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College of Agriculture

Undergraduates Win Poster Competition at CA Plant and Soil Conference

Announced on: Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020

students standing in front of their postersFeb. 4-5, Professors Hossein Zakeri and Kyle Brassier accompanied eight students to present their research at the annual California Plant and Soil Conference in Fresno. After months of collecting and analyzing data, reading published literature and preparing posters, students competed in the undergraduate poster competition where Marco Fernandez placed first, Joselyn Prieto-Garcia placed second and Chloe Dugger placed third.

“Our students not only had professional presentations. They presented original topics equivalent to master’s and PhD projects,” Zakeri said. “Those of us who have prepared students for conferences know how much time and energy takes to first convince a student that research helps developing so many skills for future jobs, help them to design experiments, collect data, prepare and submit abstract, make posters and then prepare the student for presentation.”

A rewarding experience for faculty and students alike, the conference gave students another experience in presenting their research while attending presentations and interacting with producers and academia from across the country. Experiences such as this have influenced students like senior agricultural education major Amanda Cox to pursue graduate school and continue to careers in the field of plant science.

“I was on the fence about it when Dr. Z first asked me to join him in undergraduate research, but it’s really helped solidify my decision to pursue higher education,” she said. “If you're interested in graduate school, undergraduate research gives you an edge that most other students applying do not have while meeting and connecting with potential faculty advisors.”

As a result, Cox has accepted admission to Oregon State University to pursue a master's degree in soil science this fall.  

“My favorite part about being a part of the research group is being surrounded by like-minded individuals who are passionate about learning through research and legumes,” she said.