Murray State students win awards for soil research

Shannon Wood/The News Landon Gibbs, sophomore from Washington Courthouse, Ohio, showcases his award-winning project.
Shannon Wood/The News Landon Gibbs, sophomore from Washington Courthouse, Ohio, showcases his award-winning project.

Shannon Wood/The News
Landon Gibbs, sophomore from Washington Courthouse, Ohio, showcases his award-winning project.

Two Murray State students competed and received top honors at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Branch of the American Society of Agronomy Feb. 2-4 in Dallas.

Hannah Robbins, senior from Lockhart, Texas, was awarded first place in the undergraduate poster competition. She said her research was on “Soil carbon, nitrogen and aggregate stability associated with common agroecosystems in Western Kentucky.”

Robbins said the annual meeting provides a venue for collaboration and networking amongst agronomy professionals and students in the southern region, as well as an opportunity for both graduate and undergraduate students to present their research findings.

She presented her poster to judges as well as other university members across the region and explained her objectives, methods and results within her research.

Results from Robbins’ project display that various agroecosystems in western Kentucky have a variety of effects on soil organic matter, nitrogen content and soil structure. Her results support the hypothesis that the least disruptive management system will have the highest soil fertility and more desirable soil strength toward erosion.

“I feel very satisfied with my performance,” Robbins said. “There were some very impressive projects presented in my division, and I was very thankful to have been selected as the first place recipient.”

This is not Robbins’ first time competing in a poster competition; she has competed in events at the Kentucky Academy of Sciences, the Murray State Sigma Xi Poster Competition and more.

“With presenting in this conference, I gained a lot of confidence in my research efforts,” Robbins said.

Robbins also said events such as these give her the opportunity to critique her own work and see how she can improve it in the future.

There were 13 posters in the competition from universities across the southern region.

Landon Gibbs, sophomore from Washington Court House, Ohio, received second place in the undergraduate poster competition. He said he presented a poster containing his research entitled, “Infiltration Rate and its Related Soil Properties in Varying Land management systems of southwest Kentucky.”

Gibbs said he spent months compiling data and analyzing it, followed by several weeks spent assembling and preparing the poster for the contest.

“I felt the competition and conference ran extremely well,” Gibbs said. “At first I was a bit nervous because of not knowing the protocol and the process of the competition.”

Gibbs said his participation in the event has helped him feel more prepared for research presentations and competitions he plans to compete in throughout his academic future.

 

Story by Alex Mahrenholz, Staff writer