New environmental named professors to give joint seminar Nov. 1

October 22, 2013 under CANR News, Events

Kent Messer, Applied Economics & Statistics.The Delaware Environmental Institute invites the University of Delaware community to a special seminar and reception saluting three outstanding young faculty who were recently appointed to environmental named chairs.

Each of the honorees will present a short talk on his or her area of expertise designed for a broad, interdisciplinary audience beginning at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 1, in 104 Gore Hall.

Following the talks, a reception will be held in the Gore Hall lobby from 5-6:30 p.m.

The three chairs are five-year career development chairs made possible through the support of the Unidel Foundation. DENIN Director Don Sparks chaired the committee charged with selecting the honorees.

“We are extremely grateful to have been able to attract and retain such outstanding faculty in all areas of environmental research here at UD,” Sparks said. “The committee was particularly pleased to be able to recognize researchers in natural science, social science, and the humanities, and we are looking forward to having a stimulating, interdisciplinary discussion at the event.”

Kent Messer, Unidel Howard Cosgrove Chair and associate professor in the Department of Applied Economics and Statistics, will present “Maximizing Conservation: The Economic Science of Doing More with Less.”

He will be followed by Holly Michael, Unidel Fraser Russell Chair and assistant professor in the Department of Geological Sciences, who will discuss “Water for a Thirsty Planet: Our Vulnerable Groundwater Resources.”

Adam Rome, Unidel Helen Gouldner Chair and associate professor in the Department of History, will round out the event with “Why Do We Have Environmental Problems? Lessons from History.”

Each talk will be approximately 20-25 minutes long with time allowed for questions from the audience.

This article can also be viewed 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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Undergraduate Research

August 12, 2011 under CANR News

Undergraduate researchers were busy at the University of Delaware this summer, and the results of their research were on display during the second annual Undergraduate Research and Service Celebratory Symposium, held Wednesday, Aug. 10, in Clayton Hall.

Representing every UD college and discipline, some 330 undergraduate research and service scholars and visiting scholars participated. The event featured 243 poster presentations and 87 oral presentations.

CANR student Matthew Fischel won first place in the first-ever Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research in Sustainability Prize.  His topic of study was “Kinetics of Arsenite Exodation by Manganese Oxide Minerals:  Importance for Water Quality and Environmental Sustainability”, and his faculty sponsor was Don Sparks.

For the full UDaily article click here.

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Ted Carski, AG ’86, Named to UD Wall of Fame

June 30, 2010 under CANR News, Events

Theodore H. Carski, an alumnus of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, was one of 10 University of Delaware graduates inducted into the University Alumni Association Wall of Fame during Forum & Reunion Weekend.

The award honors UD graduates with outstanding professional achievements who remain connected to the University.

Carski was nominated by Donald Sparks, S. Hallock du Pont Chair in Plant and Soil Sciences and director of the Delaware Environmental Institute, and Carski’s doctoral advisor.

“Ted has been a strong supporter of UD and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources,” Sparks said. “He richly deserves this fine accolade.”

Carski received his doctorate in plant and soil sciences with an emphasis on environmental soil chemistry in 1986. The innovative research methods he developed during his time at the University are currently used by scientists and engineers around the world, and his research has been published in several scientific publications.

“Dr. Carski is one of those students who yielded rich returns on the investment that this university, his advisor, and others made in his education,” said Robin Morgan, dean of the college.

After graduating from UD, Carski worked as a research chemist at Du Pont, where he conducted research on pesticides in soils. In his 24-year career with the company, Carski held numerous positions and received 15 major employee awards. Today, he serves as Du Pont’s Global Registration Product Manager, where he leads global business projects to support the Du Pont Crop Protection portfolio.

Carski has been a dedicated member of the CANR Advisory Board for eight years. He is also an adjunct professor at UD in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, where he has served on graduate student advisory committees and frequently guest lectures in a number of classes.

“He is a terrific colleague who works on our behalf and makes his best effort to contribute to the college, its current programs, and its future,” Morgan said.

Carski is active in the Soil Science Society of America and in the American Society of Agronomy. He is also a member of the Board of Directors and Co-Chair of the Science Committee for the Sassafras River Association in Maryland.

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Don Sparks to receive Liebig Medal from International Union of Soil Sciences

June 21, 2010 under CANR News

This summer, Donald Sparks, S. Hallock du Pont Chair in Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Delaware and director of the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN), will receive the Liebig Award from the International Union of Soil Sciences for outstanding contributions in soil science research, revealing new discoveries, techniques, inventions, or materials related to soils and the environment.

The award, which consists of an engraved medal, a certificate, and honorarium, will be presented to Sparks on Aug. 5 at the 19th World Congress of Soil Science in Brisbane, Australia. It will mark only the second time the award has been given by the 150,000-member society, which was founded in 1924.

“This is thoroughly deserved and recognizes the very substantial and outstanding contributions you have made to the advancement of soil science and, in particular, the application of sound science to the study of soils throughout your career,” noted Roger S. Swift, president of the International Union of Soil Sciences, in the official award letter.

Sparks’ research focuses on soil and environmental chemistry — specifically the reaction rates of metals and nutrients with mineral surfaces and soils and impacts on bioavailability and transport in soils and water.

The Sparks lab utilizes high-tech tools to reveal the basic mechanisms behind these interactions. Recently, Sparks and his research team developed a new analytical method using quick-scanning X-ray absorption spectroscopy (Q-XAS) that scientists can use to pinpoint, at the millisecond level, what happens as harmful environmental contaminants such as arsenic begin to react with soil and water under various conditions.

“I am very honored to be recognized with the Liebig Medal because it is an award for which you must be nominated by your peers and also because of its distinguished namesake,” Sparks says.

Justus von Liebig, after whom the award is named, was a German chemist and professor (1803-1873) who discovered that nitrogen is an essential nutrient in plants. Liebig made significant contributions to agricultural chemistry and is regarded as one of the greatest chemistry teachers of all time, having developed the modern laboratory method of teaching the subject.

Since joining the UD faculty 31 years ago, Sparks has created an internationally prominent graduate program in environmental soil chemistry in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, authored more than 284 scientific publications and three textbooks, mentored 50 graduate students and 25 postdoctoral researchers, and served as an invitational speaker at 79 universities and institutes on four continents.

He has successfully competed for more than $31 million in research contracts and grants and won numerous awards and honors, including the University’s highest academic recognition, the Francis Alison Award, and UD’s Doctoral Student Advising and Mentoring Award, of which he was the first recipient.

Earlier this year, Sparks won the Geoffrey Marshall Mentoring Award from the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools for outstanding mentoring support of graduate students.

Among his many accolades, Sparks is the recipient of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sterling B. Hendricks Medal, a McMaster Fellowship from the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization (CSIRO), the Soil Science Research and M. L. and Chrystie M. Jackson Soil Chemistry/Mineralogy Awards, and the Environmental Quality Research Award. He also is an ISI Highly Cited Researcher.

Sparks is a fellow of the Soil Science Society of America, the American Society of Agronomy, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Geochemical Society, and the European Association of Geochemists. He serves on the editorial boards of seven soil science, environmental science, and geochemistry journals.

Sparks served as the chair of UD’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences for 20 years and is past president of the Soil Science Society of America and the International Union of Soil Sciences.

Article by Tracey Bryant

View the original story with photos on UDaily by clicking here.

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