The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a travel award grant to Alabama A&M University’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences to engage emerging scientists as undergraduate students and expose them to the professional environment at the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) [ASA-CSSA-SSSA] national meetings.
The program includes mentoring, research, presentation and follow-up components. Society members selected by the students serve as mentors and aide the student recipients in the events and functions available at the meeting. The PI of this project is Dr. Elica Moss, research assistant professor of soil microbiology/biochemistry, and Dr. Robert Taylor, professor of soil chemistry, is co-PI.
This year’s annual meeting was held in San Antonio, Tex. Nine (9) students were selected to travel and to present research. These students represented several universities such as Alabama A&M University (Bahjah Anderson, NaAsia Ellis, Rakeyta Scales, Alisha Sledge, and Feron Washington); the University of Alabama (Brittany Tadesse); Tuskegee University (Jamie Keith); Fort Valley State University (India Brown and Shaundrea Stallworth).
Upon the official start of this year’s meeting, the students had the opportunity to travel on a water conservation and quality educational tour. They took part in both the graduate school fair, as well as the career fair. They also visited sessions on soil and environmental quality; agriculture’s contributions to climate changes solutions; mitigation and adaption at global and regional scales; and the general biomedical, health beneficial and nutritionally enhanced plants, and others.
Eight of the nine students also participated in the National Student Research Symposium Poster Contest. Brittany Tadesse, who was mentored by Dr. Ramesh Kantety of AAMU’s NRES Department as part of the NSF REU program, won second place. This is the second year that one of Dr. Kantety’s students has placed in this competition, which consisted of 26 undergraduate submissions from top 1862 Land Grant Universities, such as Michigan State University, Purdue University, Cornell University, etc.
Present at the award Ceremony along with Dr. Elica Moss and Dr. Robert Taylor were Dr. Dianne Okomoro, NSF Program Officer, and Dr. Karen Gala of the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), each instrumental in the establishment of the Travel Scholars Award Program.
“This program has truly been a success for the students who have participated,” says Dr. Moss. “They have become more confident in presenting their research and have gained so much knowledge from attending a national scientific meeting.”