Sharon Benes

Benes named Boswell chair in plant science department 

(October 5, 2018) – Fresno State plant science faculty Dr. Sharon Benes has been named the second recipient of the James G. Boswell Foundation endowed chair position in the plant science department.

Benes teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in soils, crop and plant nutrition and joined the department in 1988. She has served as the plant science graduate program coordinator since 2004 and has been a fully tenured professor since 2009.

She has extensive teaching and research experience relating to crop, soil and water agricultural relations, including a specific focus in salinity, trace elements, water quality and reuse systems in the San Joaquin Valley West Side.

Her most recent research publication focused on alfafa growth response in saline soil and marginal water quality in arid climates.

She received the Jordan College’s Outstanding Research and Scholarly Activity Award in 2001.

She also served as the president of the American Society of Agronomy state chapter in 2017, and was a member of the executive board member since 2014, and a governing board member from 2000 to 2003 and 2008 to 2010. She also served on the advisory board of the California Certified Crop Advisors (CCA) organization.

She is also one of the College’s most active faculty in international academic exchanges, and has helped incorporate 25 Brazilian agriculture students from the University of Sao Paulo into campus research. She also traveled to Zaragoza Spain to serve as a visiting researcher from 1993 to 1995 at the Center Agronomic Research Soils and Irrigation Department.

She received a bachelor’s degree in botany from the University of New Hampshire in 1982, master’s degree in plant pathology from North Carolina State in 1984, and doctoral degree in plant pathology from UC Davis in 1995.

Dr. Bruce Roberts served as Fresno State’s prior J.G. Boswell chair recipient before he retired in 2017.

A 1975 graduate of Fresno State graduate with a degree in agronomy and soils, he compiled 20 years of extension experience in applied research and adult education programs as a UC West Side Research and Extension advisory committee chair and other state agronomy and soil associations officer positions.