FORT PIERCE, Fla.—A graduate student whose performance as a master’s degree academic is more characteristic of a Ph.D. scholar will be honored with the American Society for Horticultural Science’s first Graduate Student Scholars Award.
Lukas Hallman, a recent University of Florida graduate, will be recognized by officials with the American Society for Horticultural Science during the society’s annual meeting in Denver, Colorado, from Aug. 5 until Aug. 9. The award “supports exceptional achievement at the graduate level and encourages career development.”
Hallman earned a Master of Science in Horticultural Sciences, with a minor in Soil and Water Science this summer. He is accepted into a Ph.D. program with the same major and will commence doctorate work in August. Hallman’s studies and research take place with UF’s statewide Institute of Food and Agricultural Science (UF/IFAS) at the UF/IFAS Indian River Research and Education Center (IRREC) in Fort Pierce, Florida. Lorenzo Rossi, an expert in plant root biology, will continue to oversee Hallman’s graduate studies throughout his doctorate work.
“What sets Lukas Hallman apart from his peers is a strong passion for his area of study,” said Rossi. “Lukas wrote a proposal and successfully secured a U.S. Department of Agriculture Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grant to explore a research topic in which he holds a strong interest.”
Rossi explains that Hallman’s commitment and performance as a master’s scholar exceeds expectations for a student at that level. Specifically, Hallman published two articles in scientific journals and as a master’s student.
“I feel that Lukas’ desire to pursue the proposal, his success to garner the award and his commitment to the project demonstrate extraordinary performance in a graduate student,” Rossi said. “Lukas is transitioning to the Ph.D. program at this time to advance his work for sustainable crop production for the citrus industry.”
Hallman’s Ph.D. research will expand his master’s studies with citrus trees affected by huanglongbing, or HLB, the most serious citrus disease worldwide. Rossi said Hallman’s work involves the application of natural and synthetic therapeutical molecules, such as oak tree compounds. Data collection will entail measuring tree physiological responses to the therapies over time and will include root growth and development, photosynthesis, and tree respiration. The scientists’ aim is to reduce the bacteria that promote HLB.
“I am grateful for the ASHS award and all of the opportunities I have been afforded for my studies,” said Hallman.
Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science is one of the most prominent professional organizations for horticultural scientists worldwide. The organization supports national and international research and education in horticulture.
“Our members use horticultural science to address major issues facing our nation and our world,” is a statement on the ASHS website.
“Lukas Hallman is on a mission to sustain Florida’s heritage cash crop, which has been in decline due to a plant disease,” said Rossi. “Hallman fits a need for modern horticulture — the drive to produce healthful food and the crops that support our nation’s food supply, employment and economic needs.”