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oranges on a tree

Soil and Water Summer Experience – Katie Stakes

The UF/IFAS soil and water sciences department is offering students the chance to blog about their summer experiences. 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 Katie Stakes’ summer experience:


My name is Katie Stakes, and I am in my senior year at Florida Southern College. I am majoring in Citrus and Horticulture Science with concentrations in Citrus and Business. This summer, I worked with Dr. Davie Kadyampakeni at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC).

college student in lab holding bottle of sulfuric acid

Katie Stakes holding sulfuric acid before adding a small amount to the samples. (photo provided)

During my time at CREC, I was able to create multiple sets of samples and data. I also took part in creating and spreading treatments within the orange groves. I learned how to work professionally in a lab setting including: following multistep procedures, handling hazardous substances, and gathering reliable data for further research.

My previous coursework allowed me to feel comfortable in a lab setting. I also understood the basics of chemistry and biology work we conducted (and how these concepts apply within citrus nutrition). Additionally, I worked with some unexpected materials. For example, I added sulfuric acid to preserve the vial samples being shipped to another lab. This chemical is used in your car’s battery and is hazardous!