New Hire Announcement – Welcome, Dr. Eugene Law

Feb. 2, 2024
Smiling photo of Dr. Law with a light gray background.

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Eugene Law has joined HCS as a visiting scholar while he finishes up his time as a Postdoctoral Researcher with the University of Delaware Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and his role as a Visiting Scientist with the USDA-ARS Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory. In March 2024, he will move fully into his new role as an Assistant Professor of Weed Ecology with us here at The Ohio State University!

Department Chair, Dr. Doug Karcher, summed up our collective excitement best: “Dr. Law has an excellent, diverse set of skills that we are excited to implement in HCS. He has a strong background in higher education instruction, having taught introductory and advanced courses in various formats. His passion for teaching came through during his interview seminars. Our students will benefit from, and enjoy his approach of using experiential and inclusive learning in his courses. Dr. Law also has a breadth of scientific expertise that spans weed science, ecology, and precision technologies, which will be valuable as he develops novel integrated weed management strategies for Ohio famers.”

Dr. Law received his Ph.D. in Agronomy, Crop Science, and Agricultural Economics at Cornell University - his Dissertation focused on "Assessing the Sustainability of Intermediate Wheatgrass as a Perennial Grain and Forage Crop" (2021). Prior to pursuing his Ph.D., Dr. Law received his M.S. (Thesis: Effects of Site Preparation and Harvesting on the Restoration of Four Native Edible Plant Species to An Old Field Ecosystem) from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (2016). Additionally, he also received his B.S. (Environmental Resources Engineering, Environmental Biology) from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (2013).

Some core areas Dr. Law plans to focus on at Ohio State

  • Research
    • He shared that his "research focuses on precision integrated weed management, which I sum up using an anaphora similar to the 4Rs of nutrient management: weed management is most efficient and effective when you use the right tool (chemical, mechanical, biological, cultural, preventative), at the right intensity, the right time, and the right place".
  • Teaching
    • His first course, HCS 5422: Biology and Management of Weeds and Invasive Plants, is slated to begin Autumn 2024.
  • Extension
    • Not one to waste time, he stated "I’ve already started to build connections with farmers and other stakeholders by jumping into extension activities (literally day 1!), which will continue as I become more familiar with Ohio’s diverse agricultural landscape".

Wow, that's quite a broad range of high-impact responsibilities & we could not be happier to bring Dr. Law on board for this exciting task! Luckily, he had a minute to step out of the weeds & sit down with us to give us a brief glimpse into his thoughts...

What are you most looking forward to about this next step in your career?

The thing I’m looking forward to most as a faculty member is working with students. Whether that’s mentoring graduate students as they develop into research professionals, teaching undergraduate students about weed ecology and management, or helping coach the OSU Weed Science Team to (hopeful) victory, working with students has always been the most rewarding part of my academic career.

What are some of your initial plans for your 1st year with HCS?

Not in any order of priority:

  1. I look forward to getting to know everyone in HCS better, and meeting others in CFAES and the University more broadly.
  2. On the same note, I’ve already started to build connections with farmers and other stakeholders by jumping into extension activities (literally day 1!), which will continue as I become more familiar with Ohio’s diverse agricultural landscape.
  3. I am part of the search committee for a Specialty Crop Weed Science faculty hire, which is someone I expect to work with closely, so I’m motivated to make sure we find exceptional candidates.
  4. I am hoping to hire a technician and recruit one or more graduate students ASAP.
  5. I have a few research projects that I am bringing with me from my postdoc position that I will be carrying out this summer. 
  6. I will be teaching HCS 5422, Biology and Management of Weeds and Invasive Plants, starting with the Fall 2024 semester, and will need to dedicate a good amount of time preparing the course.

TL,DR: There’s so much to do as a new faculty member! All to be expected of course, currently taking it one step at a time!

What initially sparked your interest in weed ecology?

I first started thinking about plants as weeds when I was interviewing for the graduate program at Cornell before starting my PhD. I was explaining my MS work on restoration of native plant species to Dr. Toni DiTommaso, a weed ecologist who ended up co-chairing my PhD committee, when he asked, “You know all these plants you’re trying to restore are weeds, right?”. This led to a great conversation about “weedy” plant traits and when people might consider a plant to be a weed, and ultimately my acceptance into Cornell, and my career in weed science.

What have been a few highlights of your career so far?

Joining HCS is definitely a highlight! I’ve wanted to be a professor since I was in my MS program and realized that it’s possible to have a career that combines teaching and research, both of which I really enjoy. Other than that, I consider my greatest career accomplishment to be my induction into the Cornell University chapter of the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society, which recognizes excellence of character, leadership, advocacy, scholarship, and service, particularly as they relate to advancing diversity, equity, access, and inclusion within higher education.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

I love to explore new places, either locally or when traveling and usually while spending time with family and friends, and that occupies most of my time when not working. My hobbies include reading, playing games of all sorts, visiting libraries and museums, hiking, backpacking, kayaking, yoga, and weightlifting.

Dr. Law also shared "Throughout this whole process I have been so grateful for the friendly, welcoming atmosphere in HCS. I am so grateful to everyone that has reached out to welcome me and offer support through this transition. The energy and enthusiasm in the department is exceptional and I am very excited to be a part of the team!" We’re just as delighted to have Dr. Law join our team and hope you'll join us in welcoming him!

You can keep up with Dr. Law on X @AgSystemScience