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Extension Program Specialist at Texas A&M AgriLife
Tyler, Texas Area | Research
Summary

I strive to continually acquire knowledge and skills in the field of integrated pest management, with the goal to aid the agricultural industry by researching environmentally safe, sustainable, and innovative ways to manage pests of economically important crops.

Experience
Extension Program Specialist (2013 - Present)
Texas A&M AgriLife

Conduct applied research and demonstrations to confer new technology to industry/growers, as well as educating others on pest management in the field of Entomology. Additionally conduct meetings, workshops, field days and other educational activities related to greenhouse/nursery integrated pest management (IPM).

Web Developer (2013 - Present)
19gale Design & Multimedia

Responsible for developing websites through collaboration with other team members to meet the client's needs. Responsibilities include proposing options for overall design, incorporation of graphics and content, creating sample websites, project completion, and training clients on backend editing of website content.

Research Technician (2013 - 2013)
Vineland Research and Innovation Centre

Researching biological control of a recent invasive pest (Spotted Wing Drosophila) and a common greenhouse pest (white flies). Responsibilities include literature search, experimental design, experimental execution, data collection, data analysis, and completion of reports/presentations. Also responsible for direct communication with growers and other industry and research fellows.

Research and Development Partner (2012 - 2013)
Glosynergy Inc.

Responsible for creating the company Research and Development (R&D) protocol, as well as writeup reports on current R&D projects for internal use and key stakeholders. Responsibilities also include creating and maintaining the company e-commerce website (www.glosynergyleddepot.com), managing product stock and information, establish a company-wide inventory cataloguing system, ensure new products meet electrical safety compliance, delivering training to salespeople, working with new suppliers, and establishing new longterm clients.

Operations Associate Intern (2013 - 2013)
Urban Produce Inc.

Responsible for the development of protocols required for the operation and maintenance of greenhouse operations and drafting feasibility studies for different prospects. Feasibility studies included sourcing equipment, networking with suppliers and specialists, researching cost-effective techniques, producing renders of the final setup, and providing return on investment figures.

Tutor (2012 - 2013)
Tutor Doctor

Tutor high school level sciences and maths to students in their own homes. Communicate progress with parents and Tutor Doctor management team.

Apprentice (2012 - 2012)
Klippers Organic Acres

Apprentices at Klippers learn about everything involved in starting, running, and working on an organic farm. Training includes greenhouses, tilling, tractor operations, weed identification, soil nutrient cycling, thinning/pruning, marketing, and more. Details about the apprenticeship can be found at: http://klippersorganics.com/apprenticeship.html

IPM Consultant (2012 - 2012)
Integrated Crop Research and Management

Monitored organic orchards for the presence of primary pests using pheromone traps and lures. Involved trap collection, communicating with growers, and insect identification.

MSc in Pest Management (2009 - 2012)
Simon Fraser University

Designed and successfully completed a Masters Thesis Project. Proven ability to conduct research, design and execute experiments, statistically analyze data, and present data in written and presentation format. Thesis involved plant and insect cultures, rearing of biological controls, and use of sophisticated lab tools such as HPLC, GC Mass Spec, Y-tube olfactometer, PCR, microscopes, hobo loggers, and a wind tunnel.

Freelance Writer (2010 - 2011)
SocialShopper

Worked as a freelance writer for SocialShopper. SocialShopper is a company that offers deals for local restaurants, spas, entertainment, outdoor activities, and more (See www.socialshopper.com for more details). Their deal write-ups are written in a light and humorous fashion. I was responsible for providing a detailed write-up for the deal, and provide "10 Reasons" to purchase the deal on a weekly basis.

Research Assistant (2010 - 2010)
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Worked under the supervision of Dr. Sheila Fitzpatrick on biological control of highbush blueberry pests. Learned a series of techniques, from operation of environmental data loggers, dissection of parasitic wasps (2 mm in length), and a number of experimental and rearing procedures. Also worked with organic growers to establish monitoring programs for aphids and their natural predators.

Research Assistant (2009 - 2009)
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Worked under the supervision of Dr. Bruce Rathgeber. Conducted experiments on poultry quality, incorporation of supplemental macronutrients into food products, and egg quality. Learned techniques such as protein extraction, microplate assays for macronutrient presence, food texture, taste, and quality experiments, as well as handling and maintenance of live chickens.

Research Assistant (2008 - 2008)
Institut De Recherche En Biologie Vegetale

Worked under the supervision of Dr. Jacques Brodeur. Conducted research on voracity of different species of lady beetles and ground beetles. Assisted in the collection and assessment of pests in two willow wood tree plantations. Involved in collection and rearing of swallow parasites from over 200 nests in the outer Montreal region. Rearing and maintenance of aphid, lady beetle and ground beetle colonies. Built insect rearing cages.

Residence Staff (2006 - 2008)
University of Western Ontario

Worked as a Residence Advisor (2006 - 2007) in Medway-Sydenham Hall, and later promoted to a residence Don at Saugeen-Maitland Hall (2007- 2008); the largest co-ed residence on campus, housing over 1200 student.

Skills & Expertise

Visual Presentations, Statistical Computing, Research, Web Development, Public Speaking, Interpersonal Skill, Humor, Data Analysis, Integrated Pest Management, Sustainable Agriculture, Urban Agriculture, Standards Compliance, HTML, CSS, CMS, Science, Sustainability, Experimental Design, Molecular Biology, Time Management, Field Work, Environmental Science, Statistics, Scientific Writing, Biology, Agriculture, Climate Change, Biodiversity, Sustainable Development, Report Writing, Microbiology, Microsoft Office, Teaching, Presentations

Languages
  • Farsi
  • French
  • Spanish
  • English
Education
Simon Fraser University (2009 - 2011)
MPM (Masters in Pest Management), Integrated Pest Management
Activities and societies: Biology Graduate Caucus Exec., Professional Pest Management Association of BC Exec., Jeet Kune Do, Improv Club, Tae Kwon Do (WTF), Campus Association for Baha'i Studies Exec.
The University of Western Ontario (2005 - 2009)
BScH, Biology
Activities and societies: Association for Baha'i Studies Exec., "Unfolding Destinies" Radio Show Host (on CHRW 94.9 FM), Improv Club's "Acts of Random Comedy" Exec.

Completed my honours specialization thesis on high and low temperature tolerance of different Drosophila (fruit fly) species.

Recommendations
In 2012-2013, Erfan delivered multiple projects for our company. He brought his dedication, professionalism, and high standards to every aspect of the job.

Erfan has the capacity to perform feasibility studies, build concepts from the ground up, and is easily adaptable to a variety of tasks and projects. He has a tremendous initiative, and always goes above and beyond that which is asked of him, delivering consistently excellent work within the allocated time frame. He is a team player, and a competent and driven individual, who can excel in many areas. He is most certainly an asset to any organization.
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