Ashley Yow and Perfecting the Pineapple

Ashley Yow in her home laboratory

Ashley Yow in her home laboratory

Ashley Yow, a Horticultural Science fruit plant breeding student, is known affectionately by her lab cohorts as “Ms. Pineapple.” She is respected for her eagerness to learn, organizational skills, and passion for her work.

Through her undergraduate, master’s, and now a doctoral career with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), Ashley has worked with a variety of fruit that North Carolina produces. Yow’s next genome project is a little more exotic. Her work on pineapples, conducted in collaboration with Dole Foods’ private breeding program, is unique. 

What contributions has Ashley made (or will she make) to NC State’s highly regarded plant breeding program?

The work will elevate Ashley’s understanding of the complex dynamics behind the design and implementation of genomic projects. She’ll also give attention to possible future applications of the project’s findings.

What has been your favorite memory at NC State and CALS?

When my best friend, Lauren Redpath, first came to the Ashrafi lab (where I did my master’s degree) and told me I was going to be her friend (and that I had no choice in the matter).

What has been your greatest achievement or accomplishment during your time at NC State and CALS?

Publishing my first scientific paper.

What impact do you hope to have in your chosen field?

I hope people will recognize me as someone who 1) does quality work and 2) has a variety of skills not often found in one individual.

What has your final year been like at NC State and CALS? How have you overcome recent challenges, whether it’s transitioning to online classes or the absence of campus life?

I haven’t been on the main campus since 2018, so it was already kind of difficult to remain connected to the department. I was missing the energy of campus in Raleigh, but I’ve actually done a really good job at transitioning to working from home. I really enjoy having so much control over my own schedule and being able to spend time with my dog every day.

What are you most grateful for from the university and CALS as you are about to earn your degree?

All the great people I’ve met in the Horticulture department and all the other departments in CALS. Most of my closest friends and the love of my life are from NC State CALS departments! I’ve been in NC State CALS since 2012 (from my BS in Plant Biology to my current PhD degree in Horticulture). Since I’ve been in my graduate career, I’ve unfortunately experienced a lot of loss in my family, but the supportive response from my friends and colleagues in CALS really helped me get through it. I don’t know where I’d be without the love and support I always feel from my people in NC State CALS!

What are your career plans post-graduation?

I’m pretty flexible on that. I’m hoping to get a job in RTP doing anything that sounds interesting. I would even do a postdoc position if I liked the sound of the project. I just want to do something I love. I have some companies in mind I would like to apply to, Pairwise being one.