AMES, Iowa – The Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic at Iowa State University has welcomed two new diagnosticians who will help diagnose plant and insect issues found in Iowa.
Zach Schumm is an insect diagnostician and Chelsea Harbach is a plant disease diagnostician with the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic, which is part of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
Schumm and Harbach will help Iowans better understand plant and insect issues found in Iowa, and offer the same diagnostic services the lab is known for.
“If people have plants that don’t look right or insects they need help identifying, we are here to help,” said Harbach. “Whether it’s in a home landscape, nursery or field crops, we can help identify the issue and what’s happening.”
Harbach earned a Ph.D. in plant pathology and microbiology at Iowa State (2019), and Schumm holds a master’s degree in ecology from Utah State University (2020).
“The long-standing tradition of science-based, efficient, and accurate diagnostic services provided by the PIDC continues with Chelsea and Zach,” said Laura Iles, director of the North Central Integrated Pest Management Center. “Under their capable leadership, diagnostic services will undergo appropriate change and improvements, all in service of our many clients throughout the state of Iowa.”
Schumm and Harbach said their positions will allow them to pursue their passions while helping to educate Iowans about pest and insect issues. Both have professional career experience related to plant and insect diagnostics. Harbach previously worked as a commercial agriculture extension educator for the University of Illinois, and Schumm served as a diagnostician and integrated pest management expert at Utah State University.
“As a diagnostician, you really get to help change perspectives when it comes to insects and plants, which is something I really enjoy,” said Schumm. “Insects are often misunderstood and I look forward to educating people about which ones are potential pests versus beneficial, and improving their overall insect knowledge.”
“This feels like coming home to me,” said Harbach. “I feel so comfortable here and this is just such a supportive department and college. I really look forward to nurturing those connections and just being able to help people take care of their plants.”
Learn more about the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic and the services provided by visiting the PIDC website.