UD doctoral student in soil science receives Dixon Award

December 5, 2011 under CANR News

Chunmei Chen, a University of Delaware doctoral student in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, was chosen to receive the Dixon Award for best graduate student presentation in soil mineralogy at the recent 2011 Soil Science Society of America meeting in San Antonio.

Chen received a $500 award for being recognized as having the best Division S-9 student presentation, with the selection based on quality of presentation and contribution of the research to advancing the state of knowledge of soil mineralogy.

“I feel very happy and honored to receive the award,” Chen said. “It is encouraging and helpful for me because I would like to continue my career in research.”

Chen presented her research on the Christina River Basin Critical Zone Observatory (CRB-CZO), which specifically reports on the interaction of soil organic matter with soil minerals at the molecular scale along landscape redox gradients.

“The research will lead to better soil management strategies that maintain and enhance levels of soil organic matter, which has important implications in addressing soil carbon sequestration and climate change,” Chen said.

Division S-9 of the Soil Science Society of America established the Joe B. and Martha J. Dixon Soil Mineralogy Endowment to honor Joe Dixon’s career and contributions to soil mineralogy. Each year, two graduate students with projects relating to soil mineralogy are awarded the funding.

Chen earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural resources and environment from the Nanjing Agricultural University and a master’s degree in environmental science from the Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Chen plans to submit a manuscript based on her presentation for publication. She hopes to finish her doctorate and eventually become a university faculty member.

Article by Brittany Barkes

This article was originally published on UDaily

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PLSC doctoral student receives prestigious scholarship

September 9, 2011 under CANR News

Josh LeMonte, a first-year doctoral student in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciencesat the University of Delaware, has been awarded a prestigious Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship.

The SMART Scholarship for Service Program, part of the National Defense Education Program of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and administered by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and the Naval Postgraduate School, provides opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and be gainfully employed upon graduation.

LeMonte, who arrived at UD in May to work in the lab of Donald L. Sparks, S. Hallock du Pont Chair of Soil and Environmental Chemistry, says his research is still in its infancy.

“So far, I’ve been doing a lot of literature review. I’ll be trying to fit together Dr. Sparks’ expertise with Dr. Chappell’s needs, and he needs someone who can work on the organic-metal interface in soils,” LeMonte said. “So right now I am planning on doing research focused on the role of manganese in the carbon cycle.”

This work will make LeMonte an active member of the Christina River Basin Critical Zone Observatory research team, which is examining human impacts on the movement of carbon atoms through the watershed ecosystem. It will also require him to travel occasionally to national laboratories to use the synchrotron spectroscopy instrumentation available there.

“We are very fortunate to have Josh join our research group,” said Sparks. “He is an extremely capable student and researcher, and I’m really looking forward to his contributions to knowledge in this field.”

Article by Beth Chajes and reproduced here with permission

For the full original article please visit UDaily.

Photo by Ambre Alexander

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