College of Agriculture

Suzette Turner Named Golden Opportunity Scholar at Tri-Society International Meeting

Announced on: Thursday, Jan. 04, 2018

At the annual international meeting of the Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, and the American Society of Agronomy, one of Chico State’s very own was awarded the title of Golden Opportunity Scholar. Suzette Turner, a senior majoring in agriculture with a focus in land resource management was awarded the opportunity to attend the international meeting in Tampa, Florida from October 23-25, 2017 and network with industry professionals from across the globe. This year’s meeting was entitled “Managing Global Resources for a Secure Future.”

The objective of the Golden Opportunity Scholar program is to pair undergraduate students with mentors within their individual fields of study with whom to collaborate and form connections. The mentors help guide students into graduate school, research studies, or directly into their field of endeavors. 

Dr. Maysoon Mikha was Turner’s mentor for the conference. Mikha hails originally from Iraq and currently serves as a soil scientist at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Colorado. At the conference, she presented on research on nitrogen dynamics in soils, one of hundreds of experiments over the course of her career.

Turner said her favorite part of the conference was spending time with her mentor. She states that the true inspiration, encouragement, and support she felt from Mikha was the highlight of her experience.

“[Dr. Mikha] and I will be speaking regularly, I hope, for the rest of our lives,” Turner said. “I feel as though she was an easy friend to find and have for this conference and she made it very clear that our relationship did not end there, and she expressed looking forward to following me through graduate school and helping me as much as she can. I could not have dreamed of a better mentor for this conference.”

During the meeting, scholars as well as members of the Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, and the American Society of Agronomy were given the opportunity to present their research, attend workshops, hear from numerous guest speakers, and take part in industry tours. Workshops also dove into societal norms within the industry and how to balance professional and personal lives in the industry. Turner credits a specific workshop entitled, “Women in Science” for discussing the issue of how to manage time effectively as a woman in science with families, research, and career life.

“Meeting other students in my field, all from different parts of the country, was great because we are the up-and-coming professionals in our field so it was really good to meet them and spend time together digesting the brain-blast of workshops, discussions, and networking,” Suzette said.

Aside from her accomplishments in the realm of the Golden Opportunity Scholar Program, Turner is also in the process of conducting independent research on soil incubation alongside soil science Professor Garrett Liles and is an active member of the soil judging team, CSU, Chico Soils. 

For young students in the College of Agriculture, Turner emphasized the importance of getting involved in independent research projects and branching out of your comfort zone in doing so.

“It provides you an opportunity to present that research at conferences like this one. Networking at conferences, and discussing your research with other professionals, is where you learn the most outside of school. It shows you how other people think about research like yours, and shows you different ways to approach that research,” Turner said.

Upon returning from the meeting, Turner’s objectives on her future have somewhat shifted. As her mentor opened her eyes to new opportunities in the field and how to respond, she looks to broaden her scope on her search for graduate studies programs with a strong standing in soil science.