Murray State senior Stephanie Rexing, agronomy major from Evansville, Ind., took first place at the annual Kentucky Academy of Science’s 98th Annual Meeting for her research on evaluating draught resistant corn hybrids under different soil textures.
The KAS annual meeting is designed for undergraduate and graduate students to present their research by either poster or oral presentations. This year’s meeting was hosted by Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond.
The majority of Rexing’s research was done through her summer internship with Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., an international seed company based in Johnston, Iowa. She continued analyzing yield data throughout the semester.
Rexing had 17 plot locations throughout southern Indiana from which she gathered yield data. The goal was to see if drought tolerant hybrids perform better in drought stress than a high yielding hybrid. She also compared the soil types to see whether or not the drought tolerant yielded better on poorer quality soils compared to higher quality soils.
One of Rexing’s mentors during her research was Iin Handayani, professor of agronomy at the Hutson School of Agriculture. She said Rexing’s award will not only be beneficial to her future, but to the University’s as well.
“This award reflects that agriculture students from Murray State have great potential to do research and present their research for scientific meetings, if they have interest and passion” Handayani said. “Because, doing research needs patience and continued hard work. It is not an instant process.”
She said this award can also act as one of the promotional tools for the agriculture department and the University on our undergraduate research program and mentoring undergraduate students.
Handayani also stressed the importance of Rexing’s project to the agriculture department and how much the judges appreciated her research.
“Her topic of study was very interesting and considered a hot issue in agriculture,” Handayani said. “Therefore, the project is current and expected by people who are in the agriculture department.
Handayani said the majority of the judges, almost 99 percent, loved her presentation. She was confident while presenting the research and her talk was engaging to the audiences.”
Despite all the praise Rexing has received for her award-winning research, she modestly said she was not expecting to place at the meeting.
“It was definitely a confidence booster,” Rexing said. “I wasn’t even expecting to place, but I am glad I got to represent Murray State and the Hutson School of Agriculture.”
Story by Alex Berg, Staff writer