Homegrown talent uses GIS to help grape growers
Rhiann Jakubowski, Class of 2012
Environmental Sciences major
Rhiann Jakubowski, a native of western New York, took only three years to graduate Summa Cum Laude from SUNY Fredonia in 2012 with a degree in Environmental Sciences and a minor in GIS. While a student at SUNY Fredonia, Jakubowski completed an internship with the Cornell’s Lake Erie Research and Extension Laboratory (CLEREL) in Portland, New York. As an intern, Jakubowski used aerial orthoimagery to map Lake Erie vineyards in New York and Pennsylvania.
The grape industry on the Erie Lake Plain is a significant part of western New York's heritage. With approximately 30,000 acres of vineyards on 840 farms, the Lake Erie region is the largest grape growing region outside California. The Lake Erie Regional Grape Program at CLEREL is dedicated to supporting local grape farmers. Jakubowski stayed on at CLEREL following graudation as a full-time Program Assistant focusing on GIS to support the Program's efforts. Currently, she provides National Grape Cooperative members with maps of their acreage. A sample of one of her maps is shown on the right. In addition to acreage, she also provides growers with elevation and soils data so they can better manage spray and fertilizer application. Additionally, her efforts incorporate the work of researcher Dr. James Taylor on using high resolution canopy sensors to collect data on leaf vigor.
Jakubowski found the GIS minor to be a good choice because it gave her an advantage in the work force. All she had to say was, “I have experience with GIS,” and the job was hers. Of course, her outstanding work as an intern had something to do with her being asked to continue with CLEREL in a full-time capacity! Jakubowski has found that the addition of GIS to her résumé helped her stand out from the many other applicants.
Jakubowski's work has proved invaluable to local farmers, and her trouble-shooting skills, ability to locate data, and strong work ethic have shown her to be a valuable asset to the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program.