(10/01/20) BATON ROUGE, La. — A. Wilbert’s Sons, LLC, will continue to sponsor multiple undergraduate research internships for LSU students in agriculture and natural resources through the 2020-2021 academic year.
A. Wilbert’s Sons is a land management company headquartered in Plaquemine, Louisiana. It owns and manages a diverse group of properties in Louisiana and Mississippi, ranging from bottomland hardwood timber, plantation pine timber, agricultural row crops, eucalyptus, pastureland and commercial real estate.
A. Wilbert’s Sons research Internships are a continued partnership with the LSU AgCenter. The company will fund six undergraduate students’ research this year.
These internships provide undergraduate students with practical experience in researching a diverse range of agricultural and natural resource disciplines under AgCenter faculty advisers’ guidance.
Erin Matherne, a junior majoring in environmental management systems concentrating in resource conservation, is working under the direction of Jerrod Penn, a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness.
Matherne’s research internship explores the best outreach methods to reach private landowners who may be considered absentee landowners. This group of landowners is often less likely to actively engage in routine land management practices.
Her project combines both conservation and social sciences research.
“Anything I can do to help with conservation efforts is fun to me,” Matherne said. “I’ve always been aware of environmental issues, and I’ve enjoyed learning and focusing on the social science side of conservation.”
This internship program strives to expose LSU College of Agriculture students to various scientific disciplines they might pursue as a career after graduation.
Katie Mestayer, a sophomore majoring in plant and soil systems with a concentration in crop science, is working with Lauren Lazaro, a professor in the School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences.
Their research investigates reducing weed densities in fields using cover crops, varying herbicide treatments and chaff lining. This is one of Louisiana’s first studies to experiment with chaff lining as a means of weed density reduction.
“Food security is something I really care about, and we cannot have that without securing our food supply,” Mestayer said. “This research makes me feel like I have a place in the food security chain.”
Mestayer said her A. Wilbert’s Sons internship has spearheaded her involvement with undergraduate research. After completing her undergraduate degree, her goal is to pursue her degrees in higher education and a career in crop research.
Other internship research funded for the 2020-2021 academic year includes:
— Kali Elftmann, a senior majoring in natural resource and ecology management, is working under the direction of Zhijun Liu, a professor in the School of Renewable Natural Resources, and Heather Kirk-Ballard, a professor in the School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences. The project is “Using Botanical Ingredients to Control Ball Moss on Ornamental Plants.”
— Lura Fontenot, a freshman majoring in general business, is working under the direction of Michael Salassi, program leader for plant and animal sciences and professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, and Wade Baumgartner, AgCenter Office of Sponsored Programs. The project is “Using Chaff Lining and Additional Integrated Weed Management Tactics.”
— Haley Jackson, a senior majoring in natural resource and ecology management, is working under the direction of Phillip Stouffer, a professor in the School of Renewable Natural Resources. The project is “Successional Habitat Variation Effects on Mixed Species Bird Flock Structure and Social Networks in Bottomland Hardwood Forests.”
— Grace Rosseau, a junior majoring in natural resource ecology and management, is working under the direction of Brett Wolfe, a professor in School of Renewable Natural Resources. The project is “Bark Water Vapor Conductance Associations with Stress Tolerance in Louisiana Tree Species.”
Applications information about A. Wilbert’s Sons research internships can be found online at https://www.lsu.edu/agriculture/wilbertsnrm.php.
Katie Mestayer, an LSU College of Agriculture sophomore majoring in plant and soil, has an internship funded by A. Wilbert’s Sons to investigate reducing weed densities in fields using cover crops. Photo provided by Katie Mestayer