Alumni Highlight with Jared Rubinstein

March 25, 2021

Name: Jared Rubinstein
Degree: Applied Plant Sciences MS, 2018
Current Job: Associate Project Manager at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University

What does your typical week look like?
My work involves trying to improve the Arboretum’s horticultura, curatorial, and plant production practices. I get to spend a lot of time reviewing workflows, observing horticulturists and arborists on the grounds, reading up on new pest and disease management practices, and digging around our plant records database. I take everything I learn and try to figure out how to build new technologies, like mobile apps and dashboards, to make everyone’s jobs easier. 

What do you most enjoy about your position? 
I get to do a little bit of everything - IPM (integrated pest management), plant collection, data management, propagation, you name it. I get to immerse myself in many of the Arnold’s different operations to learn how they work. 

What made you choose Applied Plant Sciences?
I wanted to learn more about plant biology generally, but I knew that I wanted to approach it with a specific focus on growing and caring for plants. The APS program gave me exactly that!

How did your experiences in your graduate track help you in your career?
My assistantship as a graduate student involved managing the Horticulture Department’s Learning Garden. I got to practice being a public garden manager for three years. That was totally invaluable and gave me tons of hands-on experience I use now. 

What class or professor had the most significant impact on you?
Bill Peters, who taught the lab section of Plant Propagation, really set me on the course I’m on now. His enthusiasm and kindness made it impossible not to love growing and studying plants. 

What experience had the most significant impact on you?
My summers were really intense - managing the garden and the staff I’d hired at the same time as I was collecting data on my thesis project on the other side of campus. I learned how physical horticultural work is and how to juggle lots of different responsibilities at once. 

Any advice for future or current students? 
Horticulture isn’t only about growing food! Public gardens are so vital in educating the public about plants, climate, and the earth in general, and are the centers of so much exciting plant-based research. Consider public horticulture as you think about how you want to work with plants in your career.