Nielsen Pedology Graduate Research Assistantship

 

Nielsen Pedology Graduate Research Assistantship: Recipients shall be graduate students providing research support to full-time faculty researching soil science. Gerald Nielsen and the soils faculty also agreed that the student's research must be focused on Montana Pedogenesis or basic understanding of Montana soils. Appropriate expenditures include, but are not limited to, tuition and stipends. Up to two Nielsen Graduate Research Assistantships shall be awarded each academic year for which funds and candidates are available. An assistantship may be renewed if funds are available, and if the recipient meets all of the requirements and continues to be the best candidate as determined by the Department Head. 

 

Application Process: For a student to be eligible for the award, the student must fill out an application in Cat Scholarshis (due annually in February). Follow this link to apply: https://montana.academicworks.com. If awarded, the student will receive their payment in the form of a scholarship, as well as tickets to the Fall College of Agriculture Scholarship Banquet. 

Current Awardee

FY21

K_Wojcik

Kendall Wojcik

M.S. Land Resources & Environmental Sciences

Advisor: Stephanie Ewing

 

 

 Past Awardees 

FY20

Justin Gay

Justin Gay

Ph.D. Ecology & Environmental Sciences

Advisor: Jack Brookshire 

 

Justin's research centers on terrestrial ecosystem ecology with an emphasis on better understanding how these systems work through a biogeochemical lens. He is interested in how global changes from modern human activity are altering geographically broad patterns of soil nutrient cycling, fluxes of greenhouse gases, and carbon storage. Justin's research seeks to improve our current understanding about the consequences from global changes (CO2 fertilization, atmospheric deposition, climate change, and shifts in disturbance regimes) and their impact on ecosystem structure and function that control biologically critical nutrient loss and retention. Justin integrates a number of approaches to answer research questions across different spatial and temporal scales including: field sampling and laboratory analysis, satellite imagery, ecosystem modeling, and stable isotope approaches. He is currently working on a diverse array of projects across a number of different ecosystems including: savannas in the northern great plains, tropical montane forests, agro-ecosystems, and subalpine grasslands. Justin holds a B.S in Environmental Science from Endicott College in Beverly, MA and a M.A in Science Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Vermont in Burlington, VT. He is starting the third year of his Ph.D. work under his advisor Dr. Jack Brookshire in Land Resources and Environmental Science at Montana State.

 FY19

Briana Whitehead

Briana Whitehead

M.S. Land Resources & Environmental Sciences

Advisors: Tony Hartshorn & Bill Kleindl

 

Briana's research is focused on riparian soil properties and riparian soil development in the Centennial Valley of southwest Montana. Her thesis will seek to address if increased floodplain connectivity introduced by stream restoration projects, such as Beaver Dam Mimicry, will lead to more hypoxic and anoxic conditions in Centennial Valley soils. Briana earned her B.S. in Environmental Studies with a minor in Biology from the University of Oregon in Eugene, OR. 

FY18

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Bryce Currey

Ph.D. Ecology & Environmental Sciences

Advisor: Jack Brookshire

 

Bryce is interested in understanding how variation in soil physical properties and chemistry give rise to variation in soil-vegetation feedbacks and their response to precipitation and fire. His Ph.D. will collaborate with the BLM to investigate the effects of fire on soil properties and vegetation dynamics in a largely unstudied landscape in the Missouri and Musselshell River Breaks area of central Montana. Bryce earned his B.S. from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California as a Civil Engineering major focusing in Environmental Engineering with a minor in Applied Mathematics. 

 FY17

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Florence Miller

M.S. Land Resources & Environmental Sciences

Advisor: Stephanie Ewing

 

Florence's M.S. thesis will investigate the sources of uranium contamination in drinking water on the Crow Reservation, including soil-derived pathways from the Pryor, Little Bighorn, and Bighorn drainages. Florence has been fascinated by pedology since her first soil science class while pursuing her B.S. in Soil Science at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. 

 FY16

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Joseph Old Elk

M.S. Land Resources & Environmental Sciences

Advisor: Stephanie Ewing

 

Joseph’s Master of Science thesis work will evaluate the water quality drivers at Plenty Coups Spring located in Chief Plenty Coups State Park just outside of Pryor, MT, focusing on identifying how soil structure affects water movement and E. coli and fecal coliform contamination. He will use soil observation and comparison to Judith soils (same series) to draw inferences about land use, soil process, and water quality connections to better understand groundwater contamination pathways. Joseph holds his B.S. in Geospatial Sciences from LRES.

 

S.Robinson

Scott Robinson

Ph.D. Ecology & Environmental Sciences

Advisor: Tony Hartshorn

 

Scott’s dissertation project will explore the potential for combining a pedological approach to identifying dominant soil processes and specialized bacteria capable of converting arsenic to less mobile and less toxic forms. Together, these approaches should improve efforts to establish plants and minimize human exposures to arsenic in this semi-arid Deer Lodge Valley. Scott’s background is in forest soils (Master’s degree from Michigan Tech) and soil mapping fieldwork in the Custer National Forest