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Soil Health in High-Value and Organic Diversified Horticulture Systems.

Internship Details


The undergraduate research and extension fellow will work directly with Extension Specialist Doug Collins at the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center. Research is underway to examine the effects of soil amendments, including biochar, on soil quality and production of strawberries and potatoes. Carbon and nitrogen cycling dynamics and other soil chemical and physical properties will be evaluated through laboratory and field research. The fellow will assist in a variety of tasks relating soil quality research in high-value horticulture systems as well as participate in an independent research project. Extension tasks may include assistance with workshop preparation and execution, development of extension fact sheets, and development of online training videos.

The WSU Puyallup REC provides an exceptional field and laboratory facility to mentor students in agricultural research and also provides a supportive community of faculty, staff, graduates, undergraduates, and visiting scientist. Facilities include a house on campus with independent rooms and a shared kitchen, a gym, and office and lab space. From the station there is easy access to the cities of Puyallup, Tacoma, and Seattle.

Our team of researchers, graduate students, and assistants are striving to increase the environmental and economic sustainability of Washington’s farms. We apply rigorous scientific methods to understand weed populations and changes to the soil’s biological, chemical, and physical properties under different organic farming management systems.

Learning Outcomes

The intern is expected to become familiar with principles of field research design and analysis, data collection, tools for evaluating soil physical and biological parameters, and weed population analysis.  The internship will include a workshop in the data management including Excel and the software package ‘R’. Through the independent project, the intern will gain advanced knowledge in a specific area by posing a research question and collecting and analyzing their data. They will be guided to formulate a research hypothesis and assess the accuracy and validity of findings and conclusions.