Meet Amaya Atucha, campus’ new fruit crop specialist

Atucha2014Amaya Atucha joined the UW this past November as a CALS assistant professor in the Department of Horticulture and a UW-Extension fruit crop specialist.

Briefly describe your career path—up to this point.
I’m originally from Chile, and did my undergraduate studies in horticulture at Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso. I have always been interested in fruit production, and my family has an avocado orchard in central Chile. I received a Ph.D. from Cornell University, where I focused on studying soil management systems looking at water quality, erosion and runoff from hillside avocado orchards. After graduating I accepted a position as an assistant professor at Colorado State University, where I worked for two years in peach production systems.

What is the main focus of your research program?
My research focuses on fruit crop physiology and production with and emphasis on soil and nutrient management, root dynamics, and cold hardiness of fruit trees and grapes.

What drew you to UW-Madison?
UW-Madison is one of the top research institutions in the country, and there are endless possibilities to do all types of research and collaborate with so many great scientists on campus. I was also very excited about the possibility of working with a wide variety of fruit crops such as cranberries, grapes, berries and others.

What do you like to do outside of work?
I love spending time with my family; I have two little boys that keep me busy and entertained. We really enjoy going out for walks and playing at the parks, and we are looking forward to discover more of what Madison has to offer.