Juma Bukomba, a master’s degree student in the UF/IFAS Soil and Water Sciences Department, received the 2021 Outstanding Post-Graduate Award from the UF International Center. The award recognizes international students who have distinguished themselves by excelling in their studies while advancing a global citizenship mindset and contributing to the internationalization of UF’s missions of teaching, research, and service. Bukomba is a native of Uganda in East Africa.
“I am thrilled and honored to receive the 2021 Outstanding Post-Graduate International Student Award,” he said. “My gratitude goes to my faculty advisor Dr. Mary Lusk for her continued, unmeasurable support and mentorship, and my former advisor Dr. Leonardo Bichara at the International Fund for Agricultural Development-Brazil for his support and motivation.”
Bukomba studies at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm, Fla. His research focuses on inorganic nitrogen dynamics under a cover crop system to improve understanding of soil nitrogen fertility, which is a key contribution to agricultural sustainability.
“Juma’s research is helping us improve our management of vegetable crop systems by developing knowledge about the fate of soil nitrogen when various cover crops are grown prior to a cash crop,” explained Dr. Mary Lusk, assistant professor of urban soil and water quality. “His work will lead to better use of nutrients and help reduce the transport of agricultural nitrogen to groundwater.”
Bukomba earned a B.S. degree in agricultural engineering from EARTH University in Costa Rica. He hopes to bring new ideas and technology to rural farmers, like those in his own family.
“We need to move away from subsistence farming. The way to do that is through education, working together, introducing new farming methods, and becoming much more productive,” Bukomba said. “My education will allow me to help others in so many places.”
The UF International Center honored Bukomba and other award recipients at a reception in Gainesville in mid-November. In addition to an award plaque, he received a $1,500 scholarship.