The Sidney B. Meadows Scholarship Fund has announced the names of twelve students from several southeastern universities chosen to receive academic scholarships this year. In the Undergraduate category, the UGA Hort Department had two out of the six awardees. Ruqayah Bhuiyan and Michael Delvalle each received one of the $1500.00 scholarships. In the Graduate Student category, two of the six scholarships were awarded to Susan Hawkins, and Bethany Harris, both graduate students on the Griffin campus.
Scholarship recipients are determined through a competitive application process, administered by a selection committee, based on academics, determination, demonstrated interest in the horticulture industry, and financial need. This year’s recipients were chosen from the largest number of applications ever received. Created in 1989 by the Southern Nursery Association (SNA), The Sidney B. Meadows Scholarship Endowment Fund is a 501 (c) 3 corporation providing scholarships to students who are residents of the sixteen southeastern states – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia – pursuing a career in horticulture. The scholarship is dedicated to one of the most honored horticultural leaders, the late Sidney B. Meadows, who was an avid supporter of student scholarships and believed that providing aid for students was an important way to ensure the growth and development of all facets of the industry.
Dr. Esther van der Knapp, Professor in the Department of Horticulture and the Center for Applied Genetic Technologies, Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics & Genomics and her team of scientists from UGA and The Ohio State University have recent had their work on Cell size regulation published in PLOS genetics, a very prestigious genomic science journal. According to the research summary: “Starting about 10,000 years ago, during the Neolithic period, human societies began the transformation from a hunting and gathering-dependent lifestyle to an agrarian lifestyle. This transformation was accompanied by plant and animal domestication. Tomato shows a huge increase in fruit weight that has arisen as a consequence of its domestication. We identified a gene that encodes a poorly characterized protein that controls fruit weight in tomato. The mutation that led to the increase in fruit weight arose early during the cultivation of tomato and is now incorporated in all large tomato varieties. The gene regulates cell size in the fruit and is called Cell Size Regulator. The increases in cell size are proposed to relate to cellular maturation that accompanies fruit growth.”
To see the actual publication, follow the link provided below:
Fruit weight is controlled by Cell Size Regulator encoding a novel protein that is expressed in maturing tomato fruits. Qi Mu , Zejun Huang, Manohar Chakrabarti, Eudald Illa-Berenguer, Xiaoxi Liu, Yanping Wang, Alexis Ramos, and Esther van der Knaap. 2017 PLOS Gen 13(8) e1006930.
One of the most enjoyable tasks I undertake every semester since 2000 is to interview our exiting undergraduate students. We should all take pride in the quality of our graduates; they are quite impressive. Part of the interview is spent collecting information on our students—where they come from, why they came—and part is spent gaining student insight into our departmental strengths and weaknesses. Below is a PDF document summary of the data collected from the interviews and the second link is a graphic of the statewide distribution. Data Summary 2016 (002), Graduate_origin_2016.
Gray Simpson has been chosen by the faculty to be the departmental Outstanding Senior. Gray has distinguished himself by receiving several noteworthy awards: Greenhouse Product News Intern of the Year, American Floral Endowment Vic and Margaret Ball Internship at Metrolina Greenhouses, Sidney B. Meadows Scholarship, and the most prestigious scholarship offered by the Garden Club of Georgia. He is the Horticulture Vice President and has efficiently grown plants for sale and coordinated the efforts of numerous student to hold a very successful Plant Sale. He also was the Production Coordinator for the Pi Alpha Xi Poinsettia sale. Congratulations Gray, and Well done!
Congratulations to UGA Hort Ph.D Alum Krishna Nemali who has accepted a faculty position at Purdue University as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Nemali, who studied under Dr. Marc van Iersel, has responsibility for extension and research activities related to controlled environment agriculture which includes ornamentals and vegetables grown under protected culture. He also teaches courses related to controlled environment agriculture production and technology. He has a B.S. in Agriculture from the Andhra Pradesh Agriculture University, India. His M.S. and Ph.D. programs at the University of Georgia focused on development of plant-uptake based automated irrigation technique using sensors and understanding the physiological responses of greenhouse crops to varying input (light, water and nutrients) levels during production. As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Davis he studied physiological mechanisms that render tolerance to drought in Arabidopsis ecotypes. Prior to joining Purdue, he worked at Monsanto company, USA for nearly 9 years as a controlled environment crop physiologist. His research at Monsanto significantly contributed to the commercialization of the first biotechnology-derived drought tolerant maize. He aims to train students with sustainable production practices that are complemented with state-of-the-art technologies in controlled environments to become next generation growers and researchers.A primary goal of his program at Purdue is to develop new and affordable technologies that improve sustainability (i.e., reduce input waste, minimize environmental impact, and increase profits) in controlled environment agriculture and make them easily available to growers. He aims to train students with sustainable production practices that are complemented with state-of-the-art technologies in controlled environments to become next generation growers and researchers.
Here is his contact information:
Krishna Nemali, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Controlled Environment Agriculture Extension & Research
Dept. Horticulture & Landscape Architecture Purdue University
Horticulture Building, Room 109B
625 Agricultural Mall Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2010
Tel: (765) 494-8179
Organic Horticulture was in the spotlight last week! Here is an excerpt from Lee Shearer, an editor for the Athens Banner Herald. “A light but steady stream of visitors came out to the University of Georgia’s Organic Twilight Tour in Oconee County last week to see and hear about what’s new in organic agriculture. The fifth annual “Organic Twilight Tour” at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’Durham Horticulture Farm drew visitors from all over Georgia as well as surrounding states. As they walked among the rows of vegetable and fruit plants at the farm off Hog Mountain Road near Watkinsville, they got to talk to UGA researchers about their latest organic agriculture research. They also got to sample three kinds of watermelon grown at the farm, and could pick up some tips useful for both full-scale organic farmers and gardeners tending a vegetable patch in a corner of their yards. In one display, visitors could see close-up pieces of equipment that could help on a small organic farm, including a tined weeder, a no-till seed drill and a rotary spader that readies soil for planting” From this description, one can tell it was a great tour and something that should be planned for next year! For more information, here is the link to that article!
Photo Credit: Athens Banner Herald Staff Photographer
More Good News! Every year the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences awards our outstanding students with a number of undergraduate student scholarship awards. The 2016 cycle was a banner year for the Horticulture Department. 13 of our students received these scholarships this month! Jana Hamilton received the Harold and Celestia Loden Scholarship, Will Hempill and Chelsea McMahan received the Lawrence G and Mary Katherine B Burk Scholarship. John Presley received the Henry L. Reeves Scholarship, David Miler received the Elmo C Hester Jr. Scholarship, and Sarah Houtsma received the E.G. Dawson Scholarship. Annie Vogel and Mary Lewis were selected for the GA Burson Scholarships, and Savannah White, Taylor Strickland, Ruqayah Bhuiyan, Jeana Hansel and Annika Kohler were recipients of the Cordelia Anne Ellis Scholarship! Way to go Hort Dawgs!
Congratulations to Hannah Bundy a recent graduate (2015’) of the Horticulture Dept. and Certificate Program in Organic Agriculture who has accepted a position with the NC Cooperative Extension Service. She will be joining the Rutherford County Extension Service as their Horticulture Extension Agent and is looking forward to working with master gardeners, home owners and commercial producers as well as organizing the county farmers market. We wish her all the best!
Two Horticulture Department students have recently received several significant scholarships. Sarah Houtsma, Sophomore, has received the 2016 Garden Club of Long Beach Island Scholarship for Horticulture and Mary Lewis, Senior, has received the 2016 Perennial Plant Association Scholarship, and the 2016 Joseph P. Shinoda Scholarship for Floriculture! All of these are national in scope and regardless of how far away the host organization may be, our horticulture students are academically competitive! Congratulations to Sarah and Mary! Go Hort Dawgs!