Julie Lauren was born to parents Donna and Howard on Oct. 10, 1956 and raised in Salinas, California. She developed her lifelong love for travel and exploration through many summer camping trips that the family took throughout the USA, Canada and Europe before her father's death when she was 11 years old. Julie was educated at Salinas and Carmel High Schools, then did a BS degree in Geology at Smith College, which was a special place for her, and MS and PhD degrees in Soil Science at Cornell University. Her PhD research was undertaken in New Delhi and Coimbatore, India. She then embarked on a research career at Cornell focused on building capacity within developing countries to increase agricultural productivity in sustainable ways, with the ultimate goals of improving the livelihoods and nutrition of small-holder farmers. Most of these activities were carried out in Bangladesh, Nepal and Kenya, with some in India, Pakistan and Uganda. They involved collaborations with John Duxbury (also her long-term domestic partner), other colleagues at Cornell, overseas universities and research institutes, and national and international development organizations. Notable achievements were the widespread impacts that liming of acid soils and production of healthy seedlings through solarization of seedbeds, both simple low-cost technologies, had on crop production and farmers lives in Bangladesh and Nepal.
Julie had a great respect for learning and helped train scientists and graduate students across the world which led to many lasting friendships. In the final three years of her life she switched her emphasis from research and development to teaching in several crop science and international agriculture courses at Cornell. She greatly enjoyed the broader interactions that this brought with students and faculty.
Julie loved reading, singing with VOICES multicultural choir, living in an old schoolhouse, the PBS, and experiencing wines with friends. She was a strong believer in equal rights, opportunity and justice for all, as well a healthy environment and the need to address climate change. She valued the ideals of our country and continuously strove to be a responsible citizen. She liked discussing politics but was frustrated by the lack of sincerity and poor vision displayed by too many politicians.
Julie was predeceased by her parents, siblings Linda and Pierre, and nephew Marc. She is survived by nieces Michelle and Nicalosa, and partner John. She faced a series of severe health issues in the last six months of her life with strength, determination and a willing smile. Sadly, complications from the genetic disorder Marfans Syndrome ended her life on August 8, 2020. A celebration of Julie's life will be held after the current pandemic subsides.