May 20, 2016
Contact: Vanessa Beeson
STARKVILLE, Miss.—Five Mississippi State students are recent award winners at the joint meeting between the Weed Science Society of America and the Southern Weed Science Society.
All are affiliated with the weed science program of the university’s plant and soil sciences department. Regarded as the nation’s premier weed science meeting and held in Puerto Rico, the competition was part of a major event during the 56th Annual Meeting of the Weed Science Society of America and the 69th Annual Meeting of the Southern Weed Science Society.
Scott Willard, associate dean and professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said the awards serve as a testament to the training MSU students receive and to the faculty’s expertise.
“While this recognition demonstrates the quality of research being conducted at MSU, it also shows these students have a good command of the soft skills required to get ahead academically and professionally—skills like writing, speaking and presenting. It not only showcases these students as up-and-comers in a particular field, it demonstrates that each of them is well-rounded and has the skillset required to communicate their individual expertise,” Willard said.
MSU student winners included:
—Doctoral graduate Gary T. Cundiff of Louisville, Kentucky, who placed first in the WSSA category of doctoral paper presentation. Cundiff, under the direction of Dan Reynolds, Edgar E. and Winifred B. Hartwig Endowed Chair in Soybean Agronomy, earned a Ph.D. in agronomy with an emphasis on weed science this month.
—Doctoral candidate Lucas X. Franca of Araxa, Brazil, who placed second in the WSSA doctoral poster presentation. Franca is under the direction of Darrin Dodds, associate research and extension professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. Franca plans to finish his doctoral degree in agronomy with an emphasis on weed science during the 2018-2019 academic year.
—Doctoral candidate David P. Russell of Bogue Chitto placed third in the WSSA doctoral poster presentation and second place in the SWSS doctoral oral presentation contest. Russell, under the direction of John Byrd, research and extension professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, anticipates earning a doctoral degree in agronomy with an emphasis in weed science in 2017. Russell also is an associate with the MSU Extension Service.
—Master’s student John T. Buol of Monroe, Wisconsin, placed second in both the WSSA master’s poster contest and the SWSS oral presentation contest. Buol, also under the direction of Reynolds, is a second-year master’s student pursing a degree in agronomy with an emphasis on weed science.
—Shackouls Honors College senior in the Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion Alesa Taylor of Guntown won the WSSA undergraduate research award. Taylor is under the direction of Sam Chang, professor in the Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion and John Byrd. Her anticipated graduation date is May 2017.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.