Department head gift for plant pathology, environmental microbiology endowment

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Carolee Bull, head of the Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology Department, and her husband Jean-Philippe Fillettaz, have made a pledge to match donations up to $25,000 to support strategic initiatives in the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology within the Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

The Foundations for Leadership and Innovation Endowment in Plant Pathology will seek to develop novel undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral training and research programs to prepare students for successful careers in entrepreneurship, academia, government and industry and position department faculty and staff as leaders within the college and their disciplines, according to Bull.

“Through this endowment, the legacy of the past will ensure our students and faculty lead the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State and the discipline of plant pathology as we move into the future,” she explained.

“We are all extremely pleased that Dr. Bull has taken the initiative to support this department’s future,” said Richard Roush, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. “We are proud of all that Carolee and her colleagues, students and staff have achieved over the past year, and the commitment and faith she and Jean-Philippe are showing with this investment.”

Bull is passionate about professional development and providing authentic research experiences for all undergraduate students, especially those from underprivileged backgrounds. She has recently begun to provide student and postdoctoral training workshops on "How to Mentor Yourself, How to Mentor Your Boss, and Crucial Conversations."

Bull’s research focuses on phytobacteriology, systemic bacteriology, biological control and sustainable and organic agriculture, and has been published and discussed in leading academic journals such as Phytopathology and PLOS ONE. Since arriving at Penn State, she has taken steps to implement new and improved programs related to staff and student professional development, the college’s Microbiome initiative, diversity and inclusion, the department’s website, clubs, and outreach activities. She also maintains a blog, From the Bull Penn, about her research lab and mentorship efforts.

“In the short time that Jean-Philippe and I have been in State College, we have come to believe deeply in the mission of the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology and the dedication of the staff and faculty,” she said.

Bull grew up in Beaver County and is a graduate of Sewickley Academy. In 2015, she was inducted into the Sewickley Academy Science and Technology Hall of Fame as an inaugural inductee. She received a bachelor’s degree in botany from Ohio University, a master’s degree in plant pathology from Washington State University and a doctorate in plant pathology from Oregon State University.

Bull performed postdoctoral work at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) and Université de Lausanne in Switzerland before returning to the United States to work for the USDA Agricultural Service in Fresno and Salinas, California. She also was an adjunct professor at California State University, Fresno, and California State University, Monterey Bay, and mentored students in her laboratory at Hartnell College, a two-year Hispanic-serving institution in Salinas.

Before being named head of the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology in September of 2015, she worked as a research plant pathologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Station at its Crop Improvement and Protection Research Station in Salinas, California.

Bull serves as convenor of the International Society for Plant Pathology's Committee on the Taxonomy of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria, and as secretary of the Judicial Commission of the International Committee on the Systematics of Prokaryotes.

She has received many honors and awards, including the ARS Administrator's Outreach, Diversity and Equal Opportunity Award, the Mentor of the Year Award from Cal State Monterey Bay, and the USDA Secretary's Honor Award for Outreach, Diversity and Equal Opportunity, the highest service award for agriculture in the nation.

If you are interested in donating to The Foundations for Leadership and Innovation Endowment in Plant Pathology, donations can be made by a check payable to The Pennsylvania State University, Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology, online at www.giveto.psu.edu/PPEM (please note “Foundations for Leadership and Innovation Endowment” in the memo line), or by contacting Carolee Bull.

Penn State's alumni and friends are invaluable partners in fulfilling the University's land-grant mission of education, research and service. Private gifts from alumni and friends enrich the experiences of students both in and out of the classroom; expand the research and teaching capacity of faculty; enhance the University's ability to recruit and retain top students and faculty; and help to ensure that students from every economic background have access to a Penn State education. The University's colleges and campuses are now enlisting the support of alumni and friends to advance a range of unit-specific initiatives.

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Last Updated August 15, 2016