Cal Poly soil science alumna Jennifer Ryder Fox has been appointed to head the university's Horticulture and Crop Science Department.

Fox comes to Cal Poly after serving as vice president of regulatory affairs and technical development at AgraQuest Inc. in Davis. The firm is a biopesticide company that discovers and develops crop protection products from microbial fermentation processes for use on many high-value fruit and vegetable crops grown in California and across the nation.

“Jennifer's acceptance of our offer is a major step forward for Cal Poly,” said Cal Poly College of Agriculture Dean David Wehner. “She has a proven record of excellence in California's agriculture industry and an entrepreneurial reputation for looking ‘outside the box.’”

Fox's appointment began Sept. 10.

The new Horticulture and Crop Science Department leader earned a master's degree in 1980 at New Mexico State University, where she also completed her doctorate in 1989. She earned a B.S. degree in soil science from Cal Poly in 1978 and has worked for FMC Corp. and the Western Crop Protection Association.