Rufus Akinrinlola was born and raised in Southwest Nigeria. While in his home country, he also received his undergraduate degree in microbiology. Before enrolling as a Ph.D. student within the Entomology and Plant Pathology Department (EPP), he attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) to receive his master’s in plant pathology. During his time at UNL, he studied under the supervision of Professor Gary Yuen and Dr. Tony Adesemove. Akinrinlola mentioned that under their leadership, he learned “to treat everyone like family” and to “always be available ad create time for mentees”.
Akinrinlola, a fourth-year Ph.D. student with a concentration in Sustainable Disease and Integrated Pest Management, has researched the answers to many questions related to his studies. His latest research question investigated which organic fungicide products can be effectively used to manage two diseases of hemp, leaf spot and powdery mildew, in Tennessee. When we spoke about accomplishments, he mentioned that answering this question, along with nine others, was one of his biggest successes. “I completed four different projects and provided answers to 10 research questions over the last three years during my Ph.D. program at UTK, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Each project was distinct and independent of the other, and I was able to complete them and wrote a dissertation that will be kept in the UTK graduate school research record.” Rufus would like to thank his advisors, Drs. Zachariah Hansen and Heather Kelly, for making this possible.
Along with completing multiple projects and attending meetings as a member of the American Phytopathological Society and Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society of Agriculture as a graduate student, he has also appeared as a guest on “Cannabis Cultivation & Science” to discuss his hemp research. If you would like to listen to the podcast, visit Episode 90: University Fungicide Trials on Powdery Mildew with Rufus A – KIS Organics. He has also been recognized for his crop protection research. “I won the Corteva DELTA Award in 2021, recognizing my accomplishments. This was also one of my proudest achievements” he stated.
As we wanted to learn more about Akinrinlola ‘s view on his academic training at the University of Tennessee, we asked him to share his thoughts. Here is what he had to say:
“My academic training at UTK has prepared me in a very broad area. I will briefly outline five areas below. First, I have developed skills and experiences in designing and executing experiments to answer research questions. Second, I have been trained in leadership. Through my Ph.D. programs, I have acquired greater skills in managing people and resources to achieve a set goal. Third, I have been trained in mentoring young scholars. I have mentored multiple students and research scholars during my Ph.D. program at UTK. Fourth, teaching and scientific communication. I have acquired skills and experiences in developing teaching lessons, online courses, and lecturing. I also acquired skills and experience in scientific writing and communications through the various publications and seminar presentation experiences I had. Finally, I have developed a very strong professional and scientific network through my working in partnership, collaboration, and team with multiple research scientists and professionals from diverse backgrounds.”
On April 7, 2022, Akinrinlola announced on his Twitter account, @roofusever, that he passed his Ph.D. defense. He will receive special recognition on May 20 for completing the graduate program. When asked what advice he wanted to share with a prospective student, Rufus answered:
“New students should enjoy doing their research. They should also take advantage of all available opportunities in the program. The EPP department’s Graduate Students Professional and Leadership Program provides a great opportunity to acquire great skills and experiences that will be helpful to students’ career paths.”
In Akinrinlola’s pastime, he loves to write and play outside with his wife and children. “I am married to my wife Rebecca, and we have three wonderful boys” he expressed. He also loves to bike, listen to good music, or attend church programs.
Rufus, congratulations on all of your accomplishments!