Faculty & Staff
Scott Steinmaus, Ph.D.
Dr. Steinmaus received a BS in Plant Science/Plant Pathology and a PhD in Plant Biology from the University of California at Davis. He worked as a Staff Research Associate in the Weed Science program while a graduate student at UCD. He was a National Research Initiative USDA Postdoc Fellow Plant Physiologist at University of California Riverside in the Botany and Plant Science Department. He joined the Horticulture and Crop Science Department at Cal Poly in 1999 and moved into the Biological Sciences Department in 2005 before returning in 2014 to HCS as department head. His area of teaching and research is weed science as it pertains to weeds in agriculture and invasive plants in wild lands.
J. Wyatt Brown, Ph.D.
Dr. Brown has taught in the Horticulture and Crop Science Department for 30 years. He came to Cal Poly from LSU via Cornell after spending 7 years training as a postharvest technologist/physiologist. He currently teaches the course Postharvest Technology of Horticulture Crops and assists with the course, California Vegetable Production. Dr. Brown's research interests center on pre-cut fruits and vegetables, plastics and modified-atmosphere packaging. Over the last 15 years, he has conducted studies involving broccoli and cauliflower florets; sliced green onions; pre-cut artichokes, sweet potatoes, apples and lemons; whole strawberries; pre-cut pineapple; chopped cilantro and whole herbs. His research on antibrowning compounds for pre- cut produce has resulted in a recently conferred patent. His current research involves evaluating transit and retail temperatures for pre-cut leafy greens, characterizing and testing biodegradable films for packaging, evaluating migrants from plastics due to sealing or during microwaving, evaluating plastics for heavy metal content, and determining the potential migration of heavy metals from plastics during the storage and microwaving of pre-cut products. Dr. Brown was designated the Outstanding Faculty Researcher by the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences for 2013-14, and has been named a University Distinguished Scholar for 2014-15. He is also faculty advisor for Cal Poly's anime club, Minna no Anime.
Shunping Ding, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor in Wine and Viticulture and Horticulture and Crop Science
Dr. Ding is an Assistant Professor of Plant pathology with a joint appointment in the Wine and Viticulture and Horticulture and Crop Science Departments. She received her B.S. in Biological Sciences in the School of Life Science, Henan University, China and her M.Phil. in Microbiology in the School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong. She earned a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she worked on potato early blight and brown spot disease. Dr. Ding teaches courses that involve plant pathology, grapevine diseases, and plant disease management. Her research interests include studying fungicide resistance in grapevine pathogens, grapevine disease diagnosis and epidemiology, and testing sources of disease resistance in grapes. She is also interested in working to increase the sustainability of wine grape production.
Lauren C. Garner, Ph.D.
Dr. Garner teaches classes in Fruit Science, including Pomology I and II, Nut Crop Production, Citrus and Avocado Fruit Production, and Orchard and Vegetable Enterprise Project, in addition to teaching Introduction to Horticulture and Crop Science. She earned her Master's degree from Cornell University and her PhD from UC Riverside. Her research interests focus on whole-plant physiology, plant growth regulators, and the development of cultural methods to increase fruit crop production, including that of avocado, citrus, and pomegranates. Dr. Garner is the faculty supervisor of the Cal Poly orchards and a faculty advisor to the Department's Crops Club.
Shashika Hewavitharana, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor in Horticulture and Crop Science and Strawberry Pathologist with the Strawberry Center
Dr. Hewavitharana received her B.S. in Plant Biotechnology at the University of Colombo, in Sri Lanka. She obtained her M.S. in Plant Pathology and her Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from Washington State University. Dr. Hewavitharana's last position was as a postdoctoral research associate working under Dr. Mark Mazzola at USDA-ARS and Tianna DuPont at Washington State University's Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center. Her research involved application of bio-renovation methods of anaerobic soil disinfestation and Brassicaceae seed meal application to control apple replant disease. Her research program at Cal Poly focuses on integrated management of both current and emerging disease threats to California's strawberry industry.
David H. Headrick, Ph.D.
Dr. Headrick teaches Agricultural Entomology, Biological Control of Agricultural Pests, Vertebrate Pest Management and Insect Pest Management in the Plant Protection Science concentration. He earned his PhD from UC Riverside where he studied biological control of weeds and became a specialist in tephritid fruit fly ecology and behavior. His research on this agriculturally important group and other research has resulted in more than 80 published articles, book chapters and technical reports. He was the recipient of the 2010 College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences Outstanding Researcher Award and conducts research on insect pest management in vegetable, citrus and greenhouse cropping systems. He has given 92 research-related presentations nationally and internationally.
Benjamin K. Hoover, Ph.D.
Dr. Hoover is an Assistant Professor of Sustainable Nursery Production. He worked in the Pennsylvania nursery industry for a decade, growing and selling plants in wholesale and retail environments. Dr. Hoover earned a B.S. in horticulture from Temple University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in horticulture from Penn State University. His research interests include propagation substrates, nursery production methods, and landscape plant selection. He teaches Plant Propagation, Nursery Production, Horticultural Production Techniques, Plant Materials I and II, Experimental Techniques and Analysis, and the Tomato Mania Enterprise Project. Dr. Hoover serves as faculty advisor to the Horticulture Club and as the head coach for the Cal Poly SLO National Collegiate Landscape Competition team. He is a member of the American Society for Horticultural Science and the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers.
Melinda Lynch, AIFD
Melinda Lynch AIFD CFD is a Cal Poly Alumna, she teaches our floral design classes offered in our department. She teaches summer courses to the California Ag. Education Teachers. She is the advisor to the (SAIFD) Gordon Student Chapter of (AIFD) American Institute of Floral Designers. She coaches the National Floral Design team for SAIFD, they compete at the State and National levels. She is currently the Co-Chair for the Student Membership/AIR and a member of Certification Committee on the National Board of Committees in AIFD. She was inducted in AIFD in 2002 and is also a Certified Floral Designer with AIFD.
Mark Shelton, Ph.D.
Dr. Shelton joined Cal Poly in 1982 as a Crop Science professor, serving as department head in 1996-97. He is a Registered Professional Entomologist with expertise in Integrated Pest Management, apiculture, and insect management. Dr. Shelton also has interests in international agriculture policy and development. Dr. Shelton served as Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture from 1997 to 2015 and was responsible for farm operations, and research and graduate programs. He also acted as a liaison with numerous industry partners for the College and University.
Ashraf Tubeileh, Ph.D.
Dr. Tubeileh joined the HCS Department in Fall, 2015. He is teaching classes in Organic Farm Production, Cropping Systems, Commercial Seed Production and is the faculty supervisor of the Department's Organic Farm, where he supervises students working as members of the Organic Enterprise project. He also helps to oversee the College's Sustainable Agriculture minor. Dr. Tubeileh obtained a Ph.D. in Agronomy from the Universit? de Lorraine in France in 2000. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) between 2001 and 2007. At ICARDA, Dr. Tubeileh contributed to the implementation of development-oriented research in close collaboration with staff from national, international and non-governmental institutions both in developing regions (Middle-east and North Africa, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa) and in developed countries. Dr. Tubeileh was previously at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada where he managed 14 research projects involving field, vegetable, and biomass crops. Dr. Tubeileh has more than 50 scientific publications.
Jeffrey C. Wong, Ph.D.
Dr. Wong is teaching an introductory class and laboratory in genetics and is currently conducting genetic research with Stanford University. "The techniques and experimental approach I use can be applied to many plant species. Crop and vegetable species grown on the Central Coast could be used to prove the link between the basic science concepts and the field application," Wong explains. He also wants to design and teach a laboratory techniques class. The course would use the newest technologies to differentiate plant DNAs to help select genes that would provide the best plant types for cultivation.
|Name & Description||Telephone||Office|
Plant Science Manager
HCS Academic Advisor
Administrative Support Coordinator
Administrative Support Coordinator II