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Meet Dr. Yeshi Wamishe, Extension Rice Pathologist
Author: Kim Rowe, Program Associate

The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service would like to welcome Dr. Yeshi Wamishe as our new Extension Plant Pathologist/Assistant Professor at the Rice Research and Extension Center in Stuttgart.  Dr. Wamishe brings a strong background in agriculture and education to this position.

Dr. Yeshi Wamishe

Dr. Yeshi Wamishe

One of many children, Yeshi Wamishe was born and raised in a small town in the Ethiopian province of Arsi.  Yeshi’s life started humbly, picking weeds from wheat, barley, pea, bean, and flax farms and tending to sheep and cattle.  For girls especially, in her native country, education was not often an option, but through steadfast work and determination, she pursued a Bachelor of Science in Biology while simultaneously teaching biology and chemistry in high schools and then began teaching at the then Alemaya College, a junior agricultural college, upon graduation.  She then turned her focus to pursuing a Master of Science in Botany, completing a thesis in plant pathology, and afterward, she received eight months of training in wheat breeding and pathology at the CIMMYT, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, which spurred her interest in research. Yeshi then came to the U.S. in August of 1998 to pursue new opportunities and education.  She earned  her Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of Arkansas in 2002.  Under the advising of Dr. Gene Milus, Yeshi completed her dissertation, Resistance to leaf rust in soft red winter wheat. Her work with Dr. Milus resulted in the identification of the most probable genes that may be present in contemporary lines of winter wheat for leaf rust resistance, which are believed to be the most useful to wheat breeders and farmers.

Yeshi’s upbringing in rural Ethiopia developed her passion for agriculture and for education, resulting in her producing many top-quality students and professionals, and her recipe for success which consists of “determination, persistence, hard work, and genuine heart” continues to be her driving force as she enters her latest endeavor as Extension Plant Pathologist.  When asked what inspired her to enter into a career with the Cooperative Extension Service, she explains, “Largely, it is my passion for agriculture in general. I have always liked to work in the areas where I can make an impact. That was what I liked with teaching. Seeing student success brought satisfaction to me. When it comes to agriculture, I studied conventional plant pathology so that I can be of help to the farmers where ever I live. Extension Plant Pathology will involve me in teaching since training is one of its components. Above all, crop production concerns me a lot, and I also would see the impact of my role in helping producers through extension.”

Outside of work, Yeshi enjoys family life with her dedicated and successful husband and three sons.  She has spent much of her life rigorously devoted to her passion for educating others and her own education and professional improvement, and it is the simple things that many of us take for granted, such as reading a novel or cooking a special meal for her family, that bring her the most pleasure.  Yeshi also enjoys attending church and songwriting in the Ethiopian language and sometimes singing to her family and friends, a passion she discovered in her teen years.  Undoubtedly, Yeshi’s expertise and extraordinary work ethic are a welcome addition to our plant pathology team, and she will be a valuable asset to the rice farmers of the state.  To contact Dr. Yeshi Wamishe, send email correspondence to or phone her at 870-673-2661.


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