Rashaan Souikane

In Pursuit of Knowledge


Rashaan is evaluating how well three rootstocks from the UC Riverside avocado breeding program can tolerate Phytopthora cinnamomi compared to the current industry standard rootstock, ‘Dusa’. Our site was previously an avocado orchard that had been wiped out due to severe P. cinnamomi infestation.

He chose the fruit and crop science concentration because he enjoys “plant physiology and understanding how plants communicate with themselves and other organisms.”

He chose Cal Poly over other well-known agriculture programs because of the people and campus culture.

“Many people around campus and town were exceptionally amiable, which made life on and off campus enjoyable.”

As an undergraduate, Rashaan worked on a number of graduate student’s research projects, including measuring the nutrient uptake and efficiency of pomegranate trees and the effects of organic composts, such as olive mill waste on ag pests. He also did an internship in Hawaii learning about sustainable agroforestry and wholistic management.

He credits the time he spent helping a graduate student with igniting his interest in research.

“I genuinely appreciated working with Dr. Ashraf Tubeileh and his graduate student at the time, Gregg Stephenson, for my senior project. Throughout that process, I was able to get my foot in the door of research and receive my first publication in a scientific journal. “

Rashaan sees the value in being a lifelong learner and plans to become a university professor.  

“I sincerely enjoy being a student and will continue to be a “student” no matter how many degrees I obtain. Although academics is not the only path for knowledge, it’s one that I have had the privilege to enjoy and gain the most from. I do not see my master’s degree is a benchmark to reach, but a journey where I hope to continue learning and growing.”


Any advice for students considering an advanced degree?

"Be sure to build a support group of family, friends and/or colleagues. The process is easier when you have people to lean on. Additionally, be as forthright with your advisor as possible – they are on your side and want you to succeed. "


Return to Alumni Features


Related Content

Department Facilities

Crops Unit, Poly Plant Shop, Organic Farm and more!

Learn about Facilities

Plant Sciences Program Overview

Learn about PLSC

Student Clubs and Activities

Get Involved

Cal Poly Admissions

Selection criteria, application deadlines and more!

Find out more

Latest Newsletter

Read Newsletter