.




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