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The majority of a student's time in graduate school will be spent on a specific research project from a wide range of topics available for graduate student research. The specific topic is chosen in conjunction with the major professor and the graduate's special committee after enrollment.

The range of possibilities for graduate research projects can be obtained by reviewing the research interests listed for the faculty, as well as from the following thesis titles of research projects carried out by previous graduate students in recent years. The exact nature of the research topic is usually decided in consultation with the thesis advisor and advice from minor members of the research committee, some weeks or months after the student has enrolled. Factors affecting the decision will include interests and talents of the student; interest and areas of expertise of the major professor; importance of the topic to science and agriculture; existing published literature in the area; availability of facilities and resources to carry out the research; and feasibility of making a substantial contribution. Also, graduate research assistants will ordinarily be expected to engage in an area of research consistent with the objectives of the project that provides the assistantship.  

View theses online.

Recent theses and dissertations:


  • Kolech, Semagn Asredie, PhD, Potato (Solanum tubersum L.) variety diversity, attributes and farmers' needs in Ethiopia View Kolech's seminar video
  • Panke-Buisse, Kevin Wayne, PhD, Functional rhizosphere microbiomes and effects on plant-host growth, development, and abiotic stress tolerance 
  • Sekar, Sathish Kumar, MS, Efficacy of salinity mitigation on warm season turfgrass 


  • Bhaskar, Vinay, MS, Performance and management of inter-seeded cover crops in a tropical semi-arid cropping system and impact on cotton yield and weed suppression
  • Doerflinger, Franziska Clara, PhD, Starch metabolism in apple fruit and its relationship with maturation and ripening
  • Dominguez, Leonel I., MS, Strategies to improve growth and yield in the early life of a tall spindle apple planting
  • Lee, Judy, MS, Greenhouse production of potted Ornithogalum
  • Karl, Adam Duerr, MS, Impact of under-vine management in a Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc vineyard
  • Paya, Alex Martin, PhD, Neighboring species identity affects the belowground growth and physiology of trees
  • Wilson, Hiromi Tasaki, PhD, Gelatin, a biostimulant seed treatment and its impact on plant growth, abiotic stress, and gene regulation 


  • Bai, Yang, PhD, Identification and characterization of the major gene Ma and its associated co-expression gene networks regulating apple fruit acidity
  • Filios, Polyxeni M., MS, Postproduction studies of a sprayable formulation of 1-methylcyclopropene in bedding plants
  • Jordan, Lindsay M., MS, Evaluating the effects of using annually established under-vine cover crops in Northeastern Riesling vineyards 
  • Kreuser, William C., PhD, A novel horticultural oil, Civitas(TM), alters turfgrass growth and physiology
  • Pagay, Vinay V., PhD, Physiological responses of grapevine shoots to water stress and the development of a microtensiometer to continuously measure water potential 
  • Sherpa, Sonam R., MS, Sampling optimization for soil carbon assessment in a complex agroecosystem of the northeastern United States
  • Thompson, Grant L., MS, Applying biodiversity and ecosystem functioning theory to urban grassland management 
  • Villarino Pizarro, Gonzalo H., PhD, Transcriptomic analysis of petunia hybrida in response to salt stress


  • Emmett, Bryan, MS, Root heterogeneity and replant disease development on the fine root system of apple
  • Hulick, Sarah E., MS, Pumpkin production systems : understanding supplemental nitrogen needs and increasing profitability through black plastic mulch and transplants
  • Johnson, Anne B., MS, Working toward a micropropagation technique for North American white oaks 
  • Sobel, Bryan D., MS, Gourmet mushroom production systems: practitioner decisions' effect on yield, select bio-active compounds, and enterprise viability 
  • Tata, Suiyigheh J., PhD, Petal drop in sunflowers : varietal differences and possible remedies 


  • Atucha, Amaya F., PhD, Groundcover management systems: Comparisons in apple and avocado orchards View Atucha's seminar video. 
  • Bosco, Samuel F., MS, Soil carbon variability and assessment in a corn cropping system in the United States and in Zambia 
  • Cowett, Frederick D., PhD, Modeling Street Trees on a statewide basis in New York State View seminar video.
  • He, Yonghua, PhD, Structural polymers and molecular pathways that influence tomato fruit integrity and surface quality traits 
  • Ma, Fangfang, PhD, Carbon and nitrogen metabolism in transgenic apple leaves with decreased sorbitol synthesis 
  • Miles, Edward J., MS, Living mulch: Its use in reducing Phytophthora blight damage to bell pepper, suppressing weeds, and the effectiveness of using two-species mixtures vs. monoculture 
  • Preszler, Trent L., PhD, Crop load adjustment in Vitis Vinifera L. CV. Riesling 
  • St.Clair, Karen, MPS, Learning activities for exploring forested ecosystems: A project of discovery 
  • Suazo Jimenez, Gerardo J., PhD, Pathological studies of fusarium oxysporum (Schlecht.) F. SP. Tulpaie apt. in tulip (Tulipa gesnerina L.) bulbs after harvest 
  • Stuber, Stephanie, MPS, The secret lives of mosses: A comprehensive guide for gardens 
  • Yang, Xiaohua, PhD, Controlled hybridization with an apple breeding selection of reduced scion vigor and the study of the tree architecture of its offspring


  • Berkey, Tyler G., MPS, The effect of cluster thinning and shoot thinning on yield components, fruit composition, and wine quality of seyval blanc  
  • Bulkeley, Kelly A., MS, Examining bud origin in Saintpaulia floral chimeras: Increasing axillary bud production using exogenous cytokinins, and effecting histogenic layer separation through adventitious bud generation to establish periclinal chimerism  
  • Carter, Casandra M., MS, An evaluation of the adoption of good agricultural practices and food safety practices among small-scale cape gooseberry (physalis peruviana) farmers in Boyaca, Colombia  
  • Cerveny, Christopher B., PhD, Postharvest storage and handling of Ranunculus asiaticus dried tuberous roots
  • Deewatthanawong, Rujira, PhD, Gaba metabolism in postharvest stress responses  
  • Gao, Xian, MS, New oaks for the urban environment: Propagation and selection of hybrid oaks  
  • Jungels, Jeremy, MPS, Visitor attitudes and aesthetic reactions to green, or living, roofs in the northeastern United States  
  • Kennedy, Rachel, MPS, Giving meaning to sustainability in public gardens  
  • Lee, Jinwook, PhD, Metabolic alteration in 1-mcp treated 'Empire' apples during storage  
  • Meyers, James M., PhD, Computational canopy models for precision measurement and adaptive management of grapevine performance  
  • Miller, Chad T., PhD, Nutritional and physiological studies of Oxalis regnellii  
  • Moody, David R., PhD, The effect of potassium fertilization on psychrophilic pathogen susceptibility and carbon metabolism of annual bluegrass  
  • Rostampour, Sara, MS, A conservation tillage system for organic vegetables  
  • Scheiner, Justin J., PhD, Evaluation of viticultural impacts on 3-isobutyl-2-methoxypyrazine concentration in Vitis vinifera L. cv. Cabernet franc  
  • Tay, Justine H., MPS, Public garden design: Perspectives from the field  
  • Villarino Pizarro, Gonzalo H., MS, Salt tolerance in floriculture species: Characterization of salf tolerance and the cloning of a novel petunia gene involved in the trehalose sugar biosynthesis (Trehalose-6-Phosphate Synthase I) and evaluating its potential role as a stress osmolyte in mutant yeasts.    


  • Adams, Richard R., MS, Increasing the rooting in apple rootstock stoolbeds  
  • Burke, Andrea E., PhD, Quantifying flesh browning, polyphenoloxidase, total phenolic content and vitamin C in select apple varieties and progeny  
  • Curtis, Deanna F., MS, Species and transplant size influence post-transplant survival, growth and root regeneration of three oak species  
  • Evans, Glenn J., PhD, Novel weed management: Design, construction, and evaluation of two inter-row cultivation tools, and the integration of vinegar for intra-row weed control View Evans's seminar video  | More Evans videos.
  • Grace, Jeanne E., MS, An evaluation of local isolates of Hericium americanum for use in mushroom production  
  • Leinfelder, Michelle M., PhD, Orchard soil health protocols: Evaluation and economic impacts  View Leinfelder's seminar video
  • Marteal, Erin N., MPS, Reaching out to schools: Lessons learned through four U.S. public gardens  View Marteal's seminar video
  • Mastouri, Fatemeh, PhD, Use of trichoderma spp. To improve plant performance under abiotic stresses  
  • Slavens, Mark, PhD, The hydrological fate of nutrients and pesticides in the urban landscape in response to management and lawn species  
  • Thomas, Jennifer N., MPS, Identifying Rhododendrons tolerant of alkaline soil: Is iron the limiting nutrient in high pH soils?  
  • Van Zyl, Christiaan B., MS, Using annual summer cover crops to manage nitrogen fixation and weed suppression in agro-ecosystems  
  • Wasonga, Charles J., PhD, Combining common bean rust resistance and heat tolerance in snap beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) for eastern Africa  
  • Westbrook, Jessica A., PhD, A translational approach to the analysis and manipulation of mitotic and post-mitotic senescence for the horticultural and agronomic improvements of tomato and soybean


  • Cogger, Matthew T., MS, Impact of conservation tillage practices on weed management, soil properties, and sweet corn and dry bean yield and quality
  • Greyvenstein, Ockert Frederick C., MS, Studies on the in vitro culture and height control of ornamental plectranthus  
  • Harbut, Rebecca M., PhD, Photoassimilation and partitioning of lower-ploidy Fragaria (strawberry) species and derived germplams  
  • Landsman, Jonathan, MPS, The quiet mission: Raising awareness of conservation work at public gardens through citizen science programs
  • Liu, Yang, PhD, Development and utilization of genomic tools to identify candidate genes for melon (cucumis melo) fruit quality
  • Lopez-Cuevas, Sergio, PhD, Effect of ground and foliar fertilization, irrigation, and cropload on yield and fruit quality at harvest and after cold storage of 'honeycrisp' apple
  • Markus, Brent J., MS, Influence of container size, insulation, moisture content, and medium type on root-zone temperatures
  • Peck, Gregory M., PhD, Integrated and organic production of 'Liberty' apple: Two agroecosystems from the ground up
  • Portmess, Robert, P|MPS, Turf management guide for reduced chemical inputs on New York State parks and recreation golf courses
  • Pullman, Marcie R., MS, Conifer PM2.5 deposition and re-suspension in wind and rain events
  • Razafimbelo, Fanjaniaina, PhD, Effects on 1-methylcyclopropene on antioxidant status and external carbon dioxide injury of 'Empire' apples
  • Rugkong, Adirek, PhD, Effects of chilling on tomato fruit ripening
  • Schipanski, Meagan E., Nitrogen cycling in agroecosystems: The effects of soil fertility and plant species interactions on legume nitrogen fixation  
  • Sifton, Melanie A., MPS, Are all gardens Green? Sustainable landscape design and maintenance practices in North American public gardens


  • Arquiza, Amihan, PhD, Increasing productivity through regulation of leaf senescence and bud initiation of herbaceous Paeonia and Astilbe
  • Baltazar Bernal, Obdulia, PhD, Postharvest handling and carbohydrate partitioning during growth and cold storage in herbaceous perennials
  • Barnes, Michael C., MPS, Historic garden survival: Strategically investing in people, money, site, and organizational partnership
  • Blohm, Jessica A., MPS, Interpretive planning at public gardens
  • Charles, Kevin, MS, An investigation of the evidence for the intensification of plant cultivation and irrigation use: The neolithic and Egypt
  • Douglass, Cameron H., MS, The roles of allelopathy, morphology and genetic diversity in the invasion of swallow-wort species in New York State
  • Gallagher, Emily J., MS, Characterizing the shade tolerance of 'Illini Hardy' blackberry for temperate agroforest production
  • Haffner, Edward C., MS, Porous asphalt and turf: Exploring new applications through hydrological characterizations of CU structural soil and Carolinastalite structural soil
  • Keryk, Kristen A., MPS, Virtual labs: Lab exercises for physiology of vegetables and flowers
  • Kumar, Virender, PhD, Effects of summer annual cover crops on weed population dynamics
  • Manion, John T., MPS, An analysis of preferred plant nomenclatural references and name change protocols used by public gardens in the United States and Canada
  • Osborne, Jason L., MS, Chemical peach blossom thinning to reduce crop load and improve crop value
  • Pagay, Vinay, MS, Enhancing and synchronizing ripening in grape (vitis spp.)
  • Pinsker, Miriam, MPS, The impact of special events at public gardens: Is bigger better?
  • Rae, Cameron S. H., MPS, The "greening" of golf in the United States of America: Culture, economics, and environment.
  • Rich, Justin W., MS, Winter nitrogen cycling in agroecosystems as affected by snow cover and cover crops
  • Spada, Piero, MS, The effect of timing and intensity of shading on flavonoid composition in DE Chaunac (vitis sp.) grapes


  • Amissah, Jacqueline N., Ph.D, Effects on juvenility and etiolation on clonal propagation of quercus species
  • Barney, Jacob N., PhD, Processes and patterns underlying biological invasions: State factors, historic phytogegraphy, and evolution
  • Beil, Ruby S., Ph.D, PM 2.5 Deposition and Re-suspension on Leaf Surfaces
  • Dosmann, Michael S., PhD, Ecophysiology of coastal koelreuteria paniculata
  • Duclos, Denise V., PhD, Meristem identity genes and gibberellins in the control of the reproductive development in brassica oleracea
  • Evans, Glenn J., MS, The potential use of natural product herbicides for organic weed control
  • Lee, Jin Wook, MS, The effect of environmental and genotypic factors on ginsenosides and plant grown of American ginseng
  • Maul, Jude E., PhD, the effects of plant traits on soil ecology and biogeochemistry in agroecosystems
  • Ponce Valadez, Monica, Ph.D, Gene expression and metabolic responses of two strawberry cultivars to elevated carbon dioxide during storage
  • Rich, Debra L., Ph.D, Effects on exposure to nature and plants on cognition and mood: A cognitive psychology perspective
  • Snyder, Stephen, MPS, Progress in assessing calcium oxalate as a deer deterrent
  • Soldat, Douglas J., PhD, The contribution of soil phosphorus to phosphorus in runoff from turfgrass


  • Calabro-Voss, Sarada, MPS, Landscape design for pre-school aged children: a sensory playscape for the university cooperative nursery school in Ithaca, NY
  • Easton, Zachary, PhD, Landscape impact on suburban runoff: Determining nutrient loading rates based on land use
  • El-Rakshy, Sami, PhD, Functional analysis of tomato light signal transduction genes lecop10 and lecop11
  • Fitzpatrick, John, PhD, Cultivating and preserving American wild flowers, 1890-1965
  • Goldschmied, Pablo, PhD, Improvement of onion traits: the creation of botrytis leaf blight resistant and synthetic onion varieties through alternate breeding approaches
  • Guo, Yongfeng, PhD, Transcriptional regulation of plant senescence
  • Halverson, Anna, MPS, Field of dreams: A grass-roots approach to starting a children's garden
  • Kadzere, Irene, PhD, Pre- and post- harvest factors influencing the quality of uapaca kirkiana fruit
  • Kollman, Elizabeth L., MS, Interspecific hybridization toward the development of a cold-hardy, white-flowering alstroemeria
  • Liou, Susan, PhD, Physiological responses of tulip bulbs to heat and ethylene stress
  • Reidel, Edwin, PhD, Minor vein morphology and sugar transport physiology in apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) leaves
  • Shagensky, Jennifer Allaire, MS, Ornamental groundcovers for use in the home landscape: comparative evaluation of weed suppressive ability and consumer preference
  • Speck, Matthew, MPS, Trends in golf management practices in the northeast United States
  • Woods, Micah, PhD, Nonacid cation bioavailability in sand rootzones


  • Acuna-Maldonado, Laura, PhD, Carbon and nitrogen reserve status and partitioning affect growth and yield in the perennial strawberry (fragaria x ananassa duch.)
  • Bertin, Cecile, PhD, Allelopathic potential of fine leaf fescue: Isolation, identification, and elucidation of the mode of action of a key phytotoxin
  • Blackburn, James, MPS, Recommended deciduous woody groundcovers for municipal landscapes and urban gardens: Site assessment, site preparation, plant selection, installation, and maintenance
  • Boyden, Laurie, PhD, Allelism of root-knot nematode resistance and genetics of leaf traits in grape rootstocks
  • Brown, Michael, MPS, Design and implementation of a subsurface water observatory in an apple orchard in upstate New York
  • Calderon-Zavala, Guillermo, PhD, Temperature effects on fruit and vegetative growth, carbon dioxide exchange and dry matter partitioning in the apple tree
  • Demiroz, Zeynep, MPS, The application of new urbanist communities in Istanbul – Turkey; A success or a failure?
  • Enders, Akio, MPS, Comparative Evapotranspiration of simulated green roof plantings under controlled environmental conditions
  • Evans, Jennifer, MPS, Interpretive exhibit design in public gardens: Theory and practice
  • Legnani, Garry, PhD, Storage of Asiatic hybrid lily bulbs in low oxygen controlled atmospheres: physiological responses and implications for dry-sale packaging
  • Leinfelder, Michelle, MS, Management strategies for apple replant disease
  • Miller, Chad, MS, Physiological studies of achimenes
  • Mochizuki, Maren, MS, The transition to conservation tillage: Overcoming soil temperature and compaction limitations on cabbage growth and yield
  • Montgomery, Jill, MS, Evaluation of solid artificial media for lettuce seedling growth and anchorage
  • Yao, Shengrui, PhD, Soil microbial community analyses and root observations in apple replant and various groundcover management systems


  • Gao, Yanxin, PhD, Resistance to verticillium wilt (verticillium dahliae kleb.) in solanum species related to eggplant (s. melongena)
  • Giggey, Joanne, MPS, Food education and production at public gardens in the United States.
  • Han, Jae Hong, PhD, The suppression of phytophthora cinnamomi on rhododendron x pjm 'elite' by composts incorporated into container growing media
  • Maguire, Eoin, MPS, Transplanting success of balled and burlapped and bare root scarlet oak in fall and spring.
  • Mayer, Allison, MPS, Herbaceous perennials from the test plots at bluegrass lane: A web site
  • Ogutu, Rose, MS, Tailoring lachenalia aloides as a pot plant
  • Rauch, Bradley, MS, Reduced rates of fomesafen have decreased carry-over potential in sweet corn
  • Seigies, Ann, MS, Overcoming strawberry replant disorder through diversified rotations
  • Swaciak, David, MPS, Community forestry master planning for rural villages using handheld computers to conduct street tree inventories
  • Warsowe, Julie, MPS, Certificate program evaluation at public gardens
  • Zhang, Jenny, PhD, Effects of elevated carbon dioxide on fruit quality, ethanol fermentation and gene expression of strawberry fruit


  • Amissah, Naalamle, MS, Clonal propagation of Quercus sp. using a container layering technique
  • Barney, Jacob, MS, Characterization of alleloopathic and invasive potential of mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris L.)
  • Easton, Zachary, MS, Nutrient and pesticide loss in runoff and leachate from turfgrass
  • Katzman, Leslie, PhD, Influence of plant age, inoculum dosage, and nutrient solution temperature on the development of pythium aphanidermatum in hydroponic spinach (spinacia oleracea L.) production systems
  • Koester, Kurt, MPS, A greenhouse raspberry production guide
  • Moon, Yong-Sun, PhD, Geminivirus-mediated enhanced foreign gene expression in plant systems: The development and characterization of a regulated gene amplification cassette
  • Nyankanga, Richard, PhD, Dynamics of potato late blight on tubers and farmers' management of the disease in Kenya highlands
  • Parmenter, Darrin Michael, MS, Cultural practice study for the improvement of dry bean production in New York State
  • Rapp, Heidi, MS, The influence of reduced tillage and rye mulching practices on weed suppression, fruit maturity, and yield in pumpkins
  • Reaves, Mark, MS, Gas exchange and water relations of red maple acer rubrum L. ecotypes and cultivars in response to drought
  • Rivenshield, Angela, PhD, The effects of organic amendment on tree growth in compacted soil
  • Stark, Jeremy, MPS, Writing a business plan: A guide for landscapers
  • Uva, Richard Hart, PhD, Growth and yield of beach plum (prunus maritima marshall) in horticultural, land restoration, and ecological systems
  • Yang, Xiaohan, PhD, Development of new technology for isolation of key bioherbicidal genes in sorghum root hairs


  • Aram, Kamyar, MS, Compost for nitrogen management and disease suppression in vegetable systems
  • Bertin, Cecile, MS, Evaluation of allelopathic potential of fine leaf fescues
  • Boyden, Laurie, MS, Quantitative assessment of apple texture traits using instrumental and sensory methods
  • Brainard, Daniel, PhD, Weed management implications of a broccoli-winter rye intercropping system
  • Chang, Yao-Chien, PhD, Upper leaf necrosis on Lilium cv. Star Gazer - a calcium deficiency disorder
  • de Villiers, David S, PhD, Photosynthetic period and light integral effects on hydroponic production of dry bean, phaseolus vulgaris, for life support systems
  • Dudones, David, MS, Silvery thread moss (Bryum argentum) population reduction strategies for golf course putting greens
  • Freeman, Stephanie E., MPS, A survey of coffee production systems with an emphasis on organic coffee production in central america
  • Hennigan, Kelly, MS, Comparison of the effectiveness of asynchronous vs. synchronous student/instructor interaction for learning hands-on horticultural skills
  • Hetzel, Carla, MPS Ag, The conception and evaluation of Cornell University's master of professional studies program in public garden management
  • Hopkins, Mary Aurora, MS, Nitrogen-15 labeled fertilizer fate in groundcover management systems in apple (malus domestica) orchards
  • Kloetzli, Cathryn E, MPS, Business plan to establish and operate Equi Greenhouses, LLC: A greenhouse production facility for specialty edible crops
  • Luker, Melissa Ann, MS, Vegetative propagation of koelreuteria paniculata using etiolated cuttings
  • McCormick, Shawn Aileen, MPS, An examination of Acer Plantanoides and Platanus x acerifolia's response and recovery to large scale neighborhood reconstruction
  • Otis, Daniel, MS, The effect of far-red light on cutting propagation of maples
  • Pappas, Anthony, MS, Growing mild long day onions
  • Pierce, Nathan, MS, Genotype and nitrogen allocation, and growth responses of phaseolus vulgaris L. grown at elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide
  • Podaras, Peter Cleanthes, MS, Propagation of Acer species under modified light environments
  • Saenz, Jose, PhD, Mineral nutritional factors associated with alternate-bearing in american grapevines
  • Salamanca, Mauricio, PhD, Product development and marketing of controlled environment agriculture (CEA) fresh produce
  • Tan, Puay Yok, PhD, Responses of catharanthus roseus to ash yellows phytoplasma infection
  • Vanek, Steven John, MS, Competitive yield reduction, weed suppression, and insect pest mitigation in pumpkin / lana vetch / rye interseeding systems
  • Weston, David, MS, Light quality effects on shoot extension and carbohydrates status in three cool season turf grasses


  • Bauerle, William, PhD, The water relations of red maple acer rubrum L. ecotypes from contrasting hydrologic habitats
  • Bhakta, Bindu Ratilal, MPS Ag, Development and evaluation of an instructional web site for middle school students on Indian ethnobotany
  • Czarnota, Mark Andrew, PhD, Sorghum (sorghum spp.) root exudates: Production, localization, chemical composition, and mode of action
  • Jordan, John Fletcher, MS, The impact of root volume reduction, disturbance, and desiccation on landscape-sized tree transplantings
  • Li, Kuo-Tan, PhD, Physiological effects of summer pruning in apple trees
  • Rivenshield, Angela A.; Organic amendment to improve the physical qualities of compacted soils
  • Thompson, Kevin Bruce, MS, Searching behavior in horticultural database environments and implications for design
  • Yan, Ka-lok Colette, MS, Separating the growing media of turfgrass and tree species: an approach to reduce competition during establishment
  • Vilonen, Alisia Brook, MPS Ag, Landscape preservation: A western New York 1870's garden


  • Benavides-Meza, Hector, PhD, Variation in water relatins, cold hardiness and chilling requirements among provenances of liquidambar styraciflua L.
  • Halasz, Sunita Sue, MS, An ecological approach to resource inventory: an adirondack case study
  • Johnson, Corinne Faye, PhD, Genetic and environmental influences on the nutritive value of spinach, Spinacia oleracea, for humans
  • Loh, Felix Chee Wai, MS, Nutrient and chlorophyll status of ficus and poplar grown in CU-structural soil
  • Scott, Karen Lee, MS, The Influence of Mycorrhizae on field establishment of cypripedium populations in New York state