The new interim director of Iowa State University's Pest Management and the Environment (PME) program and coordinator of the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program is no stranger to agriculture. Carol Pilcher was raised on a farm/ranch in southeastern Colorado and has been involved with agriculture most of her life. She was active in 4-H and completed 10 years of projects including gardening, crops, weeds, and entomology. During the summers, Carol collected insects for her 4-H entomology project and operated a light trap for an entomologist at Colorado State University. This is where she started her entomology career path.
Carol received her bachelor of arts in political science from Colorado State University. She focused on agricultural policy and environmental policy and served as a legislative intern for State Representative Aquafresca (a commercial fruit grower from western Colorado). In addition, she worked in the insectary throughout her entire undergraduate career. After completing her undergraduate degree, Carol changed her focus from political science to entomology. She moved to Iowa and began work on her master's degree in entomology. Carol also completed an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Fellowship during her master's program. After completing her master's degree, she wanted to complete a Ph.D. program that would bring together her social science and biological science backgrounds. In 1997, Carol started her Ph.D. program with a co-major in entomology and agricultural education. Her focus was developing a standardized method to measure the adoption of IPM. She examined growers in Iowa and growers in Texas to determine the current level of adoption of IPM.
After completing her graduate studies at Iowa State University, she taught courses in the Department of Agriculture at Western Illinois University. In addition, she served as a study director at the Monsanto Research Farm in Monmouth, Illinois. These studies focused on the impact of Bt corn on non-target organisms, specifically ground-dwelling invertebrates and foliage-dwelling arthropods. In July 2002, Carol moved back to Iowa and continued her work with the PME program. She completed a postdoctoral program as an IPM specialist and accepted a lecturer position in 2004.
Carol's new responsibilities will be the overall coordination of the IPM program and the Pesticide Applicator Training (PAT) program in Iowa. In addition, Carol is working on the regional and national levels to complete program evaluations for IPM. She is working to develop a framework for conducting outcome level evaluations to measure the impacts of IPM at the regional and national levels. She is examining the economic, environmental, and health impacts associated with the adoption of IPM at the national level.
This article originally appeared on page 153 of the IC-496(13) -- May 30, 2006 issue.