CSU, Chico News

Agriculture Student Takes Top Honors at CSU Research Competition

Date: 05-17-2007

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Carrie Whitcher
College of Agriculture

Jessica Cook, a senior in animal science at California State University, Chico, took first place in the Biological and Agricultural Sciences division of the 21st California State University Student Research Competition for research in plant science.

The competition, which took place at CSU, Dominguez Hills May 4­–5, showcases excellent research conducted by undergraduate and graduate students in the full range of academic programs offered by the CSU. Student participants made oral presentations before juries of professional experts from foundations, public agencies, colleges, universities and corporations in California.

Cook’s research paper is titled “Optimum Phosphorus Concentrations Affects New Guinea Impatiens and Coleus in a Top-Watering System.” Her research shows that we can use less phosphorus fertilizer (up to one half of most commercial brands) and continue to have beautiful, healthy garden plants and flowers. This should reduce the contamination of irrigation water by high applications of fertilizer and lower growing costs.

Other researchers have found this with nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus in ground irrigation, but Cook’s work was done with overhead watering, which is used in a majority of garden settings.

“I’m very proud of Jessica’s accomplishments in horticulture science research,” said Carrie Whitcher, Cook’s research advisor. “She is an animal science major, yet she wanted to learn more about plant science to balance her education. I have had many talented young people in my classes in my 15 years of teaching, and Jessica is at the top of my list.”