Jillian Drake, 2013 Agriscience Award

Written by on September 25, 2013 in 2013, Agriscience Award, Student

Jillian Drake

Jillian Drake

Fallbrook Union High School
Fallbrook, California

The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation and the American Farm Bureau Federation are honored to have awarded the achievements of the 2013 $1,000 Agriscience Student’s Award Columbus Scholar.

Jillian Drake’s agriscience research has concentrated on the plant pathogen ’Candidatus Liberibcter’ which causes severe diseases in citrus and solanceous crops, such as tomato, potato and pepper. She has worked at the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s National Clonal Germplasm Repository for Citrus & Dates in Riverside, CA, under the supervision of Dr. Manjunath Keremane, Dr. Chandrika Ramadugu and Dr. Richard Lee. Jillian completed multi-year projects researching new methods of disease detection and the role of bacteriophage in disease expression for this pathogen. As this bacterium is non-culturable, it requires DNA analysis for its detection, and through her research Jillian was able to validate a new method of DNA extraction of the psyllid vector which was more efficient and less costly, while maintaining sensitivity. Additionally, Jillian was able to determine that lytic bacteriophage appears to increase disease virulence within plants infected with this pathogen. Jillian plans to continue her research at the USDA-ARS laboratory on this pathogen.

Jillian has received numerous awards for her agriscience research. As a member of the FFA, she has won the California Star in Agriscience Award, given to the student who demonstrates the highest achievement for a person pursuing a career in this field. She has also won the FFA California State overall best individual project multiple times. Additionally, Jillian has won California State proficiency in both Agriscience Research Plant Division and Integrated Systems.

Jillian has served her class as ASB sophomore and junior class secretary. She has been a member of Fallbrook High’s Academic Teams and Academic Decathlon Team, on the JV tennis and varsity track teams, an editor of the school newspaper and on the yearbook staff. Within FFA, she has served as her chapter’s reporter and treasurer, a member of several judging and parliamentary procedure teams, competing at regional and state levels.

Jillian intends to continue her agriscience research and will be attending college in the Fall. She plans on pursing a degree in bioengineering, specifically relating to topics in agricultural science, with the hope of attaining an advanced degree and pursing agricultural research for a career.

The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation is honored to have had the assistance of the following distinguished individuals serving on the 2013 Agriscience Awards Evaluation Committee:

  • Robert W. Clark, Ph.D.
    Executive Director
    Professional Personnel Development Center
    Temple University
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Terri Lawton
    Lawton Family Farms
    Blackstone, Massachusetts
  • Jean Lonie
    Senior Manager
    Marketing Communications, Beef Segment
    Madison, New Jersey
  • Hilary Maricle
    Maricle Family Farms and
    Agriscience Educator
    Northeast Community College
    Albion, Nebraska
  • Gary Matteson
    VP Young, Beginning, Small Farmer
    Programs and Outreach
    The Farm Credit Council
    Washington, D.C.
  • Meghan Mueseler
    Cargill, Inc.
    Wichita, Kansas



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