Brianna Cerione (BS '19)
I began working with the United States Department of Agriculture - Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service - Plant Protection and Quarantine, during my senior year as a student trainee and will continue in this position for the rest of the year, with hope to eventually move up and become a permanent employee.
With the USDA, I help survey land throughout New Jersey, as far south as Pennsville and as far north as Phillipsburg, for the invasive Spotted lanternfly (SLF). This invasive pest relies on the invasive tree-of-heaven, Ailanthus altissima, for its survival. Both of these invasive species are native to Asian countries including China, India and Vietnam. SLF was first found in Berks County, PA several years ago and quickly spread throughout much of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and has recently been found in Maryland, Delaware, Ohio and Virginia. It is known to feed on a wide range of plants and has done considerable damage to many crops, including apple, blueberry, hops, grape, peaches and various other fruiting trees. In efforts to mitigate and eradicate this pest, we are treating the Ailanthus trees found in quarantined areas with insecticides and pesticides.
In this position so far, I've learned a great deal about invasive species control programs, entomology, botany and forestry. Before working for the USDA, I worked seasonal jobs with US Fish and Wildlife Service, Rutgers New Jersey Aquaculture Innovation Center and Rutgers Haskin Shellfish Research Lab. I also interned with the Chrysler Herbarium & Mycological Collection of Rutgers and was a part of the Rutgers Wildlife Society Chapter.