As a kid growing up in the desert in Apple Valley, Calif., Dominic Reisig was fascinated by insects. That certainly turned out to be a good thing for farmers on the other side of the country.
Reisig has been a North Carolina State University Extension entomologist since August 2009. He graduated with a BA in biology from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego and completed his M.S. in Integrated Pest Management at the University of California Davis in 2005 and his Ph. D. in entomology from UC Davis in 2009.
“Little kids like bugs, and I was no exception. I found out you could do that for work, and I was sold. I didn’t know I necessarily wanted to work in ag, but I wanted to work with insects. It never wavered since I was five years old. I kept bees as a kid and thought I might want to be a commercial beekeeper,” Reisig says.
Reisig’s parents, his father an engineer at a limestone mine and his mother, a second-grade school teacher, encouraged their son to follow his passion. They advised him to get a diverse education which is why Reisig got his undergraduate degree in biology and then went on to graduate school in IPM and entomology at UC Davis.
“I didn’t think I would end up working at a university. I wanted to work for industry. A colleague, Hannah Burrack (also an Extension entomologist at North Carolina State who also graduated from UC Davis) called me and said this job is what you were trained to do. You should take a look at it, so I applied and here I am,” Reisig says.
North Carolina has been home for Reisig and his wife Rebecca for 12 years now. They live in Washington and have a daughter, Jocelyn, age eight, and a son, Graham, age five. Rebecca is trained as a nurse, but is a full-time mom now. Reisig works out of the Vernon James Research and Extension Center in Plymouth.
Reisig says he has no regrets leaving his native southern California, except distance from his wife’s family, who reside in northern California. His parents, both now retired, and his sister and her family also left the state, relocating to Idaho, a common occurrence for many in the Golden State.
For Reisig, North Carolina is now home, and he says he loves his job, which entails 70% Extension and 30% research. He says it is very rewarding to help farmers solve problems.
“When I get a call from a farmer and am able to help him solve a problem that will help him, I know I am doing exactly what I am meant to do,” Reisig says.