Soil and Water Summer Experience – Arjuma Khandakar

The Soil and Water Sciences Department is offering students the chance to blog about their summer experience. The students enrolled in one of three courses over the summer, for which they received credit: SWS 4905-Individual Work, SWS 4911-Supervised Research in Soil and Water Science, and SWS 4941 Practical Work Experience. This is Arjuma Khandakar’s summer internship:

trays of soil on lab bench.

Soil samples for testing. (photo provided)

My name is Arjuma Khandakar and I am majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Environmental Management in Agriculture and Natural Resources. This summer, I had the opportunity to assist in a graduate project called the Healthy Soils Project at the University of California-Davis. I was able to gain first-hand experience on a variety of soil laboratory experiments. This included performing a POXC (Permanganate Oxidizable Carbon quantification) test on soil samples that have been treated with compost & cover crops. I also performed ammonium nitrate analysis and measured moisture content in soil samples.

This was a very rewarding experience for me. I gained a real-life perspective on current soil enhancement treatments. I also learned how graduate projects are run and organized. This will become very handy when I enroll in a graduate program in the future.

Well-Prepared

I owe a hearty thank you to two courses that I took this past year that greatly prepared me for this experience: Introduction to Soil in Environment with Dr. James Bonczek and Agricultural and Environmental Quality with Susan Curry. These two courses provided me an in-depth foundation of soil knowledge, such as texture and classification, and awareness on a variety of current best management practice. I was able to follow along with the project very well due to the knowledge gained from these two courses.

After this experience, I highly encourage students to take this opportunity to branch out of their comfort zone. It is exciting to volunteer in an unfamiliar environment! Working in California was a drastic decision for me because I grew up in Florida. I’m also very comfortable on the University of Florida’s campus. However, I’m glad I made this decision. I had a great time comparing and contrasting California’s environment and climate to Florida. The difference is fascinating! It is truly a valuable experience to join a program that is out of your comfort zone.