Kayla graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2014 with a B.S. in Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity and a minor in Fungal Biology and Ecology. As an undergraduate, Kayla contributed to research on sudden oak death in California’s coastal forests, soft rot of table grapes, and pitch canker of Monterey pine in various faculty programs at UC-Davis. She also completed her honors thesis on the insect-gall diversity of sagebrush in the Eastern Sierras, which was published in a peer-reviewed academic journal (Environmental Entomology 44:1095-1100). After graduating, Kayla worked as a microbiologist at an agricultural biotechnology company, researching beneficial plant-associated bacteria and fungi. She then returned to UC-Davis to manage the California stream monitoring project for sudden oak death. Kayla joined Dr. Lindsey du Toit’s program at the WSU Mount Vernon NWREC in fall 2018 as a plant pathology Ph.D. student, and is co-advised by Dr. Tobin Peever. Kayla received a fellowship from the Seattle Chapter of the ARCS Foundation, Inc. (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists). Her dissertation project is on the ecology and management of Stemphylium leaf spot of spinach.
2018-2022 Ph.D. dissertation: The ecology and management of Stemphylium leaf spot of spinach