Bull elected fellow of American Phytopathological Society

Matt Black
August 24, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Carolee Bull, professor of systematic bacteriology and plant pathology in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, has been elected as a fellow of the American Phytopathological Society, an honor given to members in recognition of distinguished contributions to the discipline of plant pathology.

Bull, who serves as the head of the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology, is director of Penn State’s Microbiome Center. She was honored during a virtual ceremony as part of the Plant Health 2020 meeting Aug. 4.

Carolee Bull

Carolee Bull, professor and head of the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology.

IMAGE: Penn State

Bull was recognized for contributions in translational taxonomy, including the use or development of taxonomic frameworks and methods for identification, classification and description of novel bacterial plant and mushroom pathogens; improved detection methods; descriptions of natural and artificial host ranges; and development of integrated disease management systems in conventional and organic systems.

“The College of Agricultural Sciences and I are delighted that Professor Bull has been awarded this well-deserved honor for her contributions to plant pathology,” said Rick Roush, dean of the college. “This recognition reflects her leadership, dedication and creativity in her discipline, skills that also are highly evident in her much-valued contributions as a department head at Penn State.”

Bull is known for the development of high-impact programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the American Phytopathological Society and Penn State.

“Carolee has done an absolutely terrific job as founding director of our Microbiome Center, bringing together previously unconnected campus experts as well as guiding the hiring of many new faculty,” said Andrew Read, director of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences. “Her leadership efforts have generated one of the best examples of how center directors can raise their institutions’ interdisciplinary games.”

Bull’s efforts to enhance equity and inclusion are nationally recognized. In 2013, she received the Secretary’s Honor Award from the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for her innovative programming to recruit underrepresented minority students to STEM and agricultural science fields. This award is the highest honor given in the nation for service in agriculture.

At Penn State, she is one of the leaders of the Latinx Agricultural Network. This initiative is a grassroots effort among students, extension educators and faculty to enhance Penn State Extension’s strategic engagement with Pennsylvania’s Latinx communities to ensure that they benefit from Penn State Extension programming.

“Dr. Bull represents the very best of everything that we try to do at Penn State Extension,” said Brent Hales, director of Penn State Extension and associate dean in the College of Agricultural Sciences. “The inclusion of diverse voices and perspectives in our research, program development and educational offerings is central to the land-grant mission and the broader mission of extension. She is a voice of conscience and a driver of change for extension and the college. I can think of no one more deserving than Dr. Bull. She defines our aspirational efforts to grow the ‘We’ in ‘We Are Penn State.’”

Bull was born in Sewickley and raised in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. She earned her Bachelor of Science in botany (cum laude) at Ohio University, her Master of Science in plant pathology at Washington State University and her doctorate from Oregon State University.

She continued biocontrol studies as a National Science Foundation postdoctoral scholar at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and then as a postdoctoral fellow for the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Fresno, California.

In 1997, she joined USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Salinas, California, as a research plant pathologist. In 2005, she became an adjunct faculty member at California State University, Monterey Bay. She was recruited as head of the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology at Penn State in 2015.

Bull is known for her capacity to help others find pathways to their aims. She developed a unique mentorship curriculum including a workshop on self-mentorship, providing tools to allow attendees to incorporate their diverse backgrounds into training plans to achieve their goals, regardless of the availability of culturally appropriate mentors. She has been invited to deliver the curriculum more than 40 times at national and international universities and scientific meetings.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 15, 2021