Lincoln, Neb. —Julie Peterson has been named the associate director of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s West Central Research, Extension and Education Center in North Platte. The appointment took effect Sept. 1, 2023.
Peterson, an entomologist and extension specialist, leads the center’s Agroecosystems Entomology Lab, which pursues research questions addressing the ecology and management of agricultural pests with an emphasis on practical applications for integrated pest management of field crops. Her research has included biological control of pests by other insects, pesticide resistance, insect behavior and food web dynamics, among other topics. She has also developed educational programs about field crop pests for producers.
In her new role, Peterson will continue her own research and outreach, while also providing guidance to WCREEC faculty on research and extension funding opportunities and mentoring them through the process of promotion and tenure. She will also work to connect WCREEC faculty with collaborators from across UNL’s statewide campus, as well as from other institutions, to advance projects of critical importance to Nebraskans. Additionally, she will help implement and execute the strategic vision for UNL’s statewide network of research, Extension and education centers.
“Dr. Peterson is an extremely accomplished scientist, as well as a strategic team member and natural leader,” said Derek McLean, dean and director of the Agricultural Research Division within UNL’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “She is a natural fit in this position, and I am confident she will advance the important work of the West Central Research, Extension and Education Center in this new role.”
Peterson earned her undergraduate degree from Ohio Wesleyan University and a doctoral degree from the University of Kentucky. She joined the West Central research center in 2014.
The West Central Research, Extension and Education Center serves as a site for field-based research and outreach activities that support agriculture, natural resources stewardship and economic prosperity in North Platte and the surrounding area. The center comprises 1,800 acres pastureland and dryland and irrigated cropland near North Platte where UNL faculty and graduate students from eight departments within the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources conduct experiments.