Faculty Spotlight: Julie Peterson

Julie Peterson

About Julie

I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and completed my PhD in Entomology at the University of Kentucky in 2012. I started at UNL in March 2014.

 What is your position at the West Central Research, Extension and Education Center?

I am an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in field crops entomology. My lab pursues research and extension efforts addressing the ecology and management of insect pests with an emphasis on practical applications for integrated pest management in field crops. We have developed expertise focusing on a moth/caterpillar pest of corn called western bean cutworm.

 What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

I love to work with students, farmers, and other agricultural professionals to solve challenging problems. It’s also wonderful to welcome people from all over the world to come learn and work with our team in Nebraska. I grew up as the kid who loved to play outside with bugs, and that’s basically what I get to do now for a career!

 Who or what influences you the most?

Growing up with my dad and both grandfathers being very passionate about the outdoors and nature really fed my interest in nature, plants, insects, and all animals. When I figured out that I could make a career out of science and learning more about the natural world, while also providing practical improvements for agriculture, my family was incredibly supportive.

 What is your life like outside of work?

Many of you all know my husband Mike, who also has a background in Entomology and works for Nebraska Extension in Keith and Arthur Counties. I enjoy spending time with Mike and our 3.5 year old daughter. My favorite things are taking care of the garden, relaxing on our acreage near Hershey, caring for our pet rabbits, sampling our Kentucky bourbon collection, and bird watching along the canal. We are expecting our second kid in October!