Horticulture Ph.D. student receives $10,000 scholarship

Closeup of Jacob Meeuwsen
Jacob Meeuwsen

The Potato Leadership, Education, and Advancement Foundation (Potato LEAF) announced Jacob Meeuwsen, a Ph.D. student at Washington State University, as the recipient of the organization’s 2023-24 Academic Scholarship. The $10,000 scholarship award is provided annually to one graduate student with a strong interest in research that can directly benefit the U.S. potato industry.

A Kennewick, Washington native, Meeuwsen is focused on intelligent potato water-use efficiency, land-use management practices, and reducing water loss via evaporation and runoff. He is currently working to optimize predictive evapotranspiration (ET) and suggested irrigation amounts as they relate to changes in plant spatial arrangement and population and to utilize both to mitigate heat and water stress. He is also testing a novel irrigation method to maximize water use efficiency in potatoes, along with other aspects of irrigation. Meeuwsen plans to use information collected from his research to build a predictive ET and irrigation app for potatoes, with the help of the Information Technology Services and the AgWeatherNet teams at Washington State University. 

“Receiving the Potato Leaf Scholarship is a great honor for me. It shows that the research I do means something to the potato industry. Receiving this scholarship will help me achieve my goals by inspiring me to think of new and innovative ways to help the potato industry become more sustainable and efficient. Thank you again for the recognition and awarding me this scholarship” said Meeuwsen after receiving the award. 

Meeuwsen began his PhD research at WSU in May of 2022 under the direction of Mark J. Pavek, a horticulture professor and state potato extension specialist located in Pullman.

“Jacob has assisted with many WSU research and extension activities. He is an intelligent team player with great work ethic, routinely exceeding my expectations. After he graduates, he is interested in continuing his career within PNW agriculture, focusing on potato production,” Pavek wrote in his letter of recommendation. 

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