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While she hasn’t been here long, she said that she really enjoys the new football stadium and working in the campus greenhouse.

Currently, they are growing vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, etc) even with the cold temperatures outside.

She became interested in horticulture (an area of agriculture that specializes in plants grown in landscapes or gardens) because of her first job in high school.

“I worked at a local greenhouse and nursery center and I started out with caring for the plants and cleaning the greenhouses. I found out that I loved learning all about the plants, from their names to how they grow and this allowed me to be able to recommend plants for customers,” said Dr. Judd.

She worked there every summer until her senior year in college. She also worked at the research greenhouses and healing gardens at Michigan State University.

“From there my interest in researching plants expanded and I found a graduate program in horticulture at North Carolina State University,” said Dr. Judd.

She has her Ph.D. and master’s from North Carolina State University (NSCU), and her bachelor’s from Michigan State University, all in horticulture.

Before ENMU she was working as a graduate student at NCSU.

“My area of focus was evaluating new materials to grow plants in, such as using wood chips and growing purple coneflower and holly in it. These new materials are either waste products or other materials that will not negatively impact the environment if we use it,” explained Dr. Judd.

For her master’s she focused on how wood chips (waste from paper mills or mulch companies) affect root growth of plants.

“For my Ph.D., I focused on using a material called biochar and its capability to grow plants. Biochar is taking something organic like wood chips or chicken litter and charring it so it will release nutrients for plants but retain carbon – all good things for the environment,” said Dr. Judd.

Agriculture has been a large part of her family.

“Both of my grandparents are farmers and have instilled a love of land in my family. My father received his master’s in crop science from the University of Kentucky, and my uncle just retired from teaching botany at the University of Florida,” said Dr. Judd.

She grew up in a small town in central Michigan on 10 acres. Her parents placed a lot of importance on knowing to grow food so they always had a large vegetable garden and orchard with apple trees.

She loves that she can teach students about plants, soil and the environment. She thinks it’s important to get them interested and thinking about topics that will affect us now and in the future.

“We need agriculture to feed and clothe us, and we need soils to provide a stable environment to build and live on. We only have one planet with a determined amount of land and water and I want my students to care and impact the world positively, even if it is something as small as using soil conservation practices in farming and ranching,” said Dr. Judd.

Her hobbies include reading and gardening, along with any adventures she can find to do with her dogs

“We’ve gone hiking in the mountains of North Carolina and gone to several beaches on the East Coast and the Great Lakes,” said Dr. Judd.

She adores the national parks, but if she had to choose a favorite she’d choose Yellowstone National Park or Sequoia National Park due to the “beauty of the landscape and wildlife.

“Everyone should see the giant sequoias in California; there is nothing quite like them. Some trees you can’t wrap your arms around, it takes ten people or more. The sequoias are majestic, and all the natural beauty in Yellowstone is something to see, too,” explained Dr. Judd.

A fun fact about the Judd family is when they settled in Michigan back in the 1850’s her ancestors named the town Juddville.

“There is not much left of it now, just a historical schoolhouse, but it is still on the map,” said Dr. Judd.

She wants to encourage anyone who has an interest in growing plants or learning more about horticulture/agriculture to reach out to her.