Dr. Silvia Rondon has been named as the new director of the Oregon Integrated Pest Management Center.
Rondon is a professor and entomology specialist at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center. and has worked there since 2006. While her new director job has typically been done from Corvallis, she said she negotiated to work from HAREC for at least a couple of years so that she can also continue some of her work she has been doing in Eastern Oregon.
“Our entomology program will be kept going here at HAREC, maybe with some modifications,” she said.
The Oregon IPM Center, part of Oregon State University, works to provide farmers in Oregon with sustainable pest management options that are affordable but also reduce harm to humans and the environment. Its projects range from research to educational programs.
Rondon’s work at HAREC has been part of that, but now she will also manage other researchers throughout the state and work to make their findings available to growers everywhere. She said she is excited to familiarize herself with the work being done in other parts of the state and figure out how to better pool their resources and skills.
“My colleagues are doing great things in different parts of the state, but I think what is missing is that connection, and looking at sharing resources,” she said.
Rondon’s specialty is entomology, or the study of insects, and she said a majority of the work she is doing at HAREC now revolves around protecting potato crops. As part of the Oregon IPM Center, she will be working with experts more familiar with other crops and other pests, from weeds to funguses to birds.
The part of the job she is also looking forward to is the mentorship aspects, she said. She has enjoyed getting to mentor students and newer staff at HAREC and is looking forward to doing that more widely.
She also serves on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion task force for the Entomological Society of America.