Streaming Strawberries

Welcome to the sweetest electronic field trip (EFT) to date! In this trip, students and club members connected to the University of Florida / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Gulf Coast Research and Education Center (GCREC). Students learned how scientists help healthy, nutritious strawberries reach their plates and Florida’s strawberry growers produce delicious, disease-free crops year after year. We also broke down how the scientists utilize robots in their research. Dr. StrawBorg guided the tours!



The UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center was originally focused on tomato research. It has since evolved to encompass research for over 20 scientists who specialize in research that produces solutions for Florida’s producers. Commodity interests include strawberries, cucumbers, squash, caladiums, blackberries, and blueberries.



Dr. Natalia Peres

Dr. Natalia Peres is a Professor of Plant Pathology at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center. Her research program focuses on diseases that affect Florida’s strawberry production. As an extension specialist, she collaborates with Florida’s strawberry growers to develop realistic management protocols. Dr. Peres and her team also manage a plant pathology lab that helps producers identify what diseases are affecting their crops.


Galvin Alonzo Ortiz

Galvin is a 4th year Ph.D. student at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center. He is from the Dominican Republic and has been involved in agriculture since high school. Galvin graduated with a bachelors in Agronomic Engineering from Zamorano University, Honduras. His research focuses are chemical management of charcoal rot of strawberry and Neopestalotiopsis inoculum. 


Lis Porto

Lis Porto is a Ph.D. student at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center. She obtained her master’s in horticultural science from the University of Florida. Her research focuses on exploring the phenotypic diversity of Neopestalotiopsis spp.


Carolina Rebello

Carolina Rebello is a Biological Scientist at the Strawberry Pathology Lab at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center. She completed her master’s under Dr. Peres’s expertise. Her main roles are conducting and managing projects in applied research under laboratory, field, greenhouse and controlled environments focused on chemical control of strawberry pathogens.   


Adrian Zuniga

Adrian Zuniga is currently a Post-doctoral Research Associate in the Strawberry Pathology Program at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center. He recently finished his Ph.D. in Plant Pathology under Dr. Peres. Part of his research focuses on the study of fungicide resistance of Botrytis cinerea to different chemical groups.


Marcus Marin

Dr. Marcus Marin is a Research Assistant Scientist at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center’s Plant Diagnostic Clinic. His work currently concentrates on the development and implementation of novel techniques for plant disease diagnosis and translating the new findings into updated management recommendations for ornamentals and small fruit production.


Teresa Seijo

Teresa Seijo earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in microbiology from the University of South Florida. She is currently a Biological Scientists III at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center. As co-lab manager, she oversees cultivar trials for common strawberry diseases and works as a diagnostician in the plant diagnostic clinic.



This EFT was geared towards students in seventh to tenth grade, but all classrooms and groups are welcome to watch the recordings. We offered the EFTs on two days, each with a different topic.

October 26th at 2 p.m. EST:

Students met with scientists, learned about plant pathology, and discussed fungal diseases found commonly in strawberries. Agricultural technology, including the use of robots, was also be covered.

October 26th at 5 p.m. EST:

November 16th at 2 p.m. EST:

Students learned about the life cycle of a strawberry, strawberry anatomy, field experiment trials, and more. They will also met more scientists.

November 16th at 5 p.m. EST:


View the Teacher’s Guide here:


  • Human-Computer Interactions and AI: Describe ways in which computers use models of intelligent behavior (e.g., robot motion, speech and language understanding, and computer vision).
    • SC.68.CS-CS.6.4
  • Scientific Method: Use scientific method to produce products or solutions to problems in a research setting and in a non-research setting.
    • G.K12.3.1.2d
  • Organization & Development of Living Organisms: Discuss the relationship between the evolution of land plants and their anatomy.
    • SC.912.L.14.10
  • AEST Agricultural Biotechnology Certification
    • Standard 14: Conduct scientific laboratory safety.
    • Standard 13: Identify the historical, social, cultural and potential applications of biotechnology.
    • Standard 26: Demonstrate leadership, employability, communication and human relation skills.

Learning Objectives:

  • Explain the processes used to identify plant diseases
  • Describe job opportunities related to plant science
  • Discuss technologies utilized by the plant science industry
  • Illustrate the life cycle of a strawberry


October 26th 2 p.m. Recording:

October 26th 5 p.m. Recording:

The Streaming Science EFTs are created and directed by the graduate students enrolled in the enrolled in the AEC 5541: Instructional and Communication Technologies in Agriculture and Natural Resources course. This project-based learning course taught by Dr. Jamie Loizzo, connects students with subject-matter experts for a collaborative communication project.


Dr. Jamie Loizzo

Associate Professor

UF/IFAS Department of Agricultural Education and Communication

To learn more about Dr. Loizzo, click here.


Gabriel Spandau

Teaching Assistant

Ph.D. Student in Agricultural and Natural Resources Communication


Graduate Students:

Ph.D. Students in Agricultural and Natural Resources Communication

Kyleigh Hilburn

Stephanie Stoutamire*

M.S. Students in Agricultural and Natural Resources Communication

Jessica Czipulis

Bethany Gaffey

Shannon Kehoe

Caitlynne Youmans

Cesar Zamora*

* : not pictured

The Streaming Strawberries EFT is presented in partnership with the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and the UF/IFAS Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.

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