Project Oversight Team


Rhiann Jakubowski

Research Aide II

Rhiann Jakubowski is a Research Aide at the Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Laboratory (CLEREL), where her main focus is in sensor technology and spatial data management.

A native of western New York, Rhiann received her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Sciences with a minor in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from the State University of New York at Fredonia. She began working at CLEREL in 2011 where she outlined, identified, and calculated statistics of the over 30,000 grape acres in the Lake Erie grape belt using ArcGIS technology in order to assist in characterizing grape growing factors of the region. She played a major role in extending this vineyard GIS information to local grape growers in the form of acreage, soil, and elevation maps. Currently, Rhiann is working with members of the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program to implement sensor technology and precision viticulture practices into growers’ operations with the use of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) canopy sensors, soil sensors, and yield monitors.

As part of the SCRI project, Rhiann will be collecting spatial data via vineyard sensors and cleaning, processing, and transforming the data into a user-friendly output that can then be used as a visual map aide or used for statistical analysis. The sensor data will be evaluated in order to improve vineyard management and production efficiency.


Andy Joy

Field Assistant III

Andy Joy is the Field Tech III Research assistant at CLEREL. He is responsible to provide technical and research support to LERGP research staff; participate in completing vineyard, farm, and facility operations with specific attention to station farm equipment, implements and vehicles; and coordinate pesticide use and reporting at CLEREL.

Andy is a native of Fredonia, New York and comes to us with a lifetime of experience. He currently runs 30+ acres of his own grapes as well as continuing to work with his parents on their family farm of over 100 acres. In addition to grape farming, he is familiar with various other crops and livestock. His farm boasts hogs, meat chickens, laying hens and a herd of more than 40 meat goats. Andy has earned an AS in Diesel Tech and a BT in Ag Engineering from SUNY Cobleskill.

In relation to Efficient Vineyard project, Andy will be responsible to work with researchers to help develop the equipment and to perform the variable rate techniques required in any trials performed at CLEREL.



Jackie Dresser

Research Technician

Jackie Dresser is a Research Technician at the Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Laboratory (CLEREL), responsible for coordination of spatial data collection, validation, and integration with viticultural research trials in the Lake Erie region.
After earning a Bachelor of Science in Land Surveying Engineering Technology from Alfred State College in 2012 to round out her 7 years of apprenticeship with a professional land surveying firm in Ithaca, NY, Jackie transitioned into the burgeoning wine industry in the Finger Lakes. Putting her background in measuring and mapping to work, Jackie developed a vineyard mapping program at an estate winery with guidance from the Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Laboratory. With process knowledge from experience facilitating wine’s journey from grape to bottle and from bottle to consumer, Jackie appreciates the positive impact that improved efficiency in the vineyard can have in a competitive and complex market.

While working on the Efficient Vineyard SCRI project, Jackie’s objectives are to refine crop estimation techniques integrating spatial data, evaluate responses to variable rate canopy and crop management, extend sensing technologies to new users and work with existing users to ensure that their spatial data is translated into meaningful viticultural information to help guide management decisions.


Kate Robinson

Project Manager

Kate Robinson is the Administrative Assistant for the CLEREL facility, serving both the Research and Extension departments.

She is originally from western Massachusetts, spent 5 years in Connecticut serving in the U.S. Navy, and then moved to western New York, where she earned a B.S. in Business Administration/ Management from SUNY Fredonia. She has worked at CLEREL for 7 years.

Kate’s responsibilities can be summed up by saying she does what it takes to ensure that the daily operation of the office is running smoothly and that all tasks are accomplished in a timely and efficient manner. She assists with the operation and implementation of research projects and Extension activities, organizes staff, events and meetings.

She will be instrumental to the grant by assisting with organization in planning and educational meetings and accomplishing many “behind the scenes” tasks.