Each year, the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) host an international scientific meeting that brings together academic, governmental and industrial leaders that work together to advance agronomic, crop and soil sciences. Soil and water sciences senior Bella Brush was selected to present her research at the 2022 ASA, CSA, SSSA International Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland. Her experience was made possible by funds awarded through the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences’ VP Promise.
Brush, an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Yang Lin’s laboratory, presented her research to soil scientists at the undergraduate poster session and received valuable advice on replications of her study. Her project focused on characterizing the chemical composition of deep podzolized carbon found within the subsoil using infrared spectroscopy and its potential as a carbon source or sink. “Not only did I get to passionately relay the details of my project to them, but I also received valuable feedback on my project and how it could be expanded upon in my graduate studies,” Brush said. She also shared how enriching it was to bond with her research mentor and lab mates.
“They encouraged me to continue attending conferences and other educational opportunities to discover what area of soil science I want to pursue,” Brush said.
The meeting also provided unlimited networking opportunities for attendees. Brush conversed with past presidents of different societies, who each gave her personalized advice on how to apply to graduate school, the path of study she should take, and the variety of future careers available to her. She also attended speaker sessions in soil and nutrient sciences that provided her with new insight into the future potential of these fields.
“Based on my experiences from this conference, I am now more confident in my decision to attend graduate school for my master’s degree and PhD here at the University of Florida and have a broadened scope of what it means to be a soil and water scientist,” Brush said. She thanked the college for its support through the VP Promise and said she is excited to attend more conferences like this one.
The VP Promise is an initiative to provide financial assistance for students pursuing experiences in agriculture, life sciences and natural resources. CALS supports student success both inside and outside of the classroom and encourages students to broaden their perspectives through enriching opportunities such as study abroad programs and travel to conferences. For more information on the VP Promise visit the CALS website.