30 Sep 2015

2015 Scholar Award Recipients Announced by International Plant Nutrition Institute


September 30, 2015 – Peachtree Corners, GA, USA – The International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) has selected the winners of the 2015 Scholar Awards. A total of 37 graduate students, representing 13 countries, were chosen as IPNI Scholar Award recipients. Each winner receives the equivalent of US$2,000.

“The selection committee was encouraged by the number and quality of applications it received,” said Terry L. Roberts, IPNI President. “Many countries and institutions were represented. The students are doing impressive work and will contribute immensely to the field of plant nutrition,” said Roberts.

Graduate students attending a degree-granting institution located in any country within an IPNI regional program are eligible. The award is available to graduate students in science programs relevant to plant nutrition science and the management of crop nutrients including: agronomy, horticulture, ecology, soil fertility, soil chemistry, crop physiology, environmental science, and others.

Regional committees of IPNI scientific staff select the recipients of the IPNI Scholar Award. The awards are presented directly to the students at a preferred location and no specific duties are required of them. Funding for the scholar award program is provided through support of IPNI member companies, primary producers of nitrogen, phosphate, potash, and other fertilizers.

More information is available from IPNI staff, individual universities, or the IPNI website. The winners are listed below by region and university/institution.

Australia/New Zealand
  • Mr. Massimiliano De Antoni Migliorati, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
  • Mr. Caspar Will Roxburgh, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

China
  • Mr. Li Jifu, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, Hubei, China.
  • Mr. Wang Jidong, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Science, Jiangsu, China
  • Mr. Zhou Zijun, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Science, Jiangsu, China
  • Ms. Jin Kemo, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China.

Eastern Europe and Central Asia
  • Ms. Daria Osipova, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
  • Ms. Anastasia Chukhil, Kuban State Agrarian University, Krasnodar, Russia.
  • Ms. Zhanna Chepko, Southern Federal University, Rostov-on-Don, Russia.

North Africa
  • Ms. Noura Bechtaoui, Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech, Morocco.

North America
  • Mr. Guillermo R. Balboa, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, USA.
  • Mr. David A. Carroll II, Brigham Young University, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
  • Ms. Taylor Coomer, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA.
  • Mr. Chester Greub, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA.
  • Mr. Zachary Stewart, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.
  • Mr. Resham Thapa, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, USA.

South America
  • Mr. Sérgio Gustavo Quassi de Castro, University of Campinas, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil.
  • Mr. Johnny Rodrigues Soares, Agronomic Institute of Campinas, Jardim Guanabara, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil.
  • Mr. Richardson Barbosa Gomes da Silva, São Paulo State University, Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil.
  • Mr. José Aridiano Lima de Deus, Federal University of Viçosa, Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
  • Ms. Amanda Posselt Martins, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
  • Mr. Kassiano Felipe Rocha, São Paulo State University, Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil.
  • Ms. Patricia Barreto, University of the Republic, Montevideo, Uruguay.
  • Ms. Victoria Cerecetto, University of the Republic, Montevideo, Uruguay.
  • Mr. Tomás Della Chiesa, University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • Ms. Silvia Marcela Caguasango Eraso, National University of Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia.

South Asia
  • Ms. Lakshmi Durga Maddukuri, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India.
  • Mr. Kali Krishna Hazra, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Kharagpur, West Bengal, India.
  • Mr. Muhammad Imran, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Punjab, Pakistan.
  • Mr. Basavaraj Patil, University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, Karnataka, India.
  • Ms. Amrita Sengupta, Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Mohanpur, Nadia, West Bengal, India.
  • Mr. Abhijit Sarkar, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India.
  • Mr. Dibakar Ghosh, Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Mohanpur, Nadia, West Bengal, India.
  • Mr. Ashok Kumar Koilakonda, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, West Bengal, India.

Southeast Asia
  • Ms. Nantiya Panomjan, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Ms. Mavis Badu, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. (University of Wyoming, USA).
  • Mr. Richard Darfour, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana.

Brief biographical summaries for each of the winners follow:

Australia/New Zealand
Mr. Massimiliano De Antoni Migliorati, Queensland University of Technology, Australia, completed his Ph.D. in Soil Science and Plant Nutrition. His dissertation title was “Reducing Nitrous Oxide Emissions while Supporting Subtropical Cereal Production in Oxisols.” His goal was to define profitable, agronomically viable and environmentally sustainable nitrogen management strategies to support future intensification of cereal production on subtropical Oxisols, and to improve the current understanding of environmental factors influencing N2O emissions. He plans to work in academia and help combat food insecurity, while reducing the contribution of agriculture to climate change.

Mr. Caspar Will Roxburgh, The University of Queensland, Australia, is working toward his Ph.D. in agricultural science. His dissertation title is “Nutrient Management under Conservation Agriculture systems: A Comparative Analysis between Queensland and Southern/Eastern Africa.” His project aims to provide feasible pathways to improve use efficiency of nitrogen inputs by studying gaps in on-farm productivity and profitability and identifying associated differences in agronomic management. The work focuses on summer dryland grain production in Queensland (Sorghum) and Mozambique (Maize). He plans to pursue a career in international agricultural development.

Eastern Europe and Central Asia
Ms. Daria Osipova, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, is working towards her M.Sc. in soil science after completing her bachelor’s on changes in soil potassium status and clay mineralogy of chernozemic soils under different potassium fertilizer application rates. Daria has received academic scholarships during her educational programs and obtained her bachelor's degree graduate with honors. She has a strong interest in potassium sorption dynamics in chernozems. Daria is continuing her education within a master’s program and aspires to eventually obtain a Ph.D.

Ms. Anastasia Chukhil, Kuban State Agrarian University, Krasnodar, Russia, recently completed her M.Sc. in agricultural biology. She is working toward her Ph.D. in the Department of Agricultural Chemistry at the same university. Her research activities are targeted to optimization of alfalfa nutrition and improvement of fertility status of leached chernozems in Southern Russia. The title of her thesis is “Productivity of Second-Year Alfalfa with Optimized Plant Nutrition on Leached Chernozem in Western Ciscaucasia.” She plans to continue research work on monitoring of crop status and yield modeling after completing her Ph.D.

Ms. Zhanna Chepko, Southern Federal University, Rostov-on-Don, Russia, obtained a B.Sc. in soil science in 2015. Her research activities included diagnostic and environmental assessments of maize nutrition and fertility status of ordinary chernozems in Southern Russia. Her thesis title was “Multi-Element Composition of Maize Plants on Ordinary Calcareous Chernozem.” The studies were conducted in field experiments running under a cooperative project between IPNI and Southern Federal University. Chepko plans to continue her education and earn a master's degree.

China
Ms. Jin Kemo, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China, recently completed his Ph.D. in Rhizosphere Nutrition and Ecology. Her dissertation title was “Root Responses to Heterogeneous Nutrient Distribution and Soil Mechanical Impedance and Its Management Strategy.” It focused on plant physiology bases of root response to nutrient and water distribution. Kemo plans to work as a scientific researcher and promote the important role that root and soil physical properties play in crop production and sustainable agriculture.

Mr. Li Jifu, Huazhong Agricultural University, Hubei, China, is completing a combined M.Sc./Ph.D. in plant nutrition. His dissertation title is “Effects and Mechanisms of Straw Control on Soil Potassium Supply.” It combined field trials and laboratory simulation to study the effects of straw on soil potassium release, fixation and cycling. Jifu has a strong interest in agricultural research and extension. He is currently working at the Agricultural College at Yangtze University to continue his research and help modernize agriculture in China through science and technology.

Mr. Wang Jidong, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Science, Institute of Agricultural Resource and Environmental Sciences, Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Nanjing City, Jiangsu, China, completed his Ph.D. His dissertation title was “Physiological Mechanisms of Genotype Variation in Potassium Use Efficiency and Diagnosis of Potassium Nutrition in Sweet Potato.” Jidiong wants to continue as a researcher and practitioner in improving food production and farmers’ income.

Mr. Zhou Zijun, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing City, Jiangsu, China, completed his Ph.D. in plant nutrition. His dissertation title was “Development and Application of Controlled Release Fertilizers Coated by the Biochar-modified Waterborne Polyacrylate Material.” Zijun plans to study abroad while doing postdoctoral work. Future plans include working as an agricultural scientist and continued research work to improve nutrition use efficiency and make agricultural operations more efficient.

North Africa
Ms. Noura Bechtaoui, UniversitéCadi Ayyad, Facultédes Sciences Semlalia, Morocco, is working toward her Ph.D. in microbiology. Her dissertation is titled “Selection and Characterization of Symbiotic Bacteria for Improving the Agronomic Effectiveness of Phosphate.” The objective is to improve agricultural production through improved agronomic efficiency of fertilizer through symbiotic bacteria solubilizing natural phosphates. Bechtaoui plans to work as a researcher in the field of agricultural improvement and microbial biotechnology, either nationally or internationally.

North America
Mr. Guillermo R. Balboa, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, USA, is working toward his Ph.D in Agronomy. His dissertation title is “Improving Crop Production Practices to Close Yield Gaps in a Soybean-Corn Rotation.” The study aims to: investigate the contribution of diverse farming systems for developing efficient and high-yielding soybean-corn rotation production systems; evaluate the effects of each production approach on crop growth related parameters; and, establish current yield gaps. Mr. Balboa is a Fulbright Scholar, he received his Masters and Agronomic Engineer degrees at Rio Cuarto National University (Argentina). Guillermo is interested in research on food security, nutrient use efficiency, and environmental sustainability of cropping systems.

Mr. David A. Carroll II, Brigham Young University, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, is earning a M.Sc. in environmental science. The title of his thesis is “Managing Nitrogen Status to Improve Crop Water Productivity of Limited Irrigation Maize.” Mr. Carroll’s thesis research revolved around how to manage nitrogen applications to maximize crop water productivity in limited irrigation maize. Since food production and sustainability is a key challenge for the future of international development, David plans to pursue a career in the field of international development agriculture.

Ms. Taylor Coomer, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA, is completing her M.Sc. in crop science. Her thesis title is “Effect of Potassium Deficiency on Uptake and Partitioning in the Cotton Plant and Detection by a Crop Remote Sensor." The project has three parts: investigate the uptake of potassium by cotton in both low potassium and high potassium environments; a partitioning study observing the movement of potassium throughout the cotton plant over the growing season; and, a spectral reflectance study correlating two reflectance indices used in nitrogen deficiencies to potassium fertilization and potassium leaf concentrations. Ms. Coomer plans to share her passion for crop science and soil fertility by working as an educator in underprivileged areas of Arkansas before opening her own plant nursery.

Mr. Chester Greub, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA, is working toward his Ph.D. in soil fertility. His dissertation title is “Nitrogen Management Tools and Preplant Fertilizer Nitrogen Recovery Efficiency for Furrow-Irrigated Corn Production in Arkansas.” His focus is evaluating pre-plant nitrogen fertilizer uptake efficiency and the advancement of a soil-based nitrogen test, which can accurately predict site-specific nitrogen fertilizer needs for corn production. His future plans include working to improve crop production through research and extension, and developing a research program while working at Land-grant University.

Mr. Zachary Stewart, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA, is completing a Ph.D. in agronomy. His dissertation title is “Evaluating the Effect of Foliar Micronutrients on Maize Grain Yield, Grain Biofortification, and the Uptake, Mobility, and Partitioning of the Applied Micronutrients.” His aim is to find the best management practices for nutrient stewardship, specifically boron, iron, manganese, and zinc for enhanced yield and nutrient density of maize. Mr. Stewart wants to combine his academic experience in both human health and plant nutrition to find science driven solutions to sustainably produce healthy food for a rapidly growing global population.

Mr. Resham Thapa, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, USA, is pursing a M.Sc. in soil fertility and nutrient management. His thesis title is “Nitrogen Source and Application Rate Influenced Nitrogen Transformation, Losses and Nitrogen Use Efficiency of Rain-fed Spring Wheat.” He is studying how well enhanced efficiency fertilizers may work as compared to urea on rainfed wheat. Mr. Thapa plans to become a soil scientist focused on developing strategies for sustainable crop production while preventing or reducing environmental hazards with respect to soil, air, and water quality.

South America
Mr. Sérgio Gustavo Quassi de Castro, University of Campinas, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil, is working toward his Ph.D. His dissertation title is “Management of Nitrogen Fertilization for Sugarcane: Alternative Search to Increase Its Efficiency.” The goal is to evaluate the nutrition of sugarcane fertilized with different nitrogen rates applied at different times after harvesting through diagnostic sensors in order to generate parameters for sustainable application nitrogen fertilizer in the fields. After completing his Ph.D., he plans to continue research on sugarcane, at the university or private sector level, since it is such an important crop in Brazil.

Mr. Johnny Rodrigues Soares, Agronomic Institute of Campinas, Jardim Guanabara, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil, is enrolled in the Ph.D. program. His dissertation title is “Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Nitrogen Fertilizers Applied to Sugarcane.” It involves long-term evaluations of two experimental sugarcane fields, enhanced efficiency fertilizers applied to sugarcane, and nitrogen sources and rates during sugarcane growth. Mr. Soares plans to continue studying fertilizers and soil fertility and soil microbiology. He hopes to work at a research institute or university in the future.

Mr. Richardson Barbosa Gomes da Silva, São Paulo State University, Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil, is completing a Ph.D. in forestry science. His dissertation title is “Water Management on the Seedling Quality of Brazilian Atlantic Forest with Different Architectures.” The study aimed to evaluate the effect of irrigation depth on the seedling quality and leaching of nutrients in nine Brazilian Atlantic forest species with different architectures. Appropriate water management is the goal, avoiding the waste of water and nutrients, and increasing seedling quality. He plans to become a professor, continue his research in forestry science, and mentor others in the field.

Mr. José Aridiano Lima de Deus, Federal University of Viçosa, Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil, is completing a Ph.D. in soils and plant nutrition. His dissertation title is “Demand Modeling, Nutrient Partitioning and Fertilizer Recommendation for Banana Based on Soil Testing, Leaf Analysis and Yield.” The goal is to improve nutrient management in Brazil’s banana crop by using nutritional balance models and leaf analysis as tools, and implementing 4R Nutrient Stewardship. José wants to work as a researcher and develop practical solutions that can be implemented by growers.

Ms. Amanda Posselt Martins, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, is working toward a Ph.D. in soil fertility. Her dissertation title is “Soil Acidity Dynamics and Its Influence on Nutrient Use Efficiency and Availability in a Long-term No-till Integrated Crop-livestock System.” The project includes data in a long-term experiment located in southern Brazil, testing different grazing intensities in an integrated soybean and beef cattle production system. Her future plans include research to advance environmental sustainability and improving economic outlooks for rural farmers.

Mr. Kassiano Felipe Rocha, São Paulo State University, Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil, is completing his Ph.D. in agronomy. His dissertation title is “Nitrogen Dynamics in Forage-corn Rotations.” Forages of the Urochloa genre have been used as cover crops in tropical regions. His work aims to evaluate their effect on the soil nitrification potential, ammonification and nitrification activity, and nitrous oxide emission, ammonia volatilization, and nitrate leaching. After completing the program, he plans to study abroad and eventually work as a researcher to help improve fertilizer management and food production around the world.

Ms. Patricia Barreto, University of the Republic, Montevideo, Uruguay, is completing her Ph.D. in agricultural sciences. Her dissertation title is “Quantification and Modeling of Nutrient Loss in Runoff for Different Combinations of Rotations and Soil Management in Uruguay.” Her goal is to advance the development or adaptation of a model to predict phosphorus loss under different cropping systems. Barreto plans to continue her research and training.

Ms. Victoria Cerecetto, University of the Republic, Montevideo, Uruguay, is working toward a M.Sc. in biotechnology at the National Agricultural Research Institute (INIA). Her thesis title is “Microorganisms that Act on Phosphorus Phytoavailability: Detection of Mechanisms Involved, and Potential Use as Biofertilizers.” The project explores the biological richness in national collections of microorganisms, by evaluating the strains for their ability to solubilize and/or mineralize different sources of phosphorus in vitro, and for their capacity to promote plant growth. Ms. Cerecettos wants to pursue a Ph.D. and continue her current research project.

Mr. Tomas Della Chiesa, University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina, is obtaining a Ph.D. in agricultural sciences. His dissertation title is “Nitrous Oxide Emissions at Different Spatial Scales in Natural and Agroecosystems of Argentina.” He is studying agriculture’s effect on the emission of greenhouse gases, specifically on the soils in the Pampas Region. His future plans include additional research to develop strategies to minimize negative impacts on the environment.

Ms. Silvia Marcela Caguasango Eraso, National University of Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia, is completing her M.Sc. in agricultural sciences. Her thesis title is “Site Index Prediction for Acacia mangium W., Eucalyptus pellita M. and Pinus caribea M., plantations in the Colombian Elevated Flatlands (Altillanura) using Bio-physical Variables." In Colombia, there is particular interest in these tree species due easy adaptability, rapid growth, and their important contribution to the supply of raw material to the timber industry. SIlvia plans to continue her education and develop tools for forest management in Colombia.

South Asia
Ms. Lakshmi Durga Maddukuri, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India is obtaining a Ph.D. in floriculture and landscaping. Her dissertation title is “Development of Site Specific Integrated Nutrient Management Systems for Gladiolus and Marigold using Soil Test Crop Response Correlation Studies.” Her project objectives include, developing soil test based recommendations of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for specific levels of yield targets of gladiolus and marigold. She plans to continue her research and work with farmers to improve soil fertility and nutrient use efficiency.

Mr. Kali Krishna Hazra, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Kharagpur, West Bengal, India is completing his Ph.D. in agronomy. His dissertation title is “Assessment of Soil-plant Phosphorus Dynamics in Aerobic Rice-lentil Production Systems for Strategic Phosphorus Management.” The goal is to address the issue of reduced phosphorus availability under non-flooded rice cultivation practices such as the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and Direct Seeded Rice. Mr. Hazra plans to conduct more research related to crop and soil related issues.

Mr. Muhammad Imran, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Punjab, Pakistan, is obtaining his Ph.D. in soil science. His dissertation title is “Phosphorus Management for Biofortification of Zinc in Maize Grown on Calcareous Soils.” Muhammad’s goals include, finding the fixation and retention capacities of Zn and P in different textured soils by the Michaelis-Menten adsorption model as a function of time, management of P to increase Zn bioavailability in maize grains, and different Zn fertilization approaches in terms of improving estimated Zn bioavailability in humans. Mr. Imran wants to pursue more research on Zn bio-fortification of cereals and work to alleviate mineral malnutrition in humans.

Mr. Basavaraj Patil, University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, Karnataka, India, is pursing a Ph.D in agronomy. His dissertation title is “Precision Nutrient and Water Management in Sugarcane.” In India, the average productivity of sugarcane is relatively low. Site-specific nutrient management strategies have produced tangible yield gains, along with higher efficiency and improved soil health, but the process is quite intensive and feasible in small domains only. The present investigation aims at precision water and nutrient management for achieving the target yield of sugarcane by taking into consideration soil spatial variability. Mr. Patil plans to become a research scientist and continue his work in the area of precision nutrient management.

Ms. Amrita Sengupta, Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Mohanpur, Nadia, West Bengal, India, is working towards her Ph.D in agronomy. Her dissertation title is “Enhancement of Groundnut Productivity through Isolated Rhizobia and Phosphate Solubilizing Bacteria.” In India, Groundnut is mostly grown under energy starved conditions and microbial interventions can therefore be a sound strategy for enhancing productivity. She is working on isolation, characterization and successful utilization of some new microbial strains to increase the productivity of groundnut, by partial replacement of inorganic fertilizers. Ms. Sengupta plans to extend her research in an interdisciplinary manner, preferably in the fields of agronomy, soil science and plant breeding, with the goal of improving soil and crop management and preserving natural resources.

Mr. Abhijit Sarkar, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India, is earning his Ph.D. in soil science. His dissertation title is “Development and Characterization of Superabsorbent Controlled-release Nitrogen-Phosphorus (NP) fertilizer Formulations and Their Impact on Soil Health under Rice-wheat Cropping System.” Nitrogen and P are two of the most important nutrients for plant nutrition, but various environmental challenges are associated with excess losses from conventional fertilizers. One possible solution is the development of superabsorbent controlled release NP-fertilizer that supplies nutrient in accordance with plant demands. Mr. Sarkar’s research interests include nutrient management, nanotechnology, and environmental sciences. He would like to develop fertilizer products with improved nutrient use efficiency.

Mr. Dibakar Ghosh, Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Mohanpur, Nadia, West Bengal, India, is completing his Ph.D. in agronomy. His dissertation title is “Weed and Nutrient Management in Maize-greengram (Residual)-rice Crop Sequence under New Alluvial Soil.” The project examines combined weed and nutrient management in maize-greengram-rice crop sequence under new alluvial soil to assess the treatment combinations relating to their effects on weed flora and their growth, productivity, and quality of crops in sequence, and nutrient mining by crops and weeds. His future interests include developing environmentally and economically beneficial sustainable technologies for farmers.

Mr. Ashok Kumar Koilakonda, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, West Bengal, India, is earning a Ph.D. in agronomy. His dissertation title is “Comparative Assessment of Direct and Carry-over Effects of Organic and Inorganic Nutrient Management for Rice-chickpea Production System in Lateritic Soil.” The study focuses on selecting the right source of nutrients such as vermicompost and chemical fertilizers as a source of nutrients, the right quantity of nutrients with varied levels of organic and inorganic fertilizers, and the right time of application like basal and split application of organic and inorganic fertilizers. He would like to focus on site-specific nutrient management and provide recommendations to the region’s rice growers.

Southeast Asia
Ms. Nantiya Panomjan, Chiang Mai University, Thailand, is pursing a Ph.D. in agronomy. Her dissertation title is “Genetic Diversity and Grain Zinc Content of Local Rice Landraces from Southern Thailand.” Her thesis aims to investigate the diversity of local rice landraces from Southern Thailand and explore variation in grain zinc under the influence of genotype and environment. Her future goals include educating farmers in her region, continued research on grain nutrition, and eventually teaching at a university in Thailand.

Sub-Saharan Africa
Ms. Mavis Badu, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, is presently working toward her Ph.D. in agronomy at the University of Wyoming, USA. Her dissertation title is “Evaluation of Interactive Effects from Combined Application of Cattle Manure and Mineral Fertilizer in Sole Maize Cropping System.” The research aims to find out the mechanisms underlying the interactive effects between organic and inorganic nutrient inputs to the soil that causes a synergistic effect on crop yield. It included fieldwork and a laboratory incubation study. Upon completing the program, Ms. Badu plans to work as a soil research scientist or lecturer.

Mr. Richard Darfour, University of Ghana, Ghana, is earning his M.Sc. in soil microbiology. His thesis title is “Soybean Nodulation Enhancement through Phosphorus Fertilization, Liming and Inoculation on Bekwai Series.” His research area looked at overcoming the challenge with respect to phosphorus which forms part of the energy (ATP) required to initiate nodulation—a pre-requisite to biological nitrogen fixation. In the future, Mr. Darfour wants to continue his research and positively impact the lives of people in his community.